Big box PC games are alive and well in Taiwan

Image 3 of 28

I asked the owner of this store about her bestselling games. She pointed to this shelf.

I asked the owner of this store about her bestselling games. She pointed to this shelf.

 Click for full-size image.

Image 4 of 28

Both inXile's Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera got physical releases. Cool!

Both inXile's Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera got physical releases. Cool!

 Click for full-size image.

Image 5 of 28

Ahh, Agents of Mayhem. You were... not very good.

Ahh, Agents of Mayhem. You were... not very good.

 Click for full-size image.

Image 6 of 28

I love this collection of PC sims from the early 2000s. How long have they been on this shelf?

I love this collection of PC sims from the early 2000s. How long have they been on this shelf?

 Click for full-size image.

Image 7 of 28

Excellent box art.

Excellent box art.

 Click for full-size image.

Image 8 of 28

It's refreshing to see brand new PC games on a shelf.

It's refreshing to see brand new PC games on a shelf.

 Click for full-size image. 

Image 9 of 28

There were a few giant collector's editions like this one in the store, too.

There were a few giant collector's editions like this one in the store, too.

 Click for full-size image. 

Image 10 of 28

Crayon Shin-chan games probably never make it to the US, but they make it to Taiwan.

Crayon Shin-chan games probably never make it to the US, but they make it to Taiwan.

 Click for full-size image. 

Image 11 of 28

Hey there Tripwire!

Hey there Tripwire!

 Click for full-size image. 

Image 12 of 28

This was in a section of ero games, but after looking it up on Steam, I've discovered it's about the Indonesian riots of 1998. Huh.

This was in a section of ero games, but after looking it up on Steam, I've discovered it's about the Indonesian riots of 1998. Huh.

 Click for full-size image. 

Image 13 of 28

I don't know.

I don't know.

 Click for full-size image.

Image 14 of 28

I'm afraid that copy of Battleborn may be stuck for the long haul.

I'm afraid that copy of Battleborn may be stuck for the long haul.

 Click for full-size image.

Image 15 of 28

Nihon Falcom's JRPGs seem especially popular here. They have a big section!

Nihon Falcom's JRPGs seem especially popular here. They have a big section!

 Click for full-size image. 

Image 16 of 28

More Falcom. I bought this big box!

More Falcom. I bought this big box!

 Click for full-size image. 

Image 17 of 28

Is this a Falcom crossover?

Is this a Falcom crossover?

 Click for full-size image. 

Image 18 of 28

Stacks of the bestsellers.

Stacks of the bestsellers.

 Click for full-size image. 

Image 19 of 28

There's no DVD in this Blood & Wine box, but we'll try not to hold that against Geralt.

There's no DVD in this Blood & Wine box, but we'll try not to hold that against Geralt.

Click for full-size image.

Image 20 of 28

I really dig the Chinese lettering with the Civ IV logo here.

I really dig the Chinese lettering with the Civ IV logo here.

 Click for full-size image. 

Image 21 of 28

Western shooters aren't too popular in Japan, but they seem to be big here.

Western shooters aren't too popular in Japan, but they seem to be big here.

 Click for full-size image.

Image 22 of 28

How many games can you identify?

How many games can you identify?

 Click for full-size image.

Image 23 of 28

I love the variety on display here.

I love the variety on display here.

 Click for full-size image. 

Image 24 of 28

It's heartwarming to see C&C on a store shelf, even if I never got into RA3.

It's heartwarming to see C&C on a store shelf, even if I never got into RA3.

 Click for full-size image. 

Image 25 of 28

Koei Tecmo games seem quite popular here, too.

Koei Tecmo games seem quite popular here, too.

 Click for full-size image. 

Image 26 of 28

Some nice anime covers.

Some nice anime covers.

 Click for full-size image. 

Image 27 of 28

Love the artwork on this Mass Effect Andromeda box. I wonder if it helped sales.

Love the artwork on this Mass Effect Andromeda box. I wonder if it helped sales.

 Click for full-size image. 

Image 28 of 28

So many games for such a small space.

So many games for such a small space.

Click here for full-size image.

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.