New name, but store retains passion for games
ONEIDA — Though it’s got a new name, Games People Play has been a card and board game hobbyist’s go-to spot for years.
Formerly Mind Games, Games People Play is a gaming store that sells a little bit of everything — baseball and basketball cards, books on Dungeons and Dragons, the latest Magic: The Gathering cards, vintage consoles, and so much more.
Owner Tim Becker said it’s the store’s 28th anniversary in June that originally started as a passion project.
“I always told my family that I’d own a baseball card store. It was something I wanted to do since I was a kid,” Becker said. “And it opened as a baseball card store, but it’s evolved into a gaming store.”
Becker said that when the store first opened, Magic: the Gathering had become very popular. And to cater to his customers, the store started carrying cards and holding events. And the Pokemon hit the scene.
“We were part of the original Pokemon craze,” Becker said with a smile. “We ran things like the Burger King events, we had in-store plays, and were even factory-direct with the company.”
Very proudly, Becker said that his store was sometimes the prime source to buy Pokemon cards when they were “... impossible to find.”
Since opening, Becker said the Oneida community has treated him and the store well. “It’s a great city to have a business in,” he said. “And it’s a great area, because we get a lot of people traveling from outside the city just to stop at the store. There are a lot of colleges around, so a lot of the gaming clientele find themselves here.”
And while many stores struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic, Becker said it brought Games People Play into the digital spotlight.
“We stayed open during the shutdown and were one of the few that kept our doors open. The number of walk-in customers took a huge dive, but the online component started to pick up,” he said. “We had previously been online selling our stock, but it became a higher percentile. And while everything has opened back up, we haven’t missed a beat.”
A name change
For years, people have known Becker’s store as Mind Games. But the name had to be changed after issues arose with another Mind Games.
“There was a Mind Games that came out of Canada,” Becker said. “And they decided to open their stores here in the United States. They chose Destiny Mall as a place to open. But while they were open, New York State was sending me letters about employee wages and child support garnishing for employees.”
There was even an issue where Mind Games Canada was taking money for worker’s compensation out of Mind Games Oneida’s account. Becker said he contacted New York State and a lawyer to understand how this was happening.
Games People Play has a 2,000-square-foot game room that can hold 70 players for all manner of events, tournaments, or casual games.
Those interested in Games People Play’s weekly events or prerelease events can visit www.facebook.com/gamespeopleplayny for more information.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here