While it seems like you can find a Gamestop on almost every corner, you’d be hard pressed to say the same for retro game stores. People Play Games in Chicago is one of the most unique game stores you’ll come across in the city.
The selection at People Play Games is massive, and if you’re a hardcore gamer, breathtaking. You can find all the games you forgot ever existed in the store. Games line the walls everywhere you look. Many of the titles are complete in box.
They have thousands of games ranging all the way from the Atari 2600 to the Nintendo Wii. While there is a good amount of recent games from systems like the Playstation 2, Xbox, or Wii, most of the focus is on retro games.
Prices start at 99 cents and increase depending on the rarity of the game. You can find everything from Killer Instinct on the Super Nintendo to Spot Goes to Hollywood on the Sega Saturn. For a physical store, the selection cannot be beat.
I personally found a mint and complete copy of Gex 2: Enter the Gecko on Playstation 1, a favorite from my younger years, for only eight dollars.
Most of the store’s inventory comes from people bringing in items to sell. Originally the store started out as a personal collection of the owner Adam, but quickly expanded. There are always new titles coming into the store.
One of the rarest titles in the store goes back to the NES days. Someone traded in a prototype of Solomon’s Key 2, one of the rarest for an NES game. It’s priced at a cool $400.
Besides games, there are tons of other items in the store: systems, controllers, joysticks, strategy guides, system parts. If you’re missing a booklet for one of your games, there is a large selection of loose manuals to skim through.
Click on any of the photos below to open a gallery tour of the People Play Games store:
People Play Games opened on May 6th, 2008. It’s independently owned and operated, located near the Belmont L stop in Chicago on Clark street.
Adam, the owner, has been a gamer for close to thirty years. He began way back on the Atari Computer and 2600, playing Kaboom! and Frogger.
He started the store because of a “love for video games.”
Walking around the store, you get to experience the evolution of gaming; from the Intellivision to the Sega Genesis to the Nintendo 64 to the Xbox 360, and everything in between.
Keepin’ It Old School
According to Adam, here are people’s general reactions to the store:
- Flipping out
- “Oh my God!”
- “This is my childhood!”
- “Like walking into a time machine!”
The NES is the most popular system that people come in for, followed by the Super Nintendo in a close second.
A few of the most requested games from customers is Mario Kart 64, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, says Adam.
Even though some of the systems and games are over twenty-five-years old, they remain popular. With retro games, people get to relive the past and their childhood, says Adam.
A favorite among People Play Games customers
While new games like God of War 3 or Red Dead Redemption are great in their own right, some feel they can’t hold a candle to the classics.
Old School games generally are “better quality games,” says Adam. Old school games, games dating back starting from the Playstation/Nintendo 64 era, are still considered superior titles by many.
“The most fun and complex games are old school games,” says Adam.
eBay? No Way
While you could find some of the games on eBay, People Play Games allows you to “reach out and hold things you’ve seen 10-25 years ago,” says Adam.
The store offers advantages over buying games online:
- The store guarantees every single item to work
- There’s a big television set up in the store to test any game before you buy it
- Before buying a game, an employee will clean it for you
People Play Games also does system repairs. The most popular system needing repairs? The NES. An NES repair runs a flat fee of $30. A Super Nintendo repair can cost anywhere between $10-$40, depending on the problem.
People don’t trust online shopping, and they feel safer with a physical store, says Adam.
Retro gaming is indeed as strong and popular as ever. If you’re ever in need of a video game fix, then People Play Games is just the place for you. The store’s impressive selection and knowledgeable staff will make People Play Games your one stop shop for your gaming needs.
Store Information and Contact:
- People Play Games
- 3268 N Clark St.
- Chicago, IL 60657
- Mon 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- Tue-Thu 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- Fri-Sat 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.
- Sun 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.