Knoxville Gaming Store Review

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Below is a review of the gaming stores in the Knoxville area from 2009. Many of these stores have since moved or went out of business.

Game Haven

Locations: 3

  • Downtown West - Formerly on Kingston Pike next to Barnes and Noble; Now on Kingston Pike next to Wendy's and Chuckie Cheese
  • Knox Center - Across the strett from Knox Center Mall (East Town) next to Taco Bell
  • Maryville - Near Dairy Queen and McDonalds, next to a pool store

Selection by generation

  • 3rd: NES (used)
  • 4th: SNES (used), Genesis (used)
  • 5th: Playstation (used), N64 (used)
  • 6th: Dreamcast (used), Playstation 2 (used), XBox (used), Gamecube (used)
  • 7th: XBox 360 (new, used), PS3 (new, used), Wii (new, used)
  • They were selling a few PC games last year, but I don't believe they are selling them anymore

Review - The people there are usually cool, and they won't harass you to buy extras when you're just going in to get a game. These are local "mom and pop" type stores, so they are not a nation chain. I've only had one bad experience there at the old West Towne location, where the guy working the counter was too busy talking to his buddy to check me out. They usually don't get new releases until a day or two after the street release date unless it is something big. They rarely do midnight releases.

Rare Finds - Earlier this year I bought a used ROB robot for $20 there. In the past I have also found a few rare NES games and accessories (like the Power Pad). They keep the rare games behind a glass case, and not out with the other NES games.

Tournaments - They used to have Halo tournaments, but I don't think they have tournaments anymore.

Game Haven (takes a while to load)

Game Crazy

Locations: 2 (1 closed)

  • Oak Ridge - Next to Hollywood Video in the Books a Million shopping center
  • Maryville - Next to Hollywood Video in the Kroger shopping center
  • Farragut (closed) - Next to Hollywood Video and across from Blockbuster Video on Kingston Pike

Selection by generation

  • 3rd: none
  • 4th: none
  • 5th: none
  • 6th: Playstation 2 (used), XBox (used), Gamecube (used)
  • 7th: XBox 360 (new, used), PS3 (new, used), Wii (new, used)

Review - These are usually located in the same building next to Hollywood Video, and you can walk between the stores without going outside. They used to sell NES, SNES, PS1, and Dreamcast games, but they quit selling those one or two years ago. Some of the workers are knowlegable about video games and classics. However, they will bug the hell out of you when you simply want to buy a game.

They will ask you most of these questions when you buy something:

  • Do you want the strategy guide
  • Is there anything you need to prebook
  • Do you want the "game guard" (I don't even know what the hell that is)
  • Do you want the warranty
  • Do you want to buy their membership plan

Game Crazy would probably be the #1 place that I would go to if it wasn't for all the damn questions they ask. They make a 2 minute transaction turn into a 10 minute transaction.

They usually get new releases the next day at 10am (or at least they what they will tell you). They have had a few midnight releases for games like Final Fantasy XII, WoW: Wrath of the Litch King, and Halo 3.

Tournaments - I believe they have a few tournaments for Madden or Halo

Game Crazy

Game Connection

Locations: 1

  • Up Broadway on the north side of I-275.

Selection by generation

  • 3rd: none
  • 4th: none
  • 5th: none
  • 6th: Playstation 2 (used), XBox (used), Gamecube (used)
  • 7th: XBox 360 (new, used), PS3 (new, used), Wii (new, used)

Review - I've only been there a few times, and I've never had any problems there. They also have games for rental, and they have seats and screens setup for playing games, where I think you can pay for how long you play.

Epic Computers

Locations: 1 (1 closed)

  • Far up Chapman Highway on the right
  • On the UT Strip (closed)

Selection by generation

  • They only sell PC games and accessories

They have computers setup for LAN parties, but I'm not sure if it's pay-per-play. They used to have tournaments on their website, but I showed up for a Starcraft one at the UT strip location a few years ago and they told me it was cancelled since no one was there. They seemed to have a good WoW community, and I talked with the girl at the UT strip location for a while about WoW.

Packards

Locations: 2 stores, 1 or more flea markets

  • Knox Center Mall - first floor near Sci Fi City
  • Oak Ridge - Grove Center
  • Flea Markets - Sweetwater (maybe others)

Selection by generation

  • 3rd: NES (used)
  • 4th: SNES (used), Genesis (used)
  • 5th: Playstation (used), N64 (used)
  • 6th: Dreamcast (used), Playstation 2 (used), XBox (used), Gamecube (used)
  • 7th: XBox 360 (new, used), PS3 (new, used), Wii (new, used)

Review - The Packards locations have some really rare classic games, but they are also way overpriced. They will charge up to $200 for some NES games. There have been articles in the local newspaper about him being arrested for selling hot property, so beware before you buy anything from him. Most of his games don't have prices labeled on them, so you have to ask them or the price or haggle with them. The Knox Center location is new, so they may just be open for the holiday season.

Local News Article

GameStop

Locations: Too Many

  • Oak Ridge - At the old "Cat's Music" location next to Subway in front of Wal-Mart
  • Knoxville - Two in West Towne Mall, Two in Knox Center Mall, Two within a half mile of each other at Turkey Creek
  • Maryville - At the Wal-Mart shopping center behind Hooters

Selection by generation

  • 3rd: none
  • 4th: none
  • 5th: none
  • 6th: Playstation 2 (used), XBox (used), Gamecube (used)
  • 7th: XBox 360 (new, used), PS3 (new, used), Wii (new, used)


Review - Game Stop is usually my last resort. The people there are usually brain dead or highschool kids who know nothing about classic games. Most of the time will they lay a huge guilt trip on you if you ask for a new release and you don't have it prebooked. The Maryville location doesn't seem to be as bad as some of the others, and they seemed knowledgeable in 90's games.

When you go in to just buy a game, they will also waste your time by asking many questions similar to Game Crazy:

  • Do you want the strategy guide
  • Is there anything you need to prebook
  • Do you want the warranty
  • Do you want to buy their membership plan

Tournaments - I believe some locations (not the ones in the mall) have tournaments for Madden and NCAA football

Game Stop

Rhino

Locations: None (currently)

Former Locations:

  • Chapman Highway - In the Wal-Mart shopping center (now a GameStop)
  • Chattanooga - In the Wal-Mart shopping center (now a GameStop, unverified)
  • Pigeon Forge - Outside the main strip (now a GameStop)

Review - Most of my 700+ NES game collection was purchased from Rhino. They had great deals like buy two NES games, get one free. Unfortunately, about two years ago all the Rhinos were bought out by GameStop, so those stores no longer sell class 3rd and 4th generation games. The people there were really friendly, and I never had a bad expierence there. It's a real shame the chain went out of business. I believe Rhino was owned by Blockbuster, so the downfall of Blockbuster may have been a reason why the Rhino locations were sold to GameStop.

McKay's Used Books

Locations: 2

  • Knoxville - Off the I-40/I-75 interstate
  • Chattanooga - I believe they have moved since the last time I was there

Selection by generation

  • 3rd: NES (used)
  • 4th: SNES (used), Genesis (used)
  • 5th: Playstation (used), N64 (used)
  • 6th: Dreamcast (used), Playstation 2 (used), XBox (used), Gamecube (used)
  • 7th: XBox 360 (used), PS3 (used), Wii (used)
  • PC games: Yes! (used)

Review - I found a few NES gems there for a reasonable price, however they are usually overstocked with crappy sports games. The Knoxville location has a good selection of 6th and 7th generation games. This the the only place I know to buy PC games, since Game Haven quit selling them. The people working there usually know nothing about video games.

Wal-Mart / K-Mart / Best Buy

Locations: Too Many

Selection by generation

  • 6th: PS2 (new)
  • 7th: XBox 360 (new), PS3 (new), Wii (new)
  • PC games: Yes

I lumped Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Best Buy together since those stores are so similar. They only sell new games. New releases usually appear on shelves usually a few days after release, unless it is a big name title. The people working the electronics departments seldom know anything about video games, aside from trying to push the latest big title. Wal-Mart is open 24x7, sometimes you can get there at midnight on release date, but you'll probably have to ask someone to check if it's boxed or in the back. I got Soul Calibur 4 at Wal-Mart at midnight on release date when no other store had a midnight release. K-Mart actually had SC4 on the shelves before release date, but their system prevents it from being sold until the release date. However, I usually prefer Best Buy, because at Wal-Mart and K-Mart you have to hunt someone down in the electronics department who has the right key to open the display case with the games.