On September 19th 2017, Toys R Us and Babies R Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to the large amount of debt owed and losing out in the competition to companies like Amazon. The chapter 11 protections will help out the company during the upcoming holiday season. So, what does this have to do with video games?
Many older gamers, like myself, grew up with Toys R Us. Not only did we get toys, bikes and board games from them, but also video games. Toys R Us had, to this day, one of my favorite ways to buy video games; the video game ticket wall. Not only that, the kiosks in the store would allow you to play every console for the games you could buy (well, maybe not the Atari Jaguar).
During the times before the Internet (some might call this the Dark Ages), kids had to find out what games and consoles to get from friends or from the kiosks that Toys R Us had. Now other stores had them, but the Toys R Us I went to always had them before anyone else, like when Sega Saturn was released.
I was also lucky when I was a child. My family lived right in front of a Toys R Us. While some kids went to arcades, I went to Toys R Us where kids would have random tournaments in Mario Kart 64 or GoldenEye. Toys R Us is also where I played Resident Evil on the PlayStation for the first time too.
I’m sure I’m not the only one my age who feels a little bad for Toys R Us. Our generation has lost many places that didn’t grow with their markets. This reminds me of what happened with Blockbuster. Like Blockbuster, Toys R Us struggled to take hold of a different medium, like the online market from Amazon. Toys R Us just didn’t grow up with us. They didn’t grow up at all, just like their commercial always told us not to grow up. Unfortunately, the clock has started on how much longer we can still be Toys R Us kids.