The Rue/Avenue/Boulevard Voltaire Paris

Second half of the 90s, I have my games store in Belgium and start to dabble into wholesale and import as well as export to the US and Japan. I remember going to the stores at the Voltaire in Paris every few weeks to see what I could scalp from them and finding that half of them were closed because Sony or Nintendo had a lwsuit going against them for importing games from Japan.

French people on this forum, please share your stories here if you have them from that glorious era.

If you speak French, there was an excellent article on the neighborhood and its twilight years, with spicy testimonies from iconic characters of that scene, published about five years ago.

lol I spoke about Rue Voltaire in the Game Purchase Story thread, becoz I found a cheap copy of Steambot Chronicles there :stuck_out_tongue:

I was hoping to go back this year - I wanted to visit Stunfest! but it got canceled lol 😭

@Fishie#5711 Even now, France and Belgium have better game shops than we do in the UK, sometimes in not-so-big towns, which always surprises me when I stumble across one. Newer releases are hideously expensive more or less anywhere in mainland Europe, but there's a far better selection of older games and curiosities to be found. Maybe due to a stronger import scene back in the day? We used to have a few of those shops here, but I guess eBay killed them.

I found an absolutely fantastic little shop last year in Charleroi while walking around town between connecting flights. Browsed for almost an hour, bought a couple of GBA games and spent the day playing them in the park.

Belgium took a nosedive when I quit my retail/wholesale biz tho.

I had quite the international clientele.

Finally got around reading that great article btw, thanks for that Chazumaru.

I have lots of feelings with that one.


Saisie de materiel informatique pour piratage de jeux vidéo
> Un policier lors d'une saisie de materiel informatique pour piratage de jeux vidéo Nintendo à Paris le 21 décembre 1994, France. (Photo by Raphael GAILLARDE/Gamma-Rapho via [Getty Images](


I went there with chaz and some folks, and found all the prices quite high - they had american imports priced at import knock-up prices, which blew my mind. I didn‘t wind up buying anything I don’t think. But later that evening we went to another shop that wasn't always open, that was in an apartment. We walked through some big wooden doors into a dark cobblestone courtyard, upstairs to the 2nd floor, and opened the door to a man playing saxophone by himself with a personal red/pink disco ball-like thing lighting him from the floor. It was a pretty surreal experience and colored my impression of paris forever!

[edit] also there were games somewhere in another room, we hung out there for a little while and just talked to the saxophonist.

@exodus#5787 yeah so you sampled like a small part of it and now you think you got the full experience. That being said, I am teh expert on Oakland and SF. :slight_smile:

Annyways in all seriousness, during those times several companies that closed biz in the Voltaire came after me as well, none of them ever succeeded in closing me down and most even never went along with their threats of closing me down.

Konami threatened me for importing MGS I said be my guest, I do not sell counterfeit games and you expect my customers to wait a year for a worse version of the game.

Sony threatened me for modding consoles I said yeah I do but every console we mod is a console that can not pirate your games, we only do region mods that allow original PS discs.

Konami decided not to sue me, Sony did and lost horribly.

In France however I would have lost since they just needed complaint to close the stores.

In Paris you were guilty until you could prove your innocence.

Nintendo remains extra special in this in that they never existed in France until late 97 when they finally became a legal entity in France. Before that they used Bandai and shell companies to fuck over retail as well as customers in France. Under Bandai they were forced to a 680 million French Franc settlement with the public which they got out of by letting the company die in France and they could not legally launch the N64 until they dissolved shell companies and started a legit biz under their own name.

Hmm I sure do say FRANCE a lot