Walk into a game store in the US and you'll be lucky to find PC games at all. If you do find a PC section, be ready for some disappointing DVD cases with nothing inside but a slip of paper with a Steam key printed on it. Digital games sure cut down on clutter, but a recent visit to a few PC game stores in Taiwan reminded me how nice and colorful a cluttered shelf of big box PC games can be.
Taiwan is like an alternate universe for PC games, one centered around Guang Hua Digital Plaza, a mall in Taipei filled with tiny electronics stores and component shops and game stores. My favorite ones focus exclusively on PC games, and I love how you can find classics (still shrinkwrapped!) right next to the biggest games of the last couple years.
The really fun part of exploring these stores is seeing the cover art used in Asia vs. the West. Sometimes it's the same, but with Chinese lettering instead of English. For some of these games, it's art I've never seen before.
Even in Taiwan, the majority of new PC games now come in standard DVD cases. For physical collectors, that's a lot better than nothing, but it's still a disappointment compared to the luxurious cardboard big boxes of the '90s. But as you'll see in this gallery, the big box dream is still alive: plenty of games still come in nice, chunky cases, and the retro selection is healthy. Browse and enjoy.
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Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.
When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).