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Kay-Bee Memories


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Thinking back to good times at Kay-Bee Toy Stores in the mall. My first Atari came from Sears, but almost every game I ever bought for Atari, Nintendo, all the way up through Dreamcast, most often came from Kay-Bee in our local mall. It's always fun to share these memories this time of year. Hope you guys have some fond Kay-Bee memories too!













Kay-Bee Toy Stores Commercial for Atari Games and Systems (1986)

























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Here's mine:

In high school, I applied for a summer job at Kay Bee.  I ended up making the last cut, but they ended up hiring a really pretty girl from my school instead.  DANG IT!  I can't blame them. 

I also remember that Kay Bee was THE place to get the bargain bin games after the crash in 1983.  ET, Krull, and a bunch of other games I got from there were only $2. 

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Bought my last 3 new Atari 2600 titles on clearence from Kay-Bee toys back-in-the-day. I recall:

Activision Space Shuttle $4.99

Atari Canyon Bomber (black & white box) $4.99

Data Age Journey Escape $4.99


Of course I threw out the boxes but still have the carts and manuals today.

Brian Matherne - owner/curator of "The MOST comprehensive list of Atari VCS/2600 homebrews ever compiled." http://tiny.cc/Atari2600Homebrew

author of "The Atari 2600 Homebrew Companion" book series available on Amazon! www.amazon.com/author/brianmatherne

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I bought more Star Wars figures in the 90s from Kay Bee than I did video games.

When I think of Kay Bee, I get a pit in my stomach. I vividly remember walking to my local shopping plaza, sometime in the fall of 1989. I bought a couple of tapes at Bradlees & remember walking around Kay Bee. I was 16 at the time & while I was a huge NES player, I wasn't really into toys that much.

I can only imagine how many great 2600 games I walked past. How many vintage Star Wars figures/playsets, etc. that I didn't even give a second thought. Ugh...

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My buddy, Ferg, from The Atari 2600 Game By Game Podcast (nice name!) used to work at K-B and shared his memories of it on this Retro Junkies Mini: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/what-was-it-like-working-at/id897466947?i=317101267&mt=2

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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From 1988-1990 I worked at Old Country Buffet (RIP) in a mall across the street from another bigger mall that had a KB. One day before my shift I went over there & bought 7800 Galaga & Pete Rose Baseball.


& yrs before, they were blowing out Star Wars figure 3-paks for like 2 for a dollar. I dumped a bunch on the counter & the cashier guy exclaimed "whhhoooaaa Star Wars city!" & I was like, just ring em up buddy.


& when they reduced the Imperial Shuttle Tydirium from $40 to $16, & I naturally bought it. As my parents & I always separated on mall trips (likely not done these days), I had to walk around & find them, hoping not to meet anyone I knew as I carried this huge boxed Star Wars toy under my arm.

7800- 800XL- ColecoVision & mods.1&2- Flashback2- GBA SP- launch PS2- slim PS2- Wii- DSLite x2- DSi- slim PS3- Xevious

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The only KayBee Toys was, then, a two-hour plus drive away from my hometown.  Mom and I would pay a visit to Springfield, Missouri and the Battlefield Mall where K*B had a store.  The only game I know for sure I got from there was Rock N Ball on clearance...but I don't remember how much it was.  After that we would visit Smitty's and Ventures...two stores that I don't believe are around any more sadly.  Man things were sooo much better than back then including the stores.  They each had their own characteristics that is missing from today's retail stores.  K*B was a special treat just like Jeff Spega (Tron and Robotron) visiting the Acme when he was younger.  

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Where I lived, in Minnesota, there was a KayBee at Maplewood Mall. It was in a large suburb (also called Maplewood) in Saint Paul. I went there a few times and looked around. They used to have a great selection of games. I think I got my first Atari 7800 system from that KayBee, but I don't remember. That was Christmas Day 1987, about twenty-nine years ago, and it still is in perfect working order. You never can beat the quality of the legacy Atari game systems. They can outlast the Energizer Bunny. :)

Edited by DegasElite
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Kay-Bee was a frequent stop for me for veeja game shopping. It was there where I first learned that there was a Jr. Pac-Man for the 2600. I practically pleaded for that for Christmas in 1987 (and got it -- and to this day it's one of my favorites!).


I think the last time I was at a Kay-Bee they were having a sale on 2600 games. I was eyeing E.T. (I hadn't heard the rumors that it was bad), but then I saw this game called Tax Avoiders. I picked it up and read the notes on the back and thought, "This sounds just bizarre enough that I'll regret it if I don't get it!" So, yeah...went home with Tax Avoiders! No regrets. :) (And to this day I still don't own a CIB E.T.) I had enough money left over to get another, lesser game, but I opted not to. (I was 12, maybe 13 years old at the time...not like I had a steady income!)

Supernatural, perhaps...baloney, perhaps not.

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I really do miss Kay Bee, and it kind of saddens me that my kids will never experience it (along with Babbages, it was the only reason that I ever really enjoyed anything associated with entering a mall). You never really knew what you were going to get when you walked in there. It was one of the few places I can remember going to get 2600 games when I was a kid (along with Roses and K-Mart, I believe), and later I would hit it up regularly for Jaguar stuff. Good times...long gone.

Edited by Karyyk
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