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SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - A popular gaming den in Summerside’s downtown is closing at the end of the month.
Game On! has been the place to play and stock up for games like Magic the Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons and Pokémon.
The spot has been a home away from home for manager Colby Waite, but he’s decided to go back to school.
“It’s time to make a change,” he said.
Owner Josh Pyle-Carter has a second similar business in Halifax called the Deck Box, and he and his wife Rachel have decided to focus on that location instead of re-staffing the Summerside store.
“It was making a job for somebody and there was a community (in Summerside). That was important to us,” Pyle-Carter said.
He was happy to place his trust in Waite, but can’t see how he’ll replace him and train someone new while he's living on the mainland.
Most of the space in Game On! is dedicated to three long tables surrounded by folding chairs. It’s nothing fancy, but the elegance and excitement are found in the games. Mats illustrated with characters from the games cover the tables.
The walls are lined with shelves of Dungeons and Dragons playbooks and albums of every Magic the Gathering card collection ever issued.
"I came in one day and decided to sit down to play. Had a blast. Whether it was the friends, the card games or some mix of the two, the place felt amazing.”
Game On! was originally in the McNeill Mall when Waite began gaming with them. A few friends invited him along one evening.
“I used to play Magic the Gathering before, so I had a few older cards. I came in one day and decided to sit down to play. Had a blast. Whether it was the friends, the card games or some mix of the two, the place felt amazing.”
He was working in a call centre and playing with friends helped him manage the stress of the job.
After a year of being a customer, Waite got to know the owners well. Rachel was running the P.E.I. location while Josh ran the Halifax spot. The distance got to be a strain, so they approached Waite to run Game On!
“I talked myself into it, they talked to me about it as well and I started here.”
Rachel worked alongside him for a few months until he was comfortable and Waite has been managing things ever since.
Most of the clientele come together to play Magic the Gathering, but recently Waite has noticed a resurgence in the popularity of Dungeons and Dragons.
“It had a stigma to it,” he said, but a couple years ago, the tide turned and lots of new players have picked up a 20-sided dice.
“You have people coming together that you’d never see in the same social circles playing it enjoying it, making new friends.”
The closing of Game On! won’t mean the end of the gaming community in Summerside, though.
“There’s always going to be a place,’ Waite said.
There are a few folks talking about getting together for regular meet-ups.
“While they may not be the same as us, I do hope that the people that go there definitely have the same enjoyment that they got here, that home away from home.”