So I was in a game store the other day, and as I was looking around at all the amazing shelves and racks of game after game (this was truly an amazing game store), I couldn’t help but thinking about this game that has captured my heart and imagination. So, I started looking around for a wizard101 logo while looking at all the other stuff in this store.
They had the standard fare of Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering Strategy Guide, etc. You know: the kind of gaming books you can find at any commercial bookstore (Barnes and Noble even). They had a huge pile of boxed party games: everything from Life to Would you Rather. They had a stack of fantasy based warfare games; I saw a number of "the game that shall not be named" boxes there that looked like complete packs of miniatures. That game is truly a beast. They also had comics, trading cards, sports memorabilia, Xbox party rooms, gamer tables complete with sweaty 20-year-olds barking out dice rolls, and an area dedicated to large tables for immense miniature campaigns. Amazing!
After talking to the owner and the owner's son and the owner's daughter . . . (who opened the door to the store for us . . . man I love family run businesses) I found out they had been there for seven years now and this was, in fact, my first trip in there. *scratches head* so much for me being some uber "gamer" dude.
Anyway, I walked past the TCG aisle and cringed a bit as I saw packs of Free Realms cards for sale. They do that to me, you know. I know Wizard101 is gaining a lot of mainstream exposure (what with their heavy advertising on Cartoon Network), but I started to wonder about the missing presence of my game here, in this cool gamer shop run by this family. Here was Free Realms, and it was in this place that gamer-y gamers like to go to and apparently like to grow up going to. (I remember going to a local gamer shop when I was a kid . . . it was one of the places we'd ride our bikes to every saturday.)
As my family wandered around, a young 13 year old son of the owner came over to us in the comic book section and talked to us about the ratings on comic books and pointed us to some comic books that would be more my kids’ speed: Sonic the Hedgehog and Tiny Titans. We purchased these mags and went our way. Come to find out, on the back of Amber's Sonic the Hedgehog comic book, there was a Free Realms ad:
A few things on this ad that were interesting . . . this ad was not so much pitching freerealms.com, but it was pitching the Trading Card Game and a comic book that's soon to be released. I can tell because that spot on the ad is the very spot they say that people's eyes travel to first when they look at ads (I took a class on Communication Graphics in college and stuff). They also threw a free code in for kicks, so . . . kids . . . use "skeletal" next time you log on that other game. *cough*
You know, this is the power of Sony right there. Sony is a huge company with an office dedicated just to producing TCGs. I know that for a fact. I read the blog of a guy that works there (it's a little adult, so I'm not going to link it) They probably also have another office dedicated to producing comics. I don't know that for a fact. But, seriously, Sony is huge! They have the power here.
On the other hand, Kingsisle is only 4 years old, and Wizard101 is their first game. If they did somehow manage to establish some sort of presence in some random gamer store, I would be highly impressed! Has anyone seen Wizard101 advertise in comic books? Here's where I've seen wizard101 so far: Cartoon Network, Beckett's Magazine, Pokemon Magazine, all the stores where they sell their game cards, and a few school type promotional handouts.
Where have you seen them?
What do you think about their missing presence there in that gamer store? of no consequence?