New store aims to bring out Belper’s ‘inner geek’

Distinct Gaming on the Courtyard in Belper.
Distinct Gaming on the Courtyard in Belper.

The owners of one of the most recent additions to Belper’s award-winning high street say they want their ‘geeky’ new store to be a focus for the town’s gaming community.

Distinct Gaming, which is located on The Courtyard opposite the Market Place, took over its bijou new premises at the beginning of May.

The owners of Distinct Gaming in Belper, Leigh Thomas and James Dunn.

The owners of Distinct Gaming in Belper, Leigh Thomas and James Dunn.

Its owners, Leigh Thomas and James Dunn, both work in schools but have had long-harboured desires to let out their ‘inner geek’ and go into business for themselves.

Leigh, 34, said: “It is something that we have wanted to branch out into for a while.

“We are getting up and running now - we are in a good place in the town where a lot of people are coming past and seeing us.”

Leigh lives with his wife in Ilkeston and James lives in Belper with his partner.

They both currently work other jobs full time, Leigh as a teacher and James, 27, as a teaching assistant.

Leigh says they hope that the shop - as well as doing well financially - becomes a focus for Belper’s gaming community to come together and get more people gaming.

“James knows the area better than me and he thought there was a bit of a gap in terms of things for gamers,” says Leigh.

“People here usually have to travel to Derby or Nottingham for this kind of thing so we thought we’d try to fill that gap.”

The shop sells table-top games and PC games as well as comics, and is currently open every Thursday evening, and Saturday and Sunday during the daytime.

They also have evening opening on Thursdays and possibly Fridays where they invite customers in to play games and socialise with each other.

“We don’t just want to sell games - we want to be a place where gamers can meet up, learn how to play new games and have a bit of a laugh as well,” says Leigh.

“If you like games and have nobody to play with then come down and have some fun.”

Leigh says as he is more into table-top games and James is more into PC gaming, they make a good team as the shop can offer custom-built gaming PCs as a result of the latter’s expertise.

But, as both are comic book lovers, they thought they’d include a range in order to capitalise on their huge current popularity.

“It is great that all this stuff it is more mainstream than it was,” he says.

Magic: The Gathering

Leigh says people can visit the shop to play all sort of things from board games to Dungeons and Dragons, but one of the biggest current draws is undoubtedly ‘Magic: The Gathering’.

‘Magic’ or ‘MTG’ as the game can also be referred to, is a fantasy-based card trading game where players compete with each other using a 60-card deck they have developed over time.

Leigh says the game is ‘very, very big’ with serious competitions taking place all the time all over the world.

“We have Thursday evening ‘Magic’ sessions already and we are hoping to run them on Friday and Sunday evenings as well,” says Leigh.

“The company that makes the game has big tournaments all the time which can get very competitive.

“But James and I have always preferred the more social side of games and gaming and we think there are lots of other people who are looking for that as well.”