Much like music, movies, comics, and other collectibles, video games tend to serve as a vehicle for shameless nostalgia and good memories.
Over the holidays I ran into someone I hadn’t seen since elementary school, and among the standard “When did you get home?” and other small talk, what I remembered most about him was the time we made it to the last level in Battletoads for Sega (this is impressive), after eating an entire jumbo pizza and garlic fingers, not to mention the 2 litre of Pepsi we split between two of us. Basically, the glory days.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and some people in the city have made a business out of dealing in this nostalgic 16-bit cartridge aesthetic that some would deem obsolete or outdated. Games XChange on 342 Freshwater Road (next door to Manna Bakery) is a like a little portal to the entirety of the 1990s and early 2000s.
Besides the plethora of old DVDs that are being liquidated, you’ll find everything from old Super Nintendo rarities, forgotten gems on niche consoles like the Sega Dreamcast, and also used titles for modern consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One.
Some people opt for buying games online, but much like a record store, there’s something special about walking into a store, seeing the tangible product on the shelf, chatting with the staff, and ultimately supporting a local business.
“People love shopping for older games in a store because they get to see the condition of it and have it in hand without waiting a long time, or dealing with shipping and import fees,” says manager Ken Calcutt. “We have a warranty, so customers know they have some security when they’re buying a game that might be older than them.”
What differentiates Games XChange from the franchise stores is they’re selling ancient relics from the childhood of your average 90’s kid. I think nostalgia is something that definitely sells in St. John’s, and isn’t confined to romanticizing about good times we’ve had at bars, parties, and coffee shops. Sitting around at home with a few friends has definitely been a bit of fun too, and some of these old games were part of that a lot of the time.
“Customers always say that looking at the older titles is a trip down memory lane” Ken says “In a small town that sees hardships from time to time, people love playing games they grew up on and reliving great memories. It’s also great for younger generations to experience games they’ve missed out on.”
In an age where we’re constantly connected, it’s odd to think that even the games we play involve our phone or tablets, and usually include some type of online feature. I’ve personally been finding that it feels a little refreshing to plug in a machine that doesn’t have a Facebook app installed on it. If we’re going big or going home, I do think picking up a book more often would come highly recommended as well, but hey, baby steps.
Article by Adam Harding