Casual Games is a new shop for gamers in Port Coquitlam

Casual Games caters to players of adventure, role-playing and card-building games.

Jeremy Bradley wants Port Coquitlam to celebrate its inner geek.

He’s even providing a venue.

Bradley and his wife, Teile, have just opened Casual Games in the old Shaughnessy Mall in the city’s downtown.

He said the shop has been designed as a safe space where people can pursue their passion for role-playing adventure games such as Dungeons and Dragons, collectible card games like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Go!, as well as silly party favourites like Exploding Kittens and Throw Throw Burrito and those curious about them can learn without judgement or snickers.

Bradley said in the shop’s first few days of operation all manner of customers have crossed its threshold, from a biker-type with a long, grey beard to a young man with a pattern tattooed on his arm who seemed to be speaking a language all his own as he enquired about Yu-Gi-Go! cards.

He said fathers have brought their kids, and vice-versa, for some intergenerational bonding.

“It’s breaking down the stereotype of who plays them,” Bradley said, adding they all have a common purpose, to find a community that shares their passion for gaming.

While their online options may be endless, nothing beats being able to connect in person, across a table from each other.

Bradley said that need for personal interaction has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, that isolated people from each other and continues to leave many cautious about mingling with others.

“People are craving social contact,” he said. “There’s an itch to reconnect face to face.”

Board games, Bradley said, are the perfect salve to soothe that itch.

“They’re a license to be connected with other people,” he said. “They allow people to bond over their shared passion.”

Bradley said even as online and electronic gaming platforms grow exponentially, physical games with pieces and cards that must be held in your hand, and rules and strategies that have to be played out in real time in the presence of your opponent still have an allure.

They’re not only an escape from the real world, they’re a break from our digital selves.

That pretty much sums up his own journey to game playing, Bradley said.

A digital marketer who’s worked at various companies in the business-to-business and business-to-consumer fields, he was spending at least 10 hours a day parked in front of a screen.

Chasing a coveted card in a box of sealed Pokémon packs took him away from that and allowed him to forge friendships that endure.

“Friendships grow over shared experiences,” Bradley said.

“Some of my most meaningful interactions have been over a board game, or dice, or cards.”

• Casual Games is located at 110-2540 Shaughnessy St.

For more information, you can visit its website.


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