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A Grand Day Out

If people were to ask if I could describe my childhood in one word, it would have to be "curiosity". And I'm sure there's a few of you guys that can relate. Living in a trailer park that's distant from the more suburban areas of my state I'd always wanted to have a taste of adventure both at my homeplace, and other locales as well.

Thank you Google maps!

To start off, my first choice of meandering was in the woods, conveniently right behind my mobile home. I was eager to bring a friend along as I was at the mere age of eight, and I got a nice view of the nearby train tracks, which we could end our walk from there, or just switch direction and keep going onward. There unfortunately wasn't a leading trail to follow, so we had to retrace our footsteps.

My next visit goes to Phar-Mor, a rather odd choice for it being a pharmacy, but here's a tidbit of info for my reason for loving it so much. As my mother would occasionally make visits there for reasons forgotten, there was a family entertainment section out of all places, and video games were on their shelves at very acceptable prices, according to my mom. In a few more years she would go to work at that very establishment in helping get discounts for the games that I had my eyes on, as well as a new choice of work, but unfortunately that opportunity ran short as the company had gone bankrupt as of the winter season of 1998.

Toys 'R' Us was pretty much a store that came and went in experience with my youth, because since the store was focused around children's toys, my parents thought that it wasn't recommended that we visit it too often. I was a nut for action figures and super soakers back then, so it's hard to imagine why. So as a way of preventing me and my older brother from going, they made up this tactic of saying that the store requires some $100 admission to enter, and that we couldn't go due to low money and bills. Don't you just love it when parents lie just to dodge a bullet with letting their kids have fun?

Before EB games, and long before GameStop, FuncoLand was the first actual video game store that I'd walked into, and a staggering library of games lied in wait as I would always stepped inside. This store had everything, Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, Sega Game Gear, TurboGrafx-16, etc., and, the icing on the cake, it actually had reliable trade-in deals, as well as proper cleaning supplies for discs at the time. This was a late 90s experience for me though, as GameStop was not too far from taking over, and ticking off a lot of past customers in the process when it happened.

At the golden age of renting movies, Blockbuster Video was a constant visit for my family. I however, was more of a video game guru because to be honest, watching live action movies just couldn't keep me still. I had no interest in them at all like my older siblings and parents did. And, as far as these new consoles were coming around at the time, there were usually contests held there too. Like when Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was still new, they had a challenge at some kiosk to try and make it past the first stage of Angel Island in less than a minute, or beating one particular level in Donkey Kong Country within at least three minutes. I always saw myself coming back just wanting to see what new things that the store had to show on display.

To conclude, these few places pretty much summed up what was left of discovery in my youth before I'd gone into my middle school days, but even so they all pieced together as a great experience with spending time with my parents when not being cooped up in the house. I hope you all enjoyed this little read, and I'll have more to come soon!
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comic_book_fan Posted on Oct 17, 2014 at 03:46 AM

my stops was KB toys and a place called movie warehouse.
i wanted to go to toys are us but my family drove said look we love you but the closest toys r us is hour and a half drive and kb toys has almost all the same stuff for better prices and it is a 30 minute drive so were going there and the story was the same with blockbuster it was the closest blockbuster was literally right next to the toys r us so we went to the movie warehouse they may not have had the most up to date movies but they had a good deal 6 movies for a week for 6 dollars i was and still am a huge wrestling fan rented so much wrestling from this place and had a great horror section i miss that place.

pikachulover Posted on Oct 17, 2014 at 01:34 AM

I was never really a gamer, but I was friends with a pair of gamer brothers who would always shop at Funcoland. I think I remember their mom complaining about having to drive them there.

Vaporman87 Posted on Oct 17, 2014 at 12:10 AM

A lot of these stops would be my stops as well. Lots of familiarity in these places to frequent. Unfortunately, these places were typically at least 25 minutes away, so I would settle for the local mom and pop stops for some of them... which is great in and of itself, as you know.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Oct 16, 2014 at 09:26 PM

Affordable video games at a Pharmacy? No wonder they went out of business! That's pretty sweet that your Mom got discounts for a while. If I had a family member working at a pharmacy in the 90's, I would have definitely hit them up for a discount on the latest Marvel Universe trading cards.

Benjanime Posted on Oct 16, 2014 at 05:00 PM

whoops, looks like i done goofed with my grammar with the funcoland part. i meant to put 'step inside'.

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