The Rest of the Best: Top 10 Places for Video Games in Houston
David Kaelin at Game Over
Jef With One F
Gamers of one form or another have long since become the majority of Americans. Some 60 percent of people play everything from Candy Crush on their iPhones to console adventures to puzzle games on the PC that may lead to the cure for AIDS. You have to get those games from somewhere, and today we look at the best places in Houston to get your personal game on.
10. Microplay 139 Gulf Fwy S
Microplay caters more to the crowd that still buys anime on VHS... not that there's anything wrong with that. They also sell and rent a fair amount of video games. This is more of a destination for people seeking Naruto DVDs and cosplay items who also happen to like games, but it's a killer little niche shop that is worth the ride to League City.
Before you start with the torches and pitchforks, there is nothing wrong with the corporate giant that is GameStop. Their rewards program is pretty good, especially if you pay attention to when they offer extra cash on buybacks. They're all over Houston, and more often than not their staffs are very knowledgeable and friendly. In particular, the Shepherd location has a very good selection, especially if you're addicted to DS and 3DS RPGs. It's a mall store, but who among us doesn't have a good memory of buying games in mall stores?
8. Game and Skate 519 S Gordon
Family owned and operated down in Alvin, Game and Skate does just what it claims to do. You can buy, sell, and trade games there as well as indulge in anything to do with skateboards. They've got a good selection of both boards and titles, run tournaments, and support the Alvin skate scene. A really brilliant operation.
7. Micro Center 1717 West Loop Dr S
The electronics outlet store actually has a really fantastic gaming section. Oh, it's not a fully stocked specialty store or anything, but you can find all kinds of deals on systems, games, and especially accessories. It's kind of like going to a high-end resell shop in that you probably won't find what you're looking for, but you'll find something you'll love. Also, their website stock is amazingly up to date, so you can always check it before you head out.
Speaking of resell shops, every Half-Price Books has an adorable little game section that you may have to ask to be shown to. It's mostly PS2 stuff, but there is a fair amount of SNES, Genesis, and N64 games floating around. For collectors, it's a good idea to bring along a collecting guide as the store may not know it has gold on the shelf. I tend to haunt the shop every Christmas for my mother-in-law who loves PC gaming as they generally have some fun stocking stuffer fare for less than $5. Strategy guides can be found as well.
5. Houston Arcade Expo 12801 Northwest Freeway
Every November Houstonians can look forward to getting freeplay on more than 200 different arcade cabinet and pinball tables at the Houston Arcade Expo. If you've got the cash, you can even go home with these set-ups, but just getting to wander around and give them a spin like the old days is pleasant as well. They get a good selection of speakers and experts presenting there, plus game companies hand out all kinds of swag. It can be a bit more of a hardcore enthusiast haven sometimes than an open for all event, but nothing says fun like a giant arcade no matter what your level of involvement.
Thanks to Dr. Milo Pinkerton III of the Consortium of Genius for that video walkthrough.
Mostly located in the northwest and southeast outlying sections of Houston, GamesPlus is a really good mixture of a standard GameStop and a mom-and-pop retro outfit. In essence, they are the standard of what a modern standalone video game store should be. The best thing about them is the fact that if kids bring in an honor roll report card, they get $5 off their purchase. You can't beat that kind of incentive.
3. Player 1 101 W. Parkwood Ave
Located all the way out in Friendswood, Player 1 is definitely not messing around when it comes to game culture. Everything from Atari 2600 to the current systems is available there, not to mention T-shirts, posters, and action figures. The customer service is top-notch and passionate about the products, and they fit so much inventory into so small a space I'm not entirely convinced there's not Time Lord technology involved. It's a simply wonderful place.
2. Joystix 1820b Franklin Street
Three hundred arcade cabinets and a just slightly overpriced bar make this one of the finest places in all of Houston to have a geek's night out. A $15 wristband gets you unlimited play, and you can take your drinks from Eighteen Twenty into the play area. It gets crowded after ten, and the passages between games are narrow enough to bottleneck, but it's still an incredibly nifty time. For the absolute best experience rent it out for a private party, but just dropping in for a round of Frogger or Dance Dance Revolution is always great. Oh, and they have Baywatch pinball!
1. Game Over 3281 Southwest Fwy
I've already said tons about Game Over before, but here's the highlight reel. There is simply no store I have ever walked into that made me feel like a child again like Game Over. They have everything, and I mean everything. Philips CD-I games, the photo printer from the Game Boy, in addition to an unbelievable selection of games both modern and classic. They also carry soundtracks, DVDs, a strategy guide library unlike any other, and will repair old systems. When I was a kid someone pawned my N64. Game Over gave it back. It's the most amazing place for a gamer to be. They open a second Houston store at 587 W. Bay Area Blvd next month.
Gaming is everywhere in the real world. Check the Top 4 Video Game Worlds You Can Visit in Real Life and 5 Horrifying Video Game Plots That Are Coming True As We Speak.
Get the Theater and Arts Newsletter
Exclusive discounts and announcements to Houston theater shows and art events