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[ Writer ] = BAD
[ 02/07/06 ] = The Demise Of Three

Recently in the US, well-known and established media retailers Sam Goody, Media Play, and Sun Coast Video have been slowly closing their doors. The demise of each was undoubtedly influenced by the booming success of "big-box" stores like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Circuit City, who have gained substantial momentum over the years. Sam Goody, Media Play, and Sun Coast Video were good stores, and it's sad to see them go after all these years. Sam Goody was known mainly for music (and other shit like pot leaf T-shirts), but I will remember them for their great selection of new games. I remember buying several great games from them, including the ultra-rare Resident Evil 3 (GC), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (GC), Bloody Roar - Primal Fury (GC), and Castlevania - Lament Of Innocence (PS2). At the time, they were the only place around that sold these titles new and at good prices (not used and destroyed, which is why I bought my games there). Who the fuck would want to get the same games at GameStop all used and fucked-up, when they could be had new and at lower prices at Sam Goody? It is especially sad to see these guys go because they were a convenient alternative to GameStop and EB Games (two stores that often sell "new" games open and used at new prices). Why convenient? Because they're at almost every mall I've ever been to, and at least they tell the customer when they are buying a "display" copy of a game (and even discount it). Sam Goody will be missed.

With Media Play also gone, we are left with very few alternatives when we want to buy new games (again, not overpriced used shit in bad condition). I can remember buying PlayStation and DreamCast stuff at Media Play back in the day; I got the Sega Smash Pack and a few VMUs for the DreamCast at unbelievably low prices during a clearance sale, and I even drove miles and miles several times to get PlayStation rarities R-Type Delta, R-Types, and Konami Arcade Classics. Back in the DreamCast days they had a lot of good titles at low clearance prices, and I even heard of them having Cannon Spike (DC, which is now worth a bill on eBay) for the insane price of $10.00! Now that is a deal! And it doesn't stop there; the selection at Media Play was huge (with tons of rare titles), rivaled only by that of Sam Goody (and the independently-owned store of a good friend). Rare titles like Gotcha Force (GC), Mobile Suit Gundam - Gundam VS Zeta Gundam (PS2), Devil Kings (PS2), Viewtiful Joe - Red Hot Rumble (GC), and Metal Slug 4/5 (PS2) were all in-stock before the store closing sales started; this says a lot, considering the fact that corner game stores GameStop and EB Games can't even keep these titles in stock (new). The best thing about Media Play was, without a doubt, variety and selection.

The third one here is Sun Coast, which I most recently heard about. My initial reaction was shock; I was surprised to see such an established video store going under after all these years. Though I never bought games from Sun Coast, I did buy a ton of VHS anime back in the day (before DVD was mainstream). I can still remember a few of them; DevilMan, Ninja Scroll, PetShop Of Horrors, BioHunter, and most of the Street Fighter II V series. I remember when SunCoast was one of the only mall stores where I could find a decent selection of anime videos. Though Sam Goody and Media Play have also had impressive selections in the last few years, as well, back then SunCoast was where I went for anime. Many of my favorite VHS anime videos I bought at SunCoast. Too bad these guys are going under, too.

While not as comprehensive as certain independent import stores, each of three aforementioned stores always had a good selection of games and anime; I can remember buying a ton of stuff from these guys that I couldn't find at other chain stores. I guess my favorite independent game store, GameCrazy, and Target are really the only places left to buy games off-line. Of course, there's always eBay, but sometimes you just want to go out and buy a game (like it was before eBay, back in the day)...