‘Calgary Should Be Proud’: Documentary Features ‘World’s Largest Game Store’ – Calgary

April is a huge month for a longtime Calgary company that has brought many families a lot of fun as it transitions from the small board to the big screen.

The Sentry Box is a store that specializes in board games and related items, but it’s definitely no ordinary store.

“As far as I know, we’re the biggest game store in the world,” said Sentry Box owner Gordon Johansen.

Calgary filmmaker Garry Snow recently completed a documentary about the store called “Friendly Local Game Store”.

It’s a subject that Snow has been familiar with for a long time.

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“I grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons at a time when it was probably something you tried to hide from all your friends in high school,” Snow said. “Nerd gaming and culture has gone mainstream.”

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The Sentry Box offers around 7,000 games on its shelves, attracting customers from all over the world.

“All continents except Antarctica,” Johansen said. “It’s almost like people go on pilgrimages.”

Snow said Johansen deserved recognition for the work he put into his store.

“Gord is very humble and he doesn’t want to claim ownership of being the biggest game store in the world,” Snow said. “But based on my research, it’s definitely the biggest game store, and Calgary should be proud of that.”

Johansen said much of the store’s success came from the traditional appeal of board games.

“It’s social. People are so tired of staring at computers all day,” Johansen said.

Snow said The Sentry Box is more than just a business.

“The documentary really shows how games can bring people from diverse backgrounds together for a common purpose.”

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Johansen has been building the store incrementally since it opened in 1980.

“We started very small. Basically, I wanted cheap games for me. That was the real reason I did it,” Johansen said.

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“Friendly Local Game Store” will be screened on April 28 as part of the Calgary Underground Film Festival.

Johansen said he was looking forward to taking the stage with Snow after the screening for a Q&A with the audience.

“It’s always great fun – I love my job,” Johansen said. “I have no right to retire, according to clients, because they are worried about what will happen.”

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