This week I interviewed Zach, the new co-owner of The Score. The Score is a video game store located just outside of Nashville, that has been open since 2009. I got to pick Zach’s brain on lan gaming, the future of used games, the selling of violent video games and much more.
The Score focuses on being a part of the game community, rather than just another game store. They have specialized in selling retro games and consoles, now under new ownership they plan to to take things to the next level and focus on competitive gaming. When asked on specializing in competitive gaming Zach says: “Everyone that works here has been to some form of big scale tournament. Scott (co-owner) and I have been competing at MLG events since 2006, so we like to think we have a handle on that part of things.” The Score wants to make LAN gaming a staple in the Nashville gaming community. “I would love to give everyone a place to come hang out and game, whether its League of Legends, Counter Strike, or Call of Duty, I just love being in that atmosphere; If you go to a LAN center you already know that when you walk in you have something in common with the other people there.” says Zach. In addition to no lag, the interaction that you have with fellow gamers offers a great environment for community and gaming. The staff is working hard on adding a LAN center to the store, to provide a place to game and hold events. The plan is to include 10 top of the line gaming computers as well as Xbox One and Playstation 4 consoles.
The Score has competitive prices on used games as well. They base their pricing around the bottom third of Amazon prices and on 90 day moving averages online. The distribution for videos has changed a lot over the years, however. With internet speeds becoming faster and more accessible, digital downloads are becoming a popular option among gamers because of convenience, among other things. DRM has been a hot topic as well, for negative reasons. Microsoft just went through a PR nightmare regarding the Xbox One, in which they planned to allow a game that you own to be played only on your system and to pay a fee if you would like to transfer that title. This would have essentially eliminated the used game industry, had there not been such an uproar among gamers. Obviously these changes are going to have an effect on traditional brick and mortar game retailers. “That has been a concern, but people will always want used retro games. I just sold a NES with every Mario Bros game. It is a huge challenge we will all have to overcome, but I do not believe that used games will become any less relevant.” says Zach. By being focused on community first, I expect The Score to be around for awhile.
Another controversy that has been around since the days of Doom and Mortal Kombat, is violent video games. There are restrictions put in place to prevent these games falling in the hands of younger games, but they manage to fail a lot of times. It’s not uncommon to go in to Walmart and see a mother purchasing an M rated game for her 11 year old son. Does Walmart care if a 11 year old kid is playing Grand Theft Auto and killing prostitutes? No, most would assume they only care about the profits. This tends to backfire and make the gaming community look bad. The Score wants to build on their community and prevent those things from happening by taking proper precautions. When asked about this, Zach says: “There have been around 30 people that I have either turned down or talked out of buying M rated games. I wouldn’t want my children exposed to some of the elements in certain games, so why would I sell them to kids or unsuspecting parents?”
If you’re a gamer looking for great gaming, community and competition, check out The Score because that is what they are all about. Expect to see more from them in the coming months, with the releases of all the new game consoles and holiday game season. Always support small businesses, especially one like The Score that empowers a local community of gamers. Be sure to check them out at the Nashville Wizard World next week. They are holding a free to enter Injustice: Gods Among Us tournament, with the grand prize being a Playstation 4.