If you’re a media junkie - particularly when it comes to games, movies and music - then get ready to step into Nirvana. San Antonio has one of the most amazing pop culture stores in the country: Propaganda Palace. And it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It’s truly a collector’s dream!
While they have a store on McCullough, just north of downtown at 2100 McCullough, we recommend you head to the storefront in the Southtown arts district at 919 S. Alamo, which is just a hop, skip and jump from the bustling downtown area. In fact, if you’re adventurous, you can get to Southtown via the River Walk.
When you first walk in, be prepared for sensory overload. Propaganda Palace carries every form of music, movie, video game and console that’s ever been made. No matter if you’re into old 8-track tapes, CDs, vinyl, beta cassettes, VHS cassettes, LaserDiscs, Selectavision, CD Video, DVDs, Blu-ray or even spools and reels of old films, you’ll find it all here.
The many media offerings at Propaganda Palace — Photo courtesy of Propaganda Palace
Some visitors say it’s like "nostalgia's dripping all over you." To be sure, vinyl lovers will go mad for the eclectic mix of music. They have everything from local San Antonio sounds to metal, classic, jazz, etc.
Propaganda Palace can also repair any kind of electronic you may have, and they sell individual parts, as well. Good to know, in case your dog just nibbled your power cord.
Because the inventory comes primarily from sellers of used goods, every time you visit, you’ll find something new, something weird that you've never seen before. Are you looking for comic books, lava lamps, collectible toys - even offbeat items such as Furbies and Cabbage Patch Dolls? Good news, because you’re likely going to find them.
“Some of the odd stuff, most people don't even remember,” says owner A.J. Martinez, who’s been collecting for most of his life. In fact, his father was a salesman for Atari and bought A.J. his first Atari 2600 when he was just five years old.
“I was the first kid in San Antonio that had one, thanks to my dad," says A.J. "I felt just like the kid in the movie A Christmas Story who got his BB gun. Every kid wanted to be my best friend.”
What started out as a hobby, a true love for all things video games, evolved into a collection that was awe-inspiring. When the market crashed in 2008 and A.J. lost his job as a medical equipment salesman, it was his wife that suggested he start selling off his vast collection.
He started out with small sales on eBay and Amazon, but eventually A.J. was selling out at flea markets every week. He quickly earned the moniker 'The Video Game Guy,' and he became a legend of sorts among other collectors.
A.J. started trading, buying and selling. Eventually, he realized he had something special, something people wanted, items they couldn’t find anywhere else. So he opened his first official storefront in May 2012 and then the Alamo Street store in June 2013, which has quickly become a Southtown staple.
“People are constantly surprised by what they find here,” says A.J.
Check out Propaganda Palace while you’re in San Antonio and see if you, too, can find that one special item you’ve been looking for!