Show Some Love

Posted on Oct 1st 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (Crabmaster2000)
Posted under Game Store, Wedding, Cosplay, Game Quest, Game Store, Friends

Here I was thinking that my days of writing about my old game store were over, but a recent event that was closely tied to my days there has pulled me back for one more. Not long ago I was invited to a wedding that turned out to be quite an amazing event for me. What do weddings and game stores have to do with each other? Find out below!

Backtracking to late 2013/early 2014 and I had just opened Game Quest. After I was starting to get a feel for running the store a couple months in, it was a priority to start hosting regular events and to make an effort to get to know my customers. Facebook was a great way to interact with my regulars even when they couldn't make it to the store. I'd had enough interactions with people that I was starting to recognize the names of people who would post frequently and I was able to quickly put faces to the names of those who had pictures of themselves when they came into shop (it takes a lot longer to figure out who people are when they have logos or characters as profile pics). I made a special effort to say "Hi" to people by name as I recognized them, especially at these events and I tried to get to know them on a more personal level.

One of our earliest events was a Soul Calibur II tournament and we had a great turnout for such an early event. This was probably our 3rd or 4th event and I recognized about half of the competitors from either the store or previous events. Being in a male-dominated hobby, women always stood out when they attended, so I always tried to make sure they felt welcome and safe when attending these kinds of things. There was one lady competing this time around and I happened to know her by name from her Facebook comments and said "Hi," and struck up a conversation with her about Soul Calibur and some other general topics. She seemed surprised I knew her name and I was a bit worried that maybe I'd come off as creepy or stalkerish.  However, after talking for a bit, I got the impression that she just wasn't used to people taking a genuine interest in her and her passion for gaming. I had a couple of other short interactions before the event ended and everyone parted ways.

My favorite regulars where the half dozen collectors that would come in and we could chat on an equal level about video games or video game collecting. We would have these amazing conversations or debates about what types of games/genres/companies/etc. we liked to collect for most or argue about which game in a series was the best one. One of these such customers eventually started coming into the store with that same girl I had met at the Soul Calibur tournament, and I rarely saw them apart unless one was coming in to pick up a game quickly that was posted to the facebook page that the other person wanted. They even showed up together on Halloween wearing awesome matching Zombies Ate My Neighbors costumes.

Over the years, I got to know both of them fairly well and even had them over to play some SNES at one point. It was around this point that I found out that they had their very first date at my store. They had met through an online dating service and bonded over a mutual love of gaming and decided to have their initial meeting on familiar and friendly ground. When I first noticed them coming in together, I assumed they had been dating for quite a long time before my store had even existed. I hadn't noticed right away, because they just seemed so comfortable with each other and very compatible. It was also around the time of this revelation that they invited me to attend their 2018 wedding. I hate weddings. If it's not an immediate family member on my side or my wife has requested I go as her plus one, I never want to attend a wedding. Since I was tenuously part of this couples story, plus the intriguing fact that this was not a normal wedding, but a cosplay wedding, I was actually interested in attending.

Prior to their big day, my wife and I put together a very budget Casey Jones/April O'neil cosplay to wear to the wedding. I'm not going to lie that finding a way to acceptably wear sweatpants to a wedding was a highlight of 2018 for me. So we are going to this wedding, wearing silly costumes and possibly not really knowing anyone outside of the bride/groom and maybe 1-2 other attendees (I had some business dealings with the brides mother and father in the past, very nice couple as well) we were both a little nervous. It was instantly incredible though. We walked in to see a couple dressed as Pac-Man and Ms.Pac-Man and their kids were the 4 ghosts, fathers of the groom and bride were Robin and Mr. Bean respectively, Grandmother of the bride was a fairy godmother, men of retirement age were wearing Star Wars branded formal wear, most little girls were running around as Wonder Woman, there were anime characters, there was even a female was just really incredible to see all of these people really get into the spirit of the day.

We eventually worked our way into the reception room to see the groom decked out in a full Sith lord cape and light saber as his wedding attire with his groomsmen decked out in Storm Trooper white suits. We greeted him and found our seats. As we waited for the bride to make her big entrance, we had so much fun just people watching. We were pretty curious to see what the bride had in store for us with her dress/costume. In retrospect, I should have known because we've had several debates about the best sailor scout in the past, but she came out in a Sailor Moon themed dress and walked down the isle to a orchestral version of the Sailor Moon theme song; it was very fitting.

It was obvious the Justice that was performing the ceremony was pretty taken aback by this wedding, but still managed to do a decent job of keeping his composure. During the bride's wedding vows there were so many nerdy moments of "You're the Han to my Leia, the Link to my Zelda, the Mario to my Peach" that were just charming and emblematic of this couple (even if the Force Awakens ruins the romantic notions of Han/Leia Tongue ). The groom recounted their history together from the dating app to the wedding and Game Quest was mentioned prominently in his vows. The store I created was important enough to someone else that it was in some freaking wedding vows. That's the closest I've come to getting all teared up at a wedding other than my own. It was such a special feeling to have made something that impacted people's lives so significantly. There have been a few moments during my time with Game Quest that I felt proud about what I had achieved and built, and this is definitely a shining moment among those.

The rest of the night was just as great. We got seated for dinner with the brides Aunts/Uncles who turned out to be quite lively and charming to visit with. Not a one of them was the type to dress up and simply wore typical wedding formal wear, but were very enchanted by the atmosphere and were asking questions constantly to my wife and I about the people they were seeing around the wedding. The DJ obviously had a custom playlist chosen by the couple that was so much fun. We got released to dinner by calling out song names from the couples favorite TV shows in which my table correctly identified the classic Muppets intro. As we ate, I was rewarded with such gems as  "Jump Up Super Star," "Legend of Zelda remixes," "Game of Thrones Theme Song" and when "One Winged Angel" played as I was cutting into my chicken, the bride gave me wink and finger gun as I was likely one of the very few people in the room who could identify and appreciate it as she did.

After dinner, the family and wedding party gave some short speeches and it was really incredible to see these people who had obviously had very supportive families despite how not into the nerd culture they were. The happy couple shared stories about how they were ridiculed and bullied for loving the things they loved and being a bit different while growing up, but that their parents/siblings/a close friend always had their back even when they didn't always seem to understand completely why they were like they were. After that, they obviously cut the wedding cake with a light saber. I had to work that evening so we offered our best to the lovely couple and headed home to relieve our baby sitter.

This is the most enjoyment I've ever gotten out of a wedding. That includes my own. I've never been to a wedding before or since that felt like a true celebration of the couple it was intended to celebrate. Every other wedding I've attended is so generic and bland by comparison. I got to sneak one half of one Judas Priest song into my own wedding and outside of that brief moment I don't feel like there was much of anything representing me on my own wedding day and not much more of my wife's personality got to shine through either. In retrospect, I wish I was as brave as this couple was and really let us celebrate the things that make us ourselves, instead of conforming to the norms and going the safe and boring route.

This day made a big impact on me and I'm really fortunate to be able to call these two friends. I've never regretted opening my store even though it was doing me more harm than good near the end, but all the people I've met and moments like these have made all the time/effort/stress/sacrifice very worthwhile.

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That's a great story! I'm glad to hear you can look back on the store fondly, even after the effects it had on your personal life. Definitely sounds like it was an amazing journey!
If not for Game Quest, Danielle and I might have never celebrated our first year as a couple, yesterday. Game Quest will always be an important fixture in many lives, in this small sleepy logging city, of ours.
What a great story! It's always special when you can see a direct positive impact you've had on people.

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