Adventures in Starland

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Like many gamers, I’m not a huge fan of Gamestop/EB Games. I mean I buy from them frequently since they are pretty much the dominant game retailer and the easiest place to find the latest games, but their trade-in service is a complete ripoff nowadays and most of their clerks act like such know-it-all dicks, so I prefer to shop elsewhere if I can. One of my favorite game shops used to be a local import shop chain here in Northern Virginia called Starland, but years back the store location nearby (and the only one I knew about at the time) closed up shop and so I thought the company as a whole did so too.

While browsing around online last week, though, I came across the site eStarland.com and discovered that the chain didn’t shut down but instead merely consolidated into one store in Fairfax, VA and formed an eCommerce branch known as eStarland. So at last I found the game shop I once loved so much, and this weekend I decided to make the 45-minute trek into Fairfax to check it out, especially since I’ve been on a kick to go back and collect some older titles, mainly from the PS1 era.

Unfortunately, their PS1 selection was kinda limited — at least most of the games I was specifically looking for were “temporarily out of stock” — but I did find some sweet deals on a handful of PS1, PS2 and 360 games and found that their trade-in service actually kicks back a much more fair value than the Gamestops of the world. I was getting like $7 in credit for some really old and really crappy PS2 games I’d probably only get a couple bucks for at other stores or selling to other traders online. Overall I made nearly $130 in credit on a small stack of games that had been collecting dust on my shelf for years, and thanks to their Saturday-only Star-tacular sale that had “Buy 1 game, get a second for 50% off” deals in effect I was able to pick up used copies of Chrono Cross, Evergrace, Metal Arms, Earth Defense Force 2017 and Medal of Honor Airborne and a brand new copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl (yeah, I’ve only just now been able to get it dammit!) with like 12 bucks in credit to spare. I’d say that’s a pretty sweet bargain!

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The shop was rather small — probably half the size of most Gamestop/EB Games stores — but it was packed with games from virtually all platforms, past and present, and imported anime, game soundtracks and action figures. All of their new games are offered at a slight discount to the standard MSRP too. So instead of new Wii games being $49.99 or new PS3 and 360 games being $59.99, for example, they were all like $46.99 or $55.99. On average it’s about three to four bucks under typical market value. Not much, but hey, it’s still a discount. As for their used games, the quality is incredible. Every game I saw (and the five I bought) was resealed like new and in pretty much mint condition. They actually check trade-ins before accepting them and won’t take anything that’s damaged.

Best part is, you don’t have to live here in VA, or even the US, to be a Starland customer. The eStarland branch offers all the same prices and services as the store. You can submit trade-in orders online and ship the games to their warehouse for instant credit for use online, or for someone like me who isn’t too far away, I could place an order then head to the store for drop off/pick up to cut out the shipping and make the process go quicker. Since it’s not exactly close by, I unfortunately won’t be able to shop there on a regular basis, but I’m stoked to see that it’s still around and will definitely be making it my go-to source used games and collectibles. Definitely head over to eStarland.com and check them out for yourself.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!