Retro Game shopping in Paris

Because you’ve got to do something once you’ve seen the Eiffel Tower.

Paris is a wonderful city, full of culture, history, charm and of course lots of really great wine.

It’s also, somewhat surprisingly, home to some rather fun retro gaming stores.

A few months ago, I travelled to Paris for business purposes. With a full disclaimer in mind, I went there as a guest of Huawei for the launch of the Huawei P30 Pro. I can’t read the minds of Huawei executives, but I think it’s a fair bet that they weren’t doing so in order for me to trawl the retro game shops of Paris. Call it a hunch if you will.

I should also point out that I didn’t explicitly go out of my way to speak of to do any retro shopping.

Indeed, one of the locations I walked past because I was walking with a group heading to a death metal store called — and I’m not making this up — Music Fear Satan. What’s more, it featured the Die Hard 2 soundtrack prominently in the front window.

I know, you’re finding that hard to believe.

So of course I have proof.

Check that top left corner. I never knew that Bruce Willis was Death Metal, but there you go.

Anyway, not too far from there resides the aptly named Retro Game Shop.

Gee, I wonder what it sells?

Retro Game Shop

Jeux Video Retro?
Oui. Entrez-vous?

Retro Game Shop isn’t huge — basically a single room of stock — but it exemplifies a style of retro game store that I love to simply browse, because just about everything is on display.

I… may be some time.
“You know what they call R.O.B in France?”
“Royale with cheese?”
“No. They call him R.O.B.”

Not so great I guess if you have really specific games you’re chasing after, but fantastic for those serendipitous finds.

Actually, even if you are after something specific, you could always ask. I chatted to the proprietor for a little while as he bagged up my purchases in a mix of my terrible broken French and some English, and he was perfectly happy to find games for me if I asked.

Folks with OCD may find the organisation… challenging.
Folks who like browsing a lot will find it fun. Which are you?

A lot of games don’t have prices on them if that annoys you, although it didn’t affect too many of the games I picked up.

Is it terribly clichéd to buy an Asterix game while in France?
Sure it is. Didn’t stop me, mind you
Something tells me the free entry to Parc Asterix
may have already been claimed, though.

One quick traveller tip here: Learn some basic language for ANY country you travel to. Most folks are pretty obliging if you make a small effort, whereas assuming everyone will speak English or getting exasperated when they don’t is essentially just rude.

I resisted the temptation to go Game & Watch shopping. Just.
It’s at this point that I seriously tried to work out if I could get more luggage on the plane if I left a limb behind.

Pricing is… well, look, I’ve written about this kind of thing before. The reality for any retro game store in an online age is that actual “bargains” are going to be few and far between. I mean, why would you sell off your stock cheap in store when you can get more for it online? 

The more valuable stuff is in cabinets, but ask nicely and you can browse away to your heart’s content.

That being said, the prices were fair, and I walked away pretty happy.

Come to Paris, buy Japanese Super Famicom games.
Because why not?

One caveat here is that Retro Game Shop’s opening hours are rather precise; Mondays 2:30pm to 7pm, Tuesdays, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday 11am to 7pm and not at all (as I read it) on Thursday and Sundays. 

Don’t tell Mini Godzilla, but I left without buying a copy of Super Godzilla.

I’m working on the theory here that the owner has some other enterprise that they work on those days. Or maybe it’s mostly online.


Trader Games

It turns out that “Trader Games” in French is… Trader Games.
Well, that’s a bit anticlimactic.

I’ll admit, the name caught me by surprise. If only because it’s the same as one of my favourite Tokyo game stores, although I think that’s at most a question of homage rather than franchising.

See also:

Retro Game Shopping in Tokyo: Where to shop and how to save (if you can)

Retro Game Shopping Japan 2018: The Good, The Bad & The Expensive

Trader is a far more organised store than Retro Game Shop is. It’s not just retro gaming content either. The downstairs area is your standard current console fare if that’s more your style. Retro game fans should head upstairs to find games quite beautifully arranged in cabinets.

Your dreams of a “cheap” copy of Radiant Silvergun are just that.
I did not expect to see this many GameBoy game boxes in such fine condition outside Japan.

Although that does limit the amount that you’re going to “browse” them. It’s a delicate balance, but I will admit I like being able to handle things I’m going to buy first. Is that just me?

Observez? Oui.
Touchez? Non.
You can’t have a games store without gaming trinkets.
Also Virtual Boy games, but I’ve never owned one of those.

One interesting aspect I hadn’t considered before was the language barrier. These days, it’s not unusual to see multi-lingual options on games, but back in the day it was far less common. That’s not going to be an issue for, say, a shoot-em-up, but what do you do for more text-heavy fare such as RPGs?

Chrono Trigger en Francais, s’il vous plait.

The answer is a ROM hack, and Trader had more than a few of those on sale. Interesting to see in a full retail store, but it’s not as though they “exist” in those language forms otherwise.

My time was rather more crunched than at Retro Game Store, so I didn’t actually end up buying anything in Trader, although I was sorely tempted.


Sadly for me, the pressing need to actually fly back home limited my adventures there. A little light research suggests that there’s probably more retro gaming goodness to be had on the fair streets of Paris.

Now, you REALLY shouldn’t just go to Paris to go shopping for old video games. It’s an amazing city rich with sights and sounds, which you should totally take in while you’re there. Make retro part of your journey — but not all of it.

This is also properly retro. Also a bit of a tourist trap.
If the French ever elect me Emperor, I’ll use Versailles to store the retro game collection.
Which is why they’ll never elect me Emperor.

Well, that and not being properly French,
but that didn’t really stop Napoleon, now did it?

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