Being active duty military is hard, moving every three to four years right as you start to feel comfortable in a location. Being an Active Duty Gamer is nearly impossible. Sure there is that store that you can go to when you are not deployed or out on exercises but what can you do when you have to leave for a few months to a year or more on a deployment? Almost no game stores will ship to an APO/FPO address either because they don't ship using USPS or they don't want to deal with the customs forms & the few that do want to charge almost as much if not more than what the items we are buying costs. As gamers who happen to also be active duty Navy, we decided in 2010 that we were sick of having to double ship items (have them shipped to our home address, re-packaged & shipped a second time to the boat) and decided it was time to do something about it. So we started up Gamer Apocalypse Inc. a Game store dedicated to the Military Gamer.
Our plans were quickly slowed as we came to realize that many of the publishers, while excited we were going to be offering a way for our men & women in uniform to get their game on even while deployed, were reluctant to help us because we do not have a physical location. We tried to work with other stores but while they could see the benefit in the long run, the payoff wouldn't be immediate so many of them, too, have been reluctant to help. It was then we decided to really look at what we wanted to do & why.
A storefront would serve 2 purposes.
1) it would allow us to procure the products that we get requested the most from our military customers
2) it would give them a place to come to once they got home, run by the same people they have been communicating with who already knows & understands their gaming needs & desires.
Our ultimate goal is to be able to create a store at each duty station we are stationed at that is able to support & sustain the local military gamers in the community. This way, no matter where a military gamer becomes stationed at, a military friendly location is there waiting with open arms & a game about to start. Right now we'll be happy with just starting in the Greater Jacksonville area to support the local gamers of both Naval Air Station Jacksonville & Naval Station Mayport.
We plan to open the location to where it is convenient for Members of the Military to access the store when they are on base. We hope to be able to employ Veterans, Active Duty looking for a flexible & understanding second income & their spouses and dependents.
The area is home to a very large Military installation, many of who do not know their way around town or have a means of transportation that could get them across town to the other game stores. Our location would be close enough to them that they would be able to find us easily & find transportation. We currently run Magic the Gathering events on board the USS Enterprise CVN 65 as part of the MWR (Morale, Welfare & Recreation) program as one of the Owners is deployed on that carrier (see picture above). We will be starting D&D events within the next few weeks. We would love to be able to expand this program to the Base MWR program as well as to other deployed vessels by getting assistance from gamers who are assigned to other ships & deployment locations that can become involved in the MWR program but would need to be able to get larger quantities of product than we are currently able to get.
What We NeedWe have seen what the bad economy can & has done, not only to individuals but the businesses they run. We have already invested over $12,000 of our own funds to get ourselves up & running, including inventory costs and plan to continue at least at that level of personal contribution to expand our store. To get the physical store open we need to have Rent & utility deposits, store fixtures, advertising & a real inventory beyond the piecemeal purchasing we have been doing up to this point. This is where we need your help!
Since the economy is still unstable getting a bank loan is not an option for us. Even the little local credit unions are aware of how many local game stores closed during the recession. We had to jump through hoops just to be allowed to accept credit cards. We are asking for help from you, our gaming family, to help us continue to serve you as gamers & to help us continue to make Military gamers feel like they are at home, even when thousands of miles away.
Ways You Can HelpTo help us reach our goal you can do two things:
- Contribute! Any amount helps. really. Even $1
- Share the word. You can share this on Facebook/twitter or even by word of mouth!
If we can exceed our goal we will be able to expand our store program to an additional base in the Jacksonville Area, allowing Military Gamers on both sides of town easy access to their favorite products.
We want to reward you for your generosity. We know that times are still tough (we count our pennies too). We have tiered our rewards so that no matter how much you are able to give, we can give back to you in a tangible way. We understand that you may not be able to help as much as you would like to because of "grown-up" things like Mortgage/Rent, Car payments, Kids, Naggy Wife/Husband/Parents. It's cool, we have those "adult" things too.
Everyone who contributes towards our goal will be forever immortalized both in our store & on the internet! We will create a special page just for our contributors (and you will get special thank yous through out the year as well in your inbox in the form of discounts & store credit for future purchases) on our website & if we can figure it out on Facebook too.
The more you can give, the better the rewards get...Just make sure you can still eat til your next paycheck before you do give because Food is not one of them (unless you want some in-game food in Everquest 2...the wife can give you food there but it still won't keep you from being hungry in real life). Check out all of the Perks we offer, in some cases worth more than what we are asking for as a donation (cause we are awesome like that). Store Credit & Discount Codes will be sent within 24 hours of your contribution. Stickers will be mailed as we get them from the printer.
The Perk Levels are
$1 - Almost Famous : You want to help but your awesomeness has not yet been translated into actual income.
$5 - Part-Time Gamer : You play when you can but you don't stress when you can't
$10 - Casual Gamer: You have one night a week that is your gaming night, but only if the bank says you can.
$25 - Weekend Warrior: Your weekend schedule is packed with all your gaming plans & your budget probably reflects this
$50 - Hard Core Gamer (Suspended): You are that breed of gamer that lives for the latest release of your favorite game but you have those "grown-up" things we were talking about before...possibly more than one (We are certain you have someone naggy otherwise why would you have suspended your hard core gaming?)
$75 - Dedicated Gamer: You have your game & nothing will stand in the way of you & every release event within driving distance.
$100 - Hard Core Gamer: You are the breed of gamer that lives & breathes your favorite games & you have the spare income to back up that level of dedication.
$500 - Legendary Gamer: You travel to the conventions & you know what's coming before your local store usually does. Your mailbox probably looks like ours, stuffed with gaming magazines & packages from various stores you pre-ordered from.
$1000 - EPIC GAMER: We salute you! Your local game store probably credits you with their continued survival. They always seem to know what you want & have it for you before it hits the street. You are in Gamer Nirvana. We all hope to achieve your level of gamer awesomeness one day.