DEPARTMENTS

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cherished Memory Heading For The Bone Yard



The first great blow to my childhood gamer memories is being dealt right now. I recently found out through a post on the Northwest Historical Miniatures Gamer blog that a great store from way back is finally going under.

American Eagles was a Mecca for my friends and I in our formative gaming years in the late 70s and early 80s. I can safely say that a good chunk of my allowance, birthday, and Christmas money ended up in their register while I carted away all manner of gaming goodness. We would bike our way from our neighborhood to spend hours plowing through their seemingly endless revolving racks of miniatures.

Almost all of my early miniatures came from American Eagles. Ral Partha, Citadel, Heritage, Martian Metals. Dull, neutrally - colored blister packs with crude typed on names like FAC10 who became my first paladin character Facio. Boxed games like Panzer Blitz, Galacta Imperium, Star Frontiers were also fished from the racks here. All manner of HO scale models were purchased here to join in endless army man battles. The owners were never big fans of gaming, as far as I could tell, but they never let that keep them from stocking the stuff. I remember the store had an almost mythical ability to dredge up long out of print stuff from its "magic basement" where things purchased long ago, often went lost for years only to appear on clearance racks.

I have to say that this is one of those developments that really makes me feel a sense of loss. It's like a favorite restaurant or those woods I used to play in that are now endless apartment complexes. All gone or going so fast. My kids will never know the wonder of walking into a vast game store and feeling the sense of endless possibility or the sweet anxiety of trying to figure out just which of the many things they want will they be able to squeeze into their meager allowances.

American Eagles was never filled with the plastic bravado of gamers, the rattle of dice, or the murmur of closely guarded gaming tables, but it was still a central hub for gamers and hobbyists of all kinds. I hope to be able to make it down there to pay my respects before it closes April 9th.

Good buy American Eagles. It's been a hell of a ride. I only wish I had known you better in later years, but thank you for adding something special to my childhood.

-Eli

6 comments:

  1. This makes me sad aswell, these sorts of places are rarer than rocking horse shit, very sad and another liitle blow to the hobby.

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  2. Sad to see these kinds of stores going under. We lost four gaming stores here in Jax, Fl and now there are only three (Borderlands, Suncoast Comics, and Dragons Tale). Only two of those offer gaming space.

    It is my hope that other stores do open in other parts of the city. There is enough room for it.

    I had a store like this called Dan's back in the day. Sad to see so many small business going.

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  3. I'm from Reno, but last year I visited a friend at Port Angeles and we swung through Seattle one day visiting gaming stores. American Eagle was one of them. I recall it being a very nice game store, and I'm sorry to hear it is closing.

    Ed Green

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  4. Make sure you check out the scrapbook at the front counter when you go. The Times ran an article on them yesterday (Tuesday), and like you, I had to write about it as well. What a damn shame, for sure.

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  5. I know what that's like. My store was Lone Star Comics and Games in Dallas. It closed years back, but it sucked mightily when it happened.

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