Game On announced July 3 that the video game store in Nugget Mall was closing. The closure was caused by both financial and family challenges, according co-owner Casey Harris. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

Game On announced July 3 that the video game store in Nugget Mall was closing. The closure was caused by both financial and family challenges, according co-owner Casey Harris. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

LGBTQ-friendly video game store closes

Fundraising pledges won’t be collected.

It’s game over for Game On.

The Nugget Mall video game store and video game playing venue officially announced July 3 on social media that it has closed.

Previously, a Kickstarter campaign was launched to save the store, which was owned by two gender nonbinary people — people who do not identify as strictly male or female — and often hosted LGBTQ+ friendly events. One hundred and forty-eight backers pledged $11,597 of a $20,000 goal for the project, according to the campaign page. If a Kickstarter project fails to reach its goal, no money is collected from backers, according to Kickstarter.

[Video game store raising money to stay in business]

“So the money that was pledged was never collected, and it will remain that way,” wrote Casey Harris, Game On co-owner, in a message to the Empire. “We’re grateful to everyone who tried to help us, and we wouldn’t want to do any of them any injustice.”

The store moved to Nugget Mall in August 2018. It had previously been located on Glacier Highway and opened in November 2016, Harris stated. It’s last business day was June 30.

Harris wrote that while only about half of the fundraising goal was reached, the amount raised was close to what would have been needed to keep the store open. Harris’ outlook was rosier than the raw numbers would suggest.

Casey Harris talks gamers through a video game at Game On in February 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire File)

Casey Harris talks gamers through a video game at Game On in February 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire File)

“We didn’t get quite enough support to make our Kickstarter, but a common response to that, especially when you get close like we did, is to shift to another platform, which isn’t all-or-nothing funding — you get whatever people give,” Harris wrote. “With transferring all of that over, I think we actually would have recovered just fine. The mall was being very patient with the problems we’ve had.”

[Trans gaming night attendance exceeds expectations]

However, a family crisis meant pulling the plug on Game On and a move from Juneau, according to Harris.

They said they were not sure if they would be coming back to the capital city.

“I hope so,” Harris wrote. “I wasn’t born there, but I’ve always been an Alaskan, and I’ll carry Juneau with me until I can come home.”

Harris said that while there were occasionally people who took offense to the store’s outspoken inclusivity, people in Juneau were generally accepting and supportive.

“Juneau is and was good,” Harris wrote. “People should not be afraid to do something like what we did, and there are plenty who genuinely need it, so they absolutely should.”


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


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