BRIDGEPORT — Fans of role-playing games and comics haven’t had many places to gather since the old Game Kingdom shut down awhile back.
But Bridgeport native Hans Knapp is changing all that with the opening of Bridgeport Comics and Games, 3323 S. Halsted St.
“A lot of people come here who used to go there,” Knapp said. "Every Friday we're getting a lot of people in, and weekend business is booming."
The store, a sprawling 4,800-square-foot space that formerly housed a “Party Barn,” opened in late October. It’s filled with racks of role-playing games and shelves of Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic the Gathering trading cards ready for purchase.
Comic books, including a roster of DC, Marvel, anime and indie titles, are slated to arrive this week, bringing with them a subscription program in which customers can have their favorites custom-ordered to the store each month for a 10 percent discount.
Knapp, 26, said the store’s debut area gives gamers of all ages a new local option. On a recent visit, gamers who came from as far as the northwest suburbs were hanging out, chatting, shopping and, yes, gaming.
The store also provides seating for more than 100. Each weeknight, the store welcomes Magic the Gathering fans for tournaments. Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments are held on Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays.
On Sundays, the staff will demonstrate board games to anyone who asks. Manager Amanda Stewart said they’re hoping to cater to “a lot of people who have never played anything other than poker or Candyland."
“If you come in here we can find a game for you,” she said.
The store also offers a big-screen television and video game consoles available for an hourly $5 rental fee. Stewart said parents must sign consent forms allowing kids to play gory games rated Mature.
It’s all part of the community aspect Knapp and his brother Sean, 27, hope will sprout around the store.
“We think the neighborhood is ready for something like this,” said Sean Knapp. “This will really be a community center for a lot of kids.”
Bridgeport Comics is open 10 a.m.-midnight Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-midnight on Saturdays and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sundays. For more information on tournament schedules, call the store at (773) 823-7733.