By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
December is upon us and holiday shopping is in the air! Twelve days remain to find that special item for the nerd in the family. Just what they want can be found with this list of where to go on (Mid and) South Vancouver Island. There is a Nanaimo entry, but its lumped under Curious Comics since they have several stores.
This guide is not restricted to the season either. Everyone has a birthday, and if that collector must have more FUNKO Pop figures for that collection, going to EB Games is not the definitive place to be. Operations like Toys R’ Us and Walmart have their place for finding toys and current movie tie-in products, but let’s consider the local operations before going corporate.
For any other outlet that’s not listed, please submit by commenting and this guide will be updated and made its own page, a Nerd’s Guide to Shopping on Vancouver Island, after the new year.
DOWNTOWN VICTORIA (NERD ROW)
Used Comics, Vinyl Records, Videos (anime), LEGO, Toys (Barbie, Star Wars, Transformers, GI Joe & Many More!)
1410 Broad Street
This operation specializes in carrying a diverse range of product for everyone of all ages. From products for young girls, like Barbie, to collectible products (like original packaging G.I. Joe), if you name it, it might be hiding here!
Comic Supplies, Comics, FUNKO Pop!, Graphic Novels,
Illustration Books, Models, T-shirts, Toys
631 Johnson Street (Victoria-location)
844 Goldstream Avenue (Langford location)
3200 Unit 6 Island Highway (Nanaimo BC location)
With three locations to serve most of Vancouver Island, Curious Comics makes up the heart of Nerd Row in Victoria, BC. Stepping in here is a paradise of goodies. From CGC certified comics to Walking Dead merchandise, a lot of nerd culture franchised out properties can be found here.
Board Games, Dice, Miniature Paint Supplies, RPG
1319 Broad Street
This branch deals with all aspects of card, role playing and board games. With interest high, the chiefs in this operation decided having a separate store makes for a better method to show all that’s available. From the latest edition of Call of Cthulhu to Star Trek, it’s here. If you visit their Facebook, you can find when they host demos of the latest games.
Dice, Miniatures & Associated branded paint Supplies, Wargaming)
625 Johnson Street
Technically a big box operation, this business deserves a special place as having been part of the local nerd scene for a long time. Games like Blood Bowl and even Lord of the Rings shows how well this company rules them all. This company is popular for a reason. Their prices, say what you will, has to pay for the licensing they have to pony up to maintain their high quality of miniature building and craftsmanship.
Comics (current & silver age), Graphic Novels, Illustration Books
633 Johnson Street
Coming into this book store to find that gift for the comic book enthusiast is a must. The diversity is huge, and the selection is a mix of rustic to modern. The love for the medium can be seen everywhere. Books are organized by publisher and artist! For the true collector, co-owner Gareth does have a side operation to preview the truly vintage material, and that can be arranged by appointment.
If Gareth or Lloyd does not have it in the store, then the next step is obviously going to be that Amazon place, if not eBay.
Magic the Gathering, Card Supplies, Comics
649 Johnson Street
This place is better known as one of two places to buy your Magic the Gathering cards, old and new, and supplies related to it. Walking by this place may seem scary to some since it’s card central than comics, but they still have space to sport more of the latest titles than old.
Used Books, RPG, Miniatures, Underground Music, Punk Rock
556 Pandora Ave
Within one storefront lurks two operations. Upstairs is a wide range of used and new role playing games material, with plenty of classic Dungeons and Dragons books to worry a Red Dragon to second run molds of miniatures, the love of pen and paper gaming can be found here, along with the odd golden gem from the 70’s / 80’s, when RPG was the “in-thing.”
Downstairs lurks a wide range of product ranging from books to music (punk rock, heavy metal) of bands. Some are obscure and others are not. But it’s a curiosity shoppe for a reason. You never know what you can find!
Used Video Games, Consoles & Arcade
2612 Quadra St
Although a bigger operation with a larger library of product to display, the distinction this operation has is in the fact it the home for several standing coin-operated arcade games. Good people run this operation too and parking is nearby.
Used Video Games, DVDs, Nintendo
760 Yates St
This operation loves Nintendo and I recommend going here over Epic (sorry) just because of the love the family of store owners have for the product. They are fellow nerds, and offer great after-support for the refurbished consoles sold here.
Used Sci-fi & Fantasy Fiction, RPG
734 Fort Street
The avid reader will find Russell Books and their overstock store, Books on View, a great place to find used books. If they do not have it on the shelf, the product can be ordered in.
Used Video Games & Consoles
780 Esquimalt Road
When heading into the downtown core seems to be a chore, Esquimalt residents can visit this nearby business to trade in their games for other ones and maybe find the odd “hacked” console to play games developed for another region. Apparently this store has them but they fly fast. Sometimes, the odd collectable trinket can be found here, and the selection is no better and no worse when compared to other used video game shops in Greater Victoria. But to find that specific title, phone around to each store helps.
Card Games, Anime, RPG
3458 Tillicum Rd
Located in the Tillicum Mall Hub, this operation is home for many nerds living nearby to play their card or RPG games in the evening. They keep up with the popular games of the season and host tournaments. Their selection is diverse enough to include bootlegs of some anime soundtracks and products coming from Hong Kong than Japan.