Nov. 10th, 2015

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So, Melbourne CBD. It's a weird place. Within the span of a four block radius, we've found more game, comic and anime stores than either of us could have guessed would exist in one city. The laneway shops and upper storey stores that stack haphazardly upon themselves sometimes rely on the smallest of signage -- if such a thing is even visible at street level, so more often than not, we literally walk past a store before we know it's there. Once, I spotted a guy carrying what was clearly a fresh comic store-labelled bag. A few doors down, we spot the signboard that lead us up the narrow stairwell that went totally not into a small comic store in the wall. The shop was gigantic and alphabetical, with a Previously Owned/Discounted bin bigger than the stock in some of the (what I previously thought were) large stores would have. You just wouldn't see it past the narrow stairwell from street level unless you were looking for it.

Seth found a place called Dungeon of Magic on Google Maps, which turned out to be literally a dungeon store of Magic: TG. We wandered down another basement to Minotaur, which is what I can only describe as a Tower Records of all the merch there ever was. They had sections for novels, models (anime, TV and random game franchises), DVDs, manga, a large shop in itself of comics (excellent indie section) and the best part was that it was all patronised. Like, not by a bunch of old guys people our age poking around the corners, although we were clearly represented, but also schoolgirls shopping in groups for the latest anime, families with kids buying cards and other women just picking up models to put on their shelves at home. In the span of the next 3 hours, we walked out of a Hungry Jack's and up the decrepit lift to a tiny anime store whose dusty signboard was smushed between ads for beauty parlours, and passed by what we thought was a closed board game store on the way to dinner. By our reckoning, the tiny anime store was probably surviving on mail orders, but even that store was patronised, albeit by a much more specialised breed of Idolmaster fandom than the average bear.

The closed game store, Mind Games, which we visited during business hours the next day, was definitely worth the look. a) What we thought was just another board game store was really a board and card game store, role-playing bookstore (with models) and tabletop wargame specialist (with everything); b) The wargame stuff took up a whole separate floor we once again didn't immediately spot at street level; c) Never before have I seen all the Citadel paint colours together in one store, alongside at least four other brands of model paint and equipment. I picked up two Gloom add-ons (Nightmare on Cthulthu Street! Something to do with vampires!) and Seth picked up a Warhammer40K novel, and both of us tried not to bring home 24 colours of unusual pastels or something. Yes, we could and should just mail order the paint, but they're right there in a jar if we wanted.

I think at some point, we might want to pick up souvenirs for friends. I'm told the proper way of things is to get people Tim-Tams.

Note: On the way home from dinner, a giant pink signboard happened across the street that read: "Nekocards -- Trading Cards". I now feel like there are roaming armies of M:TG and Future Card Buddyfight players all around us seekritly prepared to pull out their spell circles at the drop of a hat.

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