D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop #12: first gaming store

First store where you bought your gaming supplies?  Does it still exist?

It seems like there was a time in the 1980s where RPGs were in every bookstore and toy store.  My first RPG stuff I ever bought (Star Frontiers: Knight Hawks) was from the Modesto Toy & Hobby Company located in the Vintage Faire shopping mall in Modesto, CA.  The store has been out of business for probably 20 years now…

The only “game store” in town that I knew of was Off the Wall, which in my early gaming life was located in the back corner of a shopping center on old Oakdale Road.  I didn’t spend much time there, but my mom took me there on a few occasions to buy Car Wars supplements or Twilight:2000 minis.  The proprietor was a heavyset guy with a Prince Valiant haircut, and there were usually some scruffy-looking dudes hunched/slouched around a folding card table, presumably playing D&D or some other game.  I distinctly recall an exchange between my mom and me one time after leaving the store (probably for the last time):

Mom: “It smelled like those guys were smoking pot in there!”

Naive, 6th-grade Me: “Really?  Why would they want to do that?”

Years later, I would gain a much greater understanding of, and, for a time, enthusiasm for the combination of weed and fantasy gaming.  In the moment though, I really couldn’t fathom why someone would want (need?) to take drugs to enjoy such an awesome hobby.


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