My love for 80's & 90's Nintendo is up there with my love for pre Tommy-'boat-loving'-Lee-dating Pamela Anderson, in the list of things from my childhood that will never die. Though it was only a couple of years ago that I thought it might be fun to try and reclaim some of my favourite games & hardware from my youth for a nostalgia fix.
As with most retro shopping, it all started on eBay, finding myself a NES Zapper light gun for a few quid which, without the NES console was not the most practical purchase, but it was worth the money just to hear the distinctive and highly primitive sound of the trigger once again. Why? because the age old saying of 'it's the little things that count' plays a huge part in retro gaming, the little things can evoke the biggest memories.
Those with the tech savvy know how might use Emulators to some extent but then you're missing out on half the experience, the small important things such as the original controller and the feel of its buttons or the almost ritual cartridge blowing before slotting it in, then paired with a coin collect sound or the boss at the end of a certain level you remember defeating! it can take you back to when you got so happy with yourself you ended up doing the Carlton dance in your Batman PJ's only to have your jealous friend hit the reset button (ps, 20 years later and it's still not funny Warren...) it's all priceless.
However it turns out that retro gaming does have a price, and though there is the odd bargain around prices are constantly rising as the games become harder to get hold of. A few years ago you couldn't get a £5 trade in for an old console, but now, in the right place you could get double what you originally paid for if it's in great condition. So with the rise of all things 90's, now would be the ideal time to get your pixel passion fired up again wile the affordability window is still ajar.
One thing to remember though is that the best nostalgia moments are when you stumble across the things you forgot about, sadly Google is yet to invent the 'search my deep sub conscience' feature so there is no faster way to come across things than to just start browsing and searching. Watching retro game youtube collection roundups do help, but we found London has an alternative that goes that one step further than just seeing the game on a screen.
Retro Game Base in Streatham is a store that lives up to its name and specialises in all the things my inner child (and likely your's too is you were born in the first part of the 80's) loves. In the store you can scan shelf upon shelf of games and more to find all the goodies you forgot about and even see the games in action as the staff (when not serving you) will be hammering away on the controllers in true retro shoot 'em up style. Retro Game Base is also the ideal place to buy the important little things eBay sellers sometimes forget to include on their items (like the battery cover for a Gameboy I purchased) and if that has not convinced you to pop down, just know that they have retro arcade machines too, which you can buy or play (while trying to convince your girlfriend it would fit nicely in the corner of your front room instead of the cats bed).
And just when you thought things couldn't get any better in terms of old school gaming in London, Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes have launched an 80's and 90's Throwback Club Night (which we hope will be on going) in partnership with Retro Game Base. On the 31st of August you can head down, drink, bowl, dance to old school tunes but most of all, play SNES, Megadrive, Dreamcast, Saturn, PS1, N64 and more till 3am! I think it's safe to say you will see me there fairly tipsy challenging everyone on the original Mario Kart or attempting to pull of ridiculous Killer Instinct combos, I might even be in my Batman Pjs.