Game Changer In Chadron Is Exactly That


By Kerri Rempp – Discover Northwest Nebraska

The last thing one might expect when entering Game Changer is an extensive comic book collection that features 40,000 titles, including four variants with covers produced exclusively for the mom-and-pop shop with artwork by some of the biggest names in the industry.

But that is exactly what you’ll find at this unique Northwest Nebraska business.

Adam Stone opened Game Changer on Main Street in Chadron in 2014, focusing primarily on video games, gaming consoles, movies and music after learning the business hands-on at a shop in Lincoln.

Stone, who spent much of his childhood in Chadron, eventually returned to the area to attend Chadron State College, where he ran the planetarium. In 2008, he set out for Lincoln and became the first employee at a video game store there. Six years later, the million-dollar business boasted 45 employees, two stores and a warehouse of inventory.

“I learned the ins and outs of everything,” Stone said.

After a divorce, he started looking for a fresh start and wanted to return to the mom-and-pop style of business.

“I really wanted to take a step back, slow down and do it on a smaller scale,” he said. He purchased the building in Chadron’s downtown historic district, secured a loan through Northwest Nebraska Development Corporation and opened his doors Feb. 17, 2014.

“It was a big feat,” he said, adding that he originally lived in the building as well, just to save money. He stocked the store mostly from his own personal collection of games and equipment, starting small with an eye to the future.

“I put everything I owned in the store. I had to learn to let go.”

Game Changer – with its mission to buy, sell and trade video games, movies and music – entered the market at an interesting time. According to Stone, right before he opened, he read that 90% of businesses like his had gone under. While that was daunting, he chose to view it as an opportunity; it left little competition, after all.

An expert on video game consoles, Stone also bought and sold gaming systems from the beginning, going so far as to purchase broken ones he could repair and sell. Knowing he would need to stay nimble to keep his business successful he was always on the lookout for his next idea.

“Anytime I see an opening I go for it,” Stone said.

For a time, he owned and operated retro arcade games in roughly 15 businesses in Chadron, but the comic books have taken on a life of their own.

“The customers brought the comics to the store,” he said.

What started as a small collection of comic in a box has grown to take over much of the store’s footprint. Stone noticed a growing interest in industry and began acquiring additional titles, selling them in his store and on E-bay.

“It was fascinating to me,” said Chadron resident Karen Pope after visiting the store for the first time recently to sell her sons’ old gaming consoles.

One of Stone’s friends in Denver, who also owns a comic book store, purchases titles from Game Changer for re-sale and introduced Stone to comic artist Neal Adams. Stone worked with Adams, who is known for his work on DC Comics and as an artist-advocate, at the Denver Pop Culture Con in 2018 and 2019, and that relationship put him on the path to becoming a comic producer.

Megan Sokolowski and Adam Stone

With the publication of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 100,” Stone pitched an idea for the cover art to Adams, who worked with Stone to create an exclusive variant of the comic book cover.

Stone funded the publication of 800 copies of the comic book with the Game Changer cover paying homage to the first Ninja Turtle game by Nintendo. Adams and Stone each took half of the production run, and Adams signed 300 of Stone’s copies.

Dan Connor, the coloring artist on Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas,” agreed to design the back cover of the book.

To date, he’s now produced Game Changer variants for the covers of four comic books, including “The Bunny Mask,” with artwork by Andrea Mutti, whose work appears in the Marvel comics.

Stone has given local artists the opportunity to create the back covers on his subsequent works. “It was a very big learning process,” Stone said.

He doesn’t know where the market will take him next but said he’ll continue to pay attention to its demands.

“There’s a big resurgence on retro, like vinyl records and comics, but I’ll adapt to what the customers want.”

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