401 Games didn’t always sell trading cards. In fact, it wasn’t always called 401 Games. It started out as a convenience store at 401 Yonge Street in Toronto in the 1980s, and was named “401 Convenience.” But in the 1990s, “401 Convenience” went through a complete transformation. The demand for trading cards and other hobby items drove most of the business’ sales, and gaming and collectibles had become the store’s main focus. John Park – the owner of “401 Convenience” – changed the name of the store to 401 Games and the rest is history! 401 Games is now a dedicated gaming store with a large following for the Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME (TCG)! That’s why we are proud to announce that 401 Games is this quarter’s Featured Official Tournament Store!
John Park had always been a fan of sports cards and hobby items. As a convenience store owner, he carried a wide variety of items, and always bought packs of cards from his distributor for any new game that was released. The Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG was particularly lucrative for the business and has remained a mainstay of his store.
Jeff MacDougall, the store manager since 1994, described the transformation into 401 Games as a sudden one. “At some point, we just weren’t a convenience store anymore,” he said. “The hobby side of the store was vastly outperforming everything else.” He continued, “selling boxes of cards just made more sense than selling newspapers.”
401 Games has grown since its inception, and its downtown location is now able to seat approximately 60 Duelists at a time. “Yu-Gi-Oh! has been huge for us since it came out,” Jeff said. “You wouldn’t have 401 Games without Yu-Gi-Oh! It’s a big part of the puzzle.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, John and Jeff didn’t know what to expect. By shipping products to customers and hosting Remote Duel events, 401 Games continued to engage customers and allow them to use their newly-acquired cards without waiting for in-person tournaments to resume. In the end, 401 Games experienced growth during the COVID-19 pandemic and now has approximately twice as many Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Duelists as it had prior to the pandemic, with lots of new faces added to the scene.
“We carry the best products available and give people a clean place to hang out that runs quality events.”
– Jeff MacDougall,, store manager
Since resuming events after pandemic closures, 401 Games has hosted tournaments for the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Advanced Format and Time Wizard formats, as well as Speed Duels. “We get new players into the store by creating the best place we can,” Jeff explained. “We carry the best products available and give people a clean place to hang out that runs quality events.”
Jeff also takes a lot of pride in the expertise and enthusiasm of his staff. “We always try to have staff members who are very into the game they’re playing and infectiously enthusiastic about it,” he said. “Our staff members hang out with friends and play Yu-Gi-Oh! or talk about Yu-Gi-Oh! in their spare time. These are the people you want helping in your store and building the community.” Jeff manages 401 Games with the goal of making it a store that he would want to play in. He allows that goal to guide his decisions and attributes a lot of the store’s success to this strategy. When asked what advice he would give to other aspiring Official Tournament Store owners or managers, Jeff said this: “Don’t look at events as a way to generate revenue. We always used events as a way to bring people into the store. If you create a place that people enjoy coming to, it’s good for you and it’s good for the store.”
401 Games was the product of an accidental but auspicious transition into the gaming industry. Now, the store hosts large tournaments for the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG in downtown Toronto and sells cards both in-person and online from its two locations. Please help us in congratulating 401 Games for the honor of being this quarter’s Featured Official Tournament Store!