An ode to Media Play

mediaplay“Honey, I miss Media Play.”

My wife takes my hand.  “I know, dear.  I know.”

It’s just something I have to say every once in a while.  When I first moved to Michigan in 2000, I quickly found Media Play as my go-to geek hangout.  It was a perfect one-stop-shopping experience for what I craved: books, movies, and video games.  Every week I’d visit at least twice to comb the racks and find something new to take home.  I became such a regular shopper, in fact, that many of the clerks and I knew each other fairly well.

Even with the insane ease of sites like Amazon when it comes to personal shopping these days, I do miss the tactile experience of wandering down an aisle and just browsing.  Media Play is where I found so many of my favorite computer games in the 2000s, from Planescape: Torment to World of Warcraft.  I remember the time when the call went out to reduce computer box sizes from these gargantuan creations to the now-sleek little packages we’re used to.  I wasn’t a fan at the time, mostly because it would mess up how the boxes looked on my shelf, but I soon adapted.

Before I ever got into MMOs, I was at least aware of them thanks to Media Play.  Almost every trip I’d pick up an EverQuest or Asheron’s Call box and muse about diving into online RPGs.  I don’t know what held me back, exactly, other than a fear of being addicted and the crudeness of the graphics.  But when City of Heroes released, I drove to Media Play on my way to work that morning to get a copy so that I could devour the manual on my lunch break and then play it the minute I went home.

All of the Media Plays went bankrupt in 2006, which absolutely bummed me out.  The last couple months I visited often (now with my wife) to pick over the dwindling supplies and say goodbye to the store.  The only other store that offered the same mixture of geek goods in the area was Best Buy, and that wasn’t nearly as conveniently located.  Gamestop is the devil, there were no EB games in the area, and Circuit City had also closed down.  So when Media Play finally closed its doors, I fully converted to online shopping.

So yeah, some days I miss Media Play.  Not that I’d be going there much these days if it was open, but you know how it is — you want your favorite places to endure whether or not  you visit them.  What were some of your favorite stores over the years?

7 thoughts on “An ode to Media Play

  1. Werit May 10, 2013 / 9:10 am

    I liked Babbages way back when for my video game shopping.

  2. Rowan May 10, 2013 / 9:31 am

    Actually I had a very similar attachment to Media Play. It’s where I first heard Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and got in to modern Swing. I loved the combination of books, movies, and music; not to mention the computer programs and games of all types. It went out of business in Utah (where I was living at the time) earlier than it did in Michigan, so hipster-me has missed it longer than you. 😉 I was sad when Circuit City went under, too. I always shopped there before Best Buy, which is more the devil than Gamestop, IMHO.

  3. corey May 10, 2013 / 11:53 am

    I swear there is something special about the places and shops you buy your games and do your geeky stuffs. It is almost certain it is the air, those butterflies in your stomach, that something magical is gonna happened just around the corner, as you get yourself lost amongst those tall shelves.

  4. Triski May 10, 2013 / 12:13 pm

    I miss Media Play too. I liked being able to wander around and pick up games to look at the boxes and read the descriptions, same with books and CDs. You could talk to other people there and find out what they liked to play, get opinions on things you were thinking of buying, and suggestions on other things to try out.

    I wouldn’t trade my iPods and my Kindle for anything, I love using them, but the shopping experience they provide is very lackluster.

  5. Emmanuel Fisher October 10, 2014 / 6:25 pm

    I miss that place my mom took me there before I love music

  6. Kage Alan February 6, 2015 / 7:25 pm

    I still mourn the passing of Media Play. I was there every Tuesday for New Release Day and then on the weekend after work. It was relaxing to stop by, look at a magazine, check out a book, browse through music and see what was on sale in the DVD racks. I remember when they first opened that they’d put new Laser Discs out a few days before their release. Those were the days.

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