Side Quest Games celebrates grand opening

By Alejandro Barlow, Oct. 31, 2023

Side Quest Games and Accessories opened its doors to the D&D community and CPP students with a grand opening Oct. 28.

Side Quest Games and accessories is a Dungeons & Dragons and tabletop game store located in the plaza on Temple Avenue.

Ivy and Drew Denis along with their best friend Jacqui Foote came across D&D eight years ago through the show, Harmon Quest. The show featured a small group and celebrity guests and a game of D&D.

Through financial struggles and unsatisfaction in work, the trio started selling products out of a kiosk in the Frank and Son Collectibles show in the City of Industry in 2020. The co-owners of Side Quest Games started selling D&D items because of a market gap of not enough books or figures for the increasing fanbase.

“There were no books, there were no extra minis, there was no hobbyist equipment,” Drew Denis said.  “If it was, it was muddled or dirty, and it was hard to find the joy in gaming when they didn’t feel like joy”.

Side Quest Games products.| Alejandro Barlow 

In D&D the overall goal is to roleplay and have fun while doing so. The details of the games are up to the party of players. Each game of D&D transports the players to a magical and mythical world with unique and interesting characters.

Alexander Cardozo, a mechanical engineering student and the treasurer of the Gamer’s Union, Cardozo gathers weekly with club members to play D&D and other role-playing games. Cardozo plays with people he met during his freshman year and still plays to this day.

“The dungeon master creates his own campaign and adventures. The players create their own characters, and they decide their path on how they’re going to get through it,” Cardozo said. “It’s a term that I kind of like, collaborative storytelling or perhaps collaborative story writing.”

This collaborative storytelling is one of the reasons people play the game regularly and contributes to the longevity of the game. In 1974, Tactical Studies Rules first published D&D rules, which were intended to be a war game with a smaller group of warriors. TSR changed its original intentions while playing and had a unique and joyful experience, they shared their adventure game and named it Dungeons & Dragons.

“I’ve never seen a group of strangers start laughing, like belly laughing together, faster than I’ve seen them do it sitting down for even a 15-minute session in that room,” Drew Denis said. “And I love to see that.”

Side Quest Games and Accessories was initially unaware of its proximity to Cal Poly Pomona’s campus and was surprised to have CPP students playing games in their shop almost daily. The shop has a whimsical atmosphere to their store and assists customers in creating unique characters for their D&D campaigns.

D&D is a game designed to have players disconnect from the real world and be in a room with 3-8 other people rolling dice. For this reason, the D&D community is accepting of all and create safe spaces for people to express themselves.

“You could also use it to release and let go of trauma and work through interpersonal problems and find yourself in there as well,” Drew Denis said. “You tend to put yourself in games in any game.”

Drew Denis explained D&D is a game where people develop character in game and out of game.

People have the freedom to act in-character and explore things they would normally shy away from. Foote recalled times in playing games where the character was feeling emotions that allowed her to express what she was feeling around the same time.

“Therapy is expensive, and dice are cheaper,” Foote said.

Feature image courtesy of Alejandro Barlow

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