At this time of year, many of us are having to once again face up to some inescapable truths. For the next two months, it will be cold and miserable. No Christmas lights sparkling in the windows, no whisky coffee to sip by the fire (is that just me?), and no money to spend, even though all the shops seem to have ‘massive’ sales. So, whilst I sit at work daydreaming about a future where I can go wandering around town buying sparkly things, inspiration has struck me for January 2018’s Top 5 – my five favourite video-game shops.
Shops in Video Games are not only fun but also essential. Sometimes the way we spend our hard-earned gil, can pave our way through the game, giving us the chance to select particular weapons, spells and potions that suit our play style. In other instances of course the game is just far too hard and all you can ever afford is HP-restoring items, but lets not bring ourselves down with that! Within the vast realm of video game shopping, a few games have provided us with that bit more bang for our buck, so lets look at my picks for the Top 5 shops (and shopkeepers) in gaming:
The Gates of Hell (Bayonetta)
OK, firstly, the Gates of Hell is actually a bar. Therefore in my book it wins at being a shop more than any of the others, but that isn’t the only reason to include it here. It isn’t just a bar, it is a really cool bar. It’s run by a demon called Rodin, who is also really cool. If it were me I think I’d just go to this place for a booze-up, but if you happen to be Bayonetta you can buy a lot of really cool stuff here like Red Hot Shots, Lollipops in various flavours and also guns, hammers, whips, swords…yeah, you get the picture.
Just to top it all off, our friendly publican Rodin just so happens to do an awesome impression of the next shopkeeper on our list…
The Merchant (Resident Evil 4)
The Merchant isn’t just the coolest merchant in town, but he runs the only shop in Resident Evil 4‘s weird Spanish village, castle and island. Despite being only one man, he seems to pop up everywhere, often at useful times like before major battles. He’s friendly without being a pushover, and that’s the kind of attitude I like in a shop keeper. I particularly like the way his voice goes up in anticipation when he asks “What are ya selling?”, and also when he looks at you blankly and says simply “Not enough cash”. Of course his best turn of phrase is when you have something super shiny to sell, and with the gleam of a true capitalist in his eye, he declares “Ahhh, I’ll buy it a high price!”
He also runs a super fun shooting game in which you can win bottle tops (!?), and unlike any of the others here (at least as far as I know), he has a crucial vulnerability – you can kill him. How do I know this? I’m not telling you (hangs head in shame).
Sylphie (Forgotten Worlds / Project X Zone 2)
Sylphie is an interesting one. I’ve never actually played Forgotten Worlds, but she caught my eye in Project X Zone 2 so I investigated further. The thing with Sylphie is that although she will happily sell you stuff, she is just as happy to sell these things to your enemies. She refuses to take sides and will seemingly do anything to make a tidy profit. In Forgotten Worlds, her decision to set up a shop, forcing you to PAY for restorative items in order to continue your quest to save the Earth from the evil God Bios is slightly unethical at best, especially as the rest of humanity has pulled together to prepare our heroes for their mission.
The Hee-Ho Mart (Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE)
The Hee-Ho Mart in the Shibuya ward of Tokyo is a great one-stop shop for all your convenience store needs. They sell lots of pop-culture magazines (and possibly some slightly racier ones too), they sell noodles in a variety of flavours and of course they sell lots of tasty in-game items, like Fresh Spicy Curry. They even sell honey-caramel-banana-chocolate
flavour doughnuts – one of the rarest and most delicious flavours around. However, if when you’re grabbing your doughnut you take a glance to the right, you will see another sales window, attended by a masked and mysterious figure, who likes to say the phrase ‘Hee-Ho’, and variations on it frequently. After meeting this masked sales-clerk, who may well be one of the ‘Mirages’ from the games title, they will pop up at various locations and ask you to do things for them, but even if you can’t quite be bothered to complete all their side-quests they still make for a memorable and slightly odd shopping experience. Be warned though, visiting this masked sales-clerk may lead to an addiction to the Hee-Ho Magic Lottery.
The Quickie Pal (Thimbleweed Park)
So the Quickie Pal is actually a really terrible place that I wouldn’t want to visit in real life (except possibly to buy some awesome greetings cards), but that is what makes it so great and gets it onto this list. It’s manned by stoner sales-clerk Leonard and contains not only a rat, but also various ‘useful’ items like bear repellent, a man-eating plant and a map of the town. It also has a bottle return, which, y’know, is great for the environment and stuff. Spend a while browsing and you might even find a speck of dust…
So which of these fine establishments are you going to be visiting with January’s paycheck? I’m sure there are many more I’ve missed from the list, so how about letting me know below?
Thanks for reading.