Before I went to live in Yokohama, way back in 2002ish, I remember Forbidden Planet's RPG section as being pretty extensive. It had, in large quantities, GURPS, old WoD, Call of Cthulu, MERP, D&D, RuneQuest, Shadowrun, Rifts, and so on, as well as more obscure stuff like Continuum. (Some of the books they had may have been out of print by that stage.) The shelf space was probably about 3 yards wide and a yard and a half high with two or three racks.
Now, there is only about a yard of shelf space on one rack. It contains, to my recollection (I may have missed something):
- Pathfinder stuff (Christ, that rulebook is thick: do people actually read that?)
- D&D 4e stuff, including the Red Box rip-off/revamp which I forget the name of
- Mongoose Traveller (one copy of the core rules, nothing else)
- the AD&D 1st edition core rulebook reprints for the Gygax memorial fund
- Mouse Guard
Second, almost everything is either D&D or a D&D spin-off. The great alternatives of old - Rolemaster, RuneQuest, etc. - might as well not exist, for all you'd guess. This is doubly true of the other heavyweights like Call of Cthulu, GURPS, Shadowrun, and the like. When people say that it wouldn't matter if D&D went away, I have my doubts. Other games may fill the void, but it seems just as likely that the hobby would simply die as a going concern.
Third, Mouse Guard?
And finally: if you assume that shelf space maps perfectly to the number of players (which it probably doesn't) you would have to conclude that the number of RPG players in Merseyside has declined in the last decade or so by what, 90% or something?