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Games you played on store kiosks

Reed Rothchild

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Editorials Team · Posted

Was thinking about this the other day, which led to me trying to remember all of them.  This is what I came up with:

Panzer Dragoon (Toys r Us)

Symphony of the Night (Software Etc)

Super Mario 64 (Sears)

Nights into Dreams (Target)

Soviet Strike (Sears)

Pilotwings 64 (Sears)

Total Eclipse Turbo (Best)

Some sort of Flintstones "game" for CDi or 3DO (Best)

Red Alarm (Seats)

Blast Chamber (part of some demo disc?) (Sears)

Xtreme or 2xtreme (Target)

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I’m trying to remember.  Deep in the foggy nostalgias.

i remember during the NES years there was a kiosk in sears I’d play on.  I want to say Kung Fu?  Guardian Legend? I think so.  Bah it’s too hazy.  I have to assume some of the games I had as a kid were kiosk influenced.  Hmm were they running Star Voyager and Ghostbusters?  I don’t know but the trip back then were those Toys R Us tickets.

I do remember when SNES came out getting excited to get to play Super Mario World at the same Sears kiosk spot.  Also playing Ken Griffey and Donkey Kong Country on the kiosk at Toys R Us.

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I remember when Sears had their NES and GB kiosk.  Played Metroid and Kid Icarus a few times there, as a kid.

Our Toys R Us briefly had a TG-16 kiosk -- but their mainstay was the oversized GB unit, and eventually they had a Virtual Boy display unit.


By the time N64 came around, I think Sears in our region was long-done with video game systems.

Edited by arch_8ngel
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Just now, Hammerfestus said:

Kid Icarus.  That was it.  Thank you. 

It is really an ideal game for a store kiosk, IMO.  Hard enough that a casual player isn't going to last long anyway, but levels are short enough that the demo timer is worth a couple of levels of progress.

If Metroid had a less abusive password system it would have worked better (from a player standpoint) -- though from the STORE standpoint, I think Metroid was also "perfect" in the demo unit, since you cant get ANYWHERE with a 3 minute timer and it makes the game feel HUGE, unlike anything else on the system at the time for exploration (other than Legend of Zelda)



So to go along with this topic -- any of you guys have stories of oddball places that used to sell video games?

I remember buying Metroid 2 at Lowe's, of all places.  (they had a dedicated video game counter and locked cabinet in the front of the store near the power tool corral) 

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I honestly can't remember any of them, with one or two exceptions, but it's honestly because every single time we went to Walmart, Target or Best Buy, my parents would let me run over to the video department and I was over there playing whatever demo was in the kiosk.  I've played so many, I can't remember the specifics because it all gets muddied.

However, the one that left the BIGGEST impression was Tetris.  That was 100% because the kiosk itself was a GIANT DMG.  It definitely made me want a Game Boy all the more and to this day, that DMG kiosk is the only kiosk I actually want.

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I specifically remember playing Kid Chameleon at Montgomery Wards because my big brother would always hog the SNES kiosk, and definitely Mario 64, Crash Bandicoot and 2Xtreme at Target in the late 90's. During the PS3/360 launch, I was the electronics specialist at Target and would constantly "test" by kiosks with Call of Duty 2 and Fight Night (360) and Motorstorm (PS3).

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I know I've played a ton of demos at store kiosks, but for whatever reason, the ones I remember the most were Jurassic Park for the Genesis and Star Fox for the SNES, both at our local Target which we used to go to every Friday evening when I was a kid.  My parents would shop, and I would get at least 10 minutes of game time in the video game section.  

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Played duck hunt at Crazy Eddie's in East Brunswick NJ. The guy was trying so hard to sell the system to my grandma and I kept shooting the dog. He was like no, your supposed to shoot the ducks kid. I remember laughing hard and him getting upset. 


Edited by BriGuy82
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In 1998, Nintendo had a huge setup in the front of our Toys R Us with like 5 or 6 different game kiosks going. I don't remember all the games, but I do remember playing Cruis'n World and F-Zero X.

I also remember way back when they had Super Mario World and Sonic the Hedgehog both running, but they were behind a glass case and you could only watch 😢 I would just stand there staring and drooling all over the glass.

Edited by cj_robot
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i worked at Target for a few years and when we weren't busy i'd hope on the game kiosks for a quick round. they only were around for a few months, but i played a decent amount of Playstation All Stars Battle Royale or whatever it's called. i also played Mario Party (9? 10?) a bunch. enough to beat it a few times to unlock stuff.

before that, i worked for a smaller chain (shout out to Hastings!) before they went out of business. a Soul Calibur game was releasing and we were hosting a tournament, so i played a bunch beforehand so i could put on a highlight performance.

Edited by twiztor
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Donkey Kong Country (totally bought the game after that)

Red Alarm (beat this Virtual Boy game several times on the kiosk)

Sonic & Knuckles (beat it on the kiosk)

Vector Man (another Sega game beaten on the kiosk)

Sonic 3D Blast (came close to beating it, did later when my brother bought a Sega Genesis)

Virtual Racing (couldn't play this one, guess I sucked at it or didn't care enough)

Bug! (didn't like it)

Virtual Fighter (same as above)

Battle Arena Toushinden (I jumped ship, no longer a Nintendo only fan, played the demo every night during break, nabbed me up a Playstation that christmas of '95)

Wipeout (the new F-Zero, was just wow, on the same kiosk demo disk as the above)

Jumping Flash (loved how high this robo rabbit could jump, this was fun)

ESPN Extreme Games (meh, nothing to get excited about, but was sorta fun for an occasional race)

A whole bunch other PS1 games that I can't remember exactly which were playable and which were just viewable.

Wario Blast (came very close to beating it)

Street Fighter EX (my asshole store manager got his ass whooped by me-and I'm not really that good at fighters-after talking smack, he didn't take it well)

Nights in Dreams (very weird)

Mario 64 (hated it, Crash Bandicoot was way better)

Zelda : Ocarina of Time (I guess Nintendo really is dead)

F-Zero X (really, this shit sucks)

Cruise 'n World (garbage)

Diddy Kong Racing (got me to agree with my brother to get an N64)

There were more games, can't remember all at the moment.

Edited by MeganJoanne
more games added
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Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES, 1995ish, Sears) - I used to love the Sears gaming kiosk and looking at all the games and playing the demo unit while my mom shopped around the store. Because there was barely any internet and I didn't have Nintendo Power, I had no way of knowing about new games unless they were in the store so seeing this game demoed completely sold me on the game.

Mario's Tennis (VB, 1996ish, Toys R Us) - My one and only interaction with the Virtual Boy. This demo unit left me so impressed that til this day I still want a Virtual Boy. But it's always been too expensive and hard to find. But the game left a lasting impression on me.

Road Rash (PS1, 1996ish, PC Richard) - My first experience with PlayStation. Didn't even really know what I was playing but I liked it.

Super Mario 64 (N64, 1996, Blockbuster) - this demo completely sold me on the game and the N64 in general

Mario Kart 64 (N64, 1997, Blockbuster) - Didn't own an N64 til later in the year that year so I just played the demo unit a LOT til I had my own copy. 

Diddy Kong Racing (N64, 1997, Toys R Us) - I already owned the game when I played the demo unit but I just happened to see it and wanted to play a few rounds of my (at the time) favorite game.

Banjo-Kazooie (N64, 1998, Wal-Mart) - My friend and I were so obsessed with this game even before it came out, we had our parents drive us to Walmart just to play the demo unit for 2 hours before the games release. It was a great time.

PaRappa the Rapper (PS1, Late 90s, Kay Bee) - I hated this game from the moment I played it. Still do. But I miss Kay Bee.

Luigi's Mansion (GCN, 2001, Target) - Right up til GameCube released I was actually not excited for the system. Not that I didn't like it, but I had just got a PS1 less than a year prior and a GBA shortly after that so I really saw no need for a new system. That was, until I played Luigi's Mansion demo unit. Just like Mario 64 made me into a believer 5 years earlier, Luigi's Mansion sold me on the GameCube.

Super Smash Bros Melee (GCN, 2001, Toys R Us) - I was so beyond excited for this game that I went to Toys R Us just to play the demo unit before the games release.

Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GCN, 2003, GameStop) - I went to GameStop just for this demo to play the game before it's release. I was so excited for it I couldn't contain myself. 

There are probably another dozen or two games I'm forgetting but these are the major ones. I haven't touched a demo unit in well over 10 years though unless you count watching a kid play Mario Odyssey.

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Blockbuster Video

Sonic Adventure (Dreamcast)

EB Games/Electronics Boutique

Mario Tennis

Future Shop

Donkey Kong 64 (very briefly...I was outside of DK's Treehouse and after I dropped down, the game reset)

Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (in 2007, oddly enough)

Mario Kart: Super Circuit

Mario Party 3

Super Mario Advance 2

Super Mario Sunshine (one of those Interactive Multi-Game Demo Discs, where you could choose from a few of the platforming mini levels)


Mario Tennis (on a black and white screen, and there was no sound)

Playland (Vancouver, B.C.)

Virtual Boy (briefly...don't remember what game)


Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (may well have been the first game I played at a store)

Super Mario Sunshine (a little difficult to play, since the screen was above the game shelves)


Luigi's Mansion

Edited by MegaMan52
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