The first time I wandered into the Game Habitat, I was overwhelmed.
There were just so many games, there were so many products, and I felt a little weak at the knees to have found a place such as this. It was wall to wall games! There was a small place in New York that carried similar products, but they were focused primarily on selling paint ball supplies. It was called Dragons Den and there were two whole shelves dedicated to Dungeons and Dragons, World of Darkness, and Palladium products. They carried a very small number of miniatures, but nothing on the scale of this treasure trove in California. I'd never seen anything like it. There were board games, there were card games, there were Role Playing Games, there were miniatures and large tables covered in battle terrain, and signs posting events and a bulletin board for people who were looking to join a game.It was a paradise for my gaming eyes!
Diana Atwater introduced me to a couple of games that day, including Legend of the Five Rings. This was the game that would have the largest impact on most of my life as it really sparked a huge interest in Japanese cinema for me and provided me with a way to connect to various people that would become great friends over the years. Her husband owned the store, and Jonathan Jackson was both a teacher and a friend when it came to learning various new games. I asked him to read a passage when my wife and I were married, they were important people in our lives, and I appreciate the impact they’d had on my life more deeply than I think they realized.They were some of my first friends upon moving to California. They gave me a bridge with which to meet so many other people. From Tom Doolan to Richard Bennett and Joe Papp- I've made some great connections over the years thanks to their store.
I'll remember the L5R league nights as being some of the best nights of my life. The excitement of Gold Edition decks, the storyline tournaments, picking my clan, fighting for the honor of my favorite heroes. I remember the D&D nights, falling to the corruption of a dark god, finding redemption and dying in battle with my Ranger... both blades flashing in the midst of a war. Spycraft, 7th Sea, Feng Shui, and straight on down into the Savage Worlds of Solomon Kane. I ran a few games, I played a few games, and all in all I had a great time in the building.
When they decided to move on, they sold the store and life coincidentally got much stranger and harder at roughly the same time. It was a struggle to just stop in for a random game or two with the new owners, I just couldn’t get the money or the time to stop in and pick up a regular purchase. But I did still stop in, and I did still pick up the random purchase here and there, and I did try to spend some time there and check out the bulletin board whenever possible. But many games began to die ignoble deaths to time and entropy-
I just discovered the Game Habitat closed. It breaks my heart in many ways, it feels like the passing of an old friend, and it certainly feels like the end of an era. I wish I could revive the experience I had during the past 14 years. The camaraderie of rolling dice around a table as a dungeon master led us from one quest to another, the spectacle of miniature gamers and their painted armies marching into battle on an all terrain table, the pure exhilaration in defending my last province as I eked out another Honor victory against my enemies, and everything that went with all of that.