Featured Official Tournament Store (OTS)
Alternate Universes – Blue Bell
Penn Square Shopping Center
The summer is winding down and while the 2018 World Championship feels like it just ended, Regional Qualifiers for the 2018-2019 Dueling Season have already started back up! A lot of our Featured Official Tournament Stores (OTS) have hosted Regional Qualifiers in the past, and our Featured OTS for September 2018 has been running Regional Qualifiers since 2009 – Alternate Universes located in East Norriton, Pennsylvania! However, it is more commonly known as the Blue Bell Store, referring to the town where the store was originally located.
Alternate Universes has three locations. The first one was opened by owner Michael Coyle in 2003. While the store struggled in the first year, as with any new business, things did eventually improve and in time, they were able to purchase an existing game store that became their Blue Bell location. That location came with a healthy Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME (TCG) following.
Coyle opened the store in part to give his sons a place to enjoy the trading card games they regularly played, and in doing so, he also provided a venue for other parents and children to discover the joys of gaming. "Sometimes we've seen parents get into the game and stay in the game even after their children grow out of it!" Beginners in the game can get the help they need to improve at Alternate Universes. Coyle says, "our community is very varied. We have a mix of casual and competitive players." Among the regulars at Alternate Universes are several Regional Qualifier and Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series (YCS) topping and winning players! The store runs events where both new, casual, and competitive players Duel and "it's good to see our younger players start winning matches. People will cheer for them if they beat the competitive players," said Coyle!
"Take advantage of every program that Konami offers. Don't pick and choose. Run them all. Whatever comes down the pike. You won't know what works until you actually try."
- Michael Coyle, owner
To help grow the community, Alternate Universes reach out to prospective players through a variety of ways. In addition to going to local schools to give students the opportunity to learn the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, they also run game demonstrations at the American Library Association's Game Day at their local library. By taking advantage of the various outlets available to them, they are able to increase their visibility in the community and thereby bring new faces to their store.
Alternate Universes has been an Official Tournament Store since 2009. When asked about what advice they have for newer OTS', Coyle says "cultivating judges is important, and take advantage of every program that Konami offers. Don't pick and choose. Run them all. Whatever comes down the pike. You won't know what works until you actually try. OTS Championships [which award invites to the World Championship Qualifier] always turn out great. We hosted the first Ultimate Duelist Series Invitational in 2015 and the program has really taken off. OTS packs are the greatest things ever, players love them. Run every event that you can and don't give up if it doesn't work the first time."
Congratulations to our Featured Official Tournament Store for September 2018, Alternate Universes-Blue Bell!