Building a community with Eugene’s first game store | Arts & Culture

Even as a child, Eugene’s local Samuel Craig remembered going to one of the city’s oldest card shops, Addictive Behaviors. Located in downtown Eugene, Addictive Behaviors first opened in the early 2000s as collectible card games, such as Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon, and Yu-Gi-Oh! – began to gain popularity.

The interior of the store is filled with display cases containing carefully arranged cards, boxes of collectible cards, an assortment of colorful dice and other gaming accessories, as well as a separate room filled with long tables, perfect for playing games. your favorite collectible card games.

“I remember being a little shaken because it was so crowded,” said Craig, reflecting on his first experience playing in a Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament organized at Addictive Behaviors.

For Craig, playing in a large group of mostly strangers seemed like a daunting task, but his anxiety died down when he told the other tournament participants that it was his first time in this location. .

“Everyone was super welcoming and friendly from the moment I said this was my first tournament,” said Craig. “The staff kind of got me on board quickly and were very excited to have me, just as excited as I was to be there.”

The experience and connection between Addictive Behaviors employees and customers only grew as Craig and many others began to attend tournaments more frequently.

“A lot of the staff knew me by first name when I went there all the time and even knew the type of things I wanted to buy,” Craig said. “I think that’s what really sets him apart. Some of the other card stores don’t really have staff members who realize the importance of the players, who mostly keep these stores running.

This take on Addictive Behaviors prioritizing community and atmosphere is not exclusive to Craig, but is shared by employees such as Ryan Forrester, who has worked in the store for just under four years. .

Forrester started out as a participant in the store’s local Magic: The Gathering tournaments and quickly got involved in helping build the community he loved so much. Applying for a position seemed like a no-brainer as a way to help members of the Eugene card game community with things like deckbuilding and finding people to practice with.

“We have a very good community of local players. And, honestly, Eugene’s scene has some of the friendliest players I’ve met, ”said Forrester.

Another interesting aspect of Addictive Behaviors is their huge selection of Magic: The Gathering cards, which Forrester says can only be matched by a few stores in the state.

But, as the Magic: The Gathering scene begins to flourish again at Addictive Behaviors, communities such as Yu-Gi-Oh! The community is slowly dwindling.

“What I liked most about Addictive Behaviors are the people, and with so many starts it’s not the same,” said Nathan Straley, tournament participant and long-time customer. “You never realize how important you are until someone you’ve only said two words to comes along and tells you you’re a nice guy at the locals. [tournaments]. It was probably when this first happened that I wanted to start making sure the locals were inclusive for everyone. “

Straley, like Forrester and Craig, believe experiences like this are what led Addictive Behaviors to be one of Eugene’s most popular and successful card stores, even with the clear impact of COVID-19. on business.

The return to normal will hopefully jumpstart community growth as the store looks forward to launching pre-COVID events such as Pokémon Tournaments and the Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League in the near future.

Addictive Behaviors is open from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday.