Not for Resale (2019) Movie Script

[wind blowing]
[gentle music]
- So, I'm walking down
the video game isle
at Toys R Us, there's
the glass next to me
with all their games
behind in and I remember
walking and seeing the
Ghost Busters logo
on the little placard,
stopping, turning
and slamming my finger
on the glass going,
what is that?
My mom was like,
that's a video game.
And I was like, 'what's
a video game?'
- The first time I bought a game
with my own money
it was Donkey Kong
for Atari 2600, and I saved
up pennies... in penny rolls.
Although, I remember
the game was so hard
I was crying because
I had spent my money
on this and the
game was too hard.
- I don't remember the specific
first game that I bought,
but I remember really looking
at digital as a platform
with the Xbox Live Arcade.
- Technology is one aspect
of why it took so long
for digital adoption to
be a thing, but I think
that if you were to
examine other media
that you'd see a similar
story, which is
that digital scares
the old dinosaurs
who are in charge and they
don't know how to do it,
and at first they freak
out over piracy,
but then Napster gets bought
by Best Buy or whatever.
- I opened in November of 2005,
the day after Black
Friday that year.
I actually had the
Clifton police call me
one morning, 5 o'clock
in the morning,
are you the owner of
this store front?
I'm like, yes I am.
I haven't opened yet.
He was like well, it's a good
thing 'cause there's a car
lodged in the front of your
I'm like 'ha ha, who is this?'
I come down here and
there's a giant, gaping hole
in the storefront.
The car was gone,
but it had left
a hole that you could literally
just humpty dum, just
walk straight through,
and that was about three weeks
before I was ready to open.
- I've been here about
nine and a half years.
I got hired as a mechanic
to fix PS2s and PSPs,
at the time they were hot.
We had coffee shops on both ends
and in between,
middle of the block,
there's a motorcycle club.
I don't necessarily wanna
mention the motorcycle club
by name, but they were kinda
messin' with us at first
when we moved in.
I guess tryin' to see
what we were doing,
but now they know we
sell fun, they're one
of our good customers as well.
- Yeah, well when we first
opened it was kinda unique
because there's bars
across the street
and we would be here
til like two, three,
in the morning, just
gettin' the place in order,
workin' in the back fixin' stuff
and people would
roll in super drunk
from all the bars.
- He never wanted to
close the store, ever,
and we have bars
across the street.
You can't physically, mentally
be open 24 hours a day
and be there all the time.
- My wife worked
up an off sheet.
We were sleeping here
actually most nights.
Don't tell the landlord that.
- I'd been a cook my whole life.
The reason I got here
is because my last job,
after 16 years, got new
owners and they fired me,
and to start over in that
industry at my age sounded crudy
so we took a chance
and did this.
I tell people all the
time, if I sold socks
I'd have gone crazy
a long time ago,
so if you're gonna do
somethin' that's gonna take
all your time, you might
as well do somethin'
enjoyable and it helps that
it's a fun industry to be in.
- The name, Thrillhouse
Games, comes from The Simpsons
episode, the one where
everyone wants this game,
Bonestorm and Milhouse
is like, oh man!
It's so awesome and I've
only entered my name:
- Thrillhouse.
- When somebody calls
and is like, hey,
do you have an XBox One?
Yeah, I've got a 24k
gold plated one
and it's like $700.
They're like, you're
outta your damn mind.
- When is was 15 or 16,
everyone was going
to career days and everyone
knew what they wanted
to do exactly and I was
like, I'm gonna move
to California and start
a video game store.
- Pink Gorilla is one of
Seattle's oldest retro game
It's 13 years old.
I've been here for
about seven years now
at this point, and owned it
for about two and a half.
It's been really rewarding.
I didn't think I wanted
to be a business owner,
but I love it.
I don't think I
could go back now.
- Attention gamers.
Rent, buy, sell and
trade at Game Zone.
Trade in or sell your old
games and systems for cash.
Game Zone is your headquarters
for PlayStation 2
XBox, Nintendo, GameCube,
GameBoy SP and more.
Check out our selection
of popular titles
as well as hard to find games.
Don't throw away your
old game system.
Game Zone can fix it.
We're the area's only shop
to specialize and repair
a PlayStation 2 and
we could restore
your scratched
game CDs and DVDs.
Be sure to visit
our new location
at 270 Essex Street in
Salem, Massachusetts.
Game Zone, we've GOT game!
- $25,000 for 30
days to advertise.
You know how many games
I can buy for $25,000?
Do people watch TV anymore?
I opened this store
just 25 years ago
because I had so many people
knocking at my mail order
I had a mail order business
called Master the Game
in the back of...
EGM and Game Pro.
This was like in 1989.
I had my address up here,
which is required.
I started to get people
knocking at my warehouse
saying, we saw your ad,
we drove up from Beverly,
we drove up from Salem,
we wanna buy these games
that aren't at Child's World
or Toys R Us.
These people, they
were in my warehouse
and they're climbin'
ladders to get stuff
and I'm sayin', I'm gonna
have a lawsuit on me.
Most of the customers were
coming from this area...
So, I figured I'd bring
the games to them.
Game Zone is right in the
heart of downtown Salem,
right in the middle of all
the tourist attractions
and we get quite a bit
of people enjoying Salem
for their holiday, their
vacation, and they pop in
and just admire our... museum.
Salem does a great job
of doin' festivals
and poet readings and
restaurant weeks
and parades and marketing
that get people
into Salem on a regular basis.
When I first opened up
it was just Halloween.
Now, it's pretty
much year round.
It's pretty cool to have
seen it over that 26 years
blossom to a full year
round attraction.
- This building has,
including me,
there's three retail locations.
There's a hairdresser
and a tailor
and upstairs there's
a internet company.
So I've been a tenant
here for 14 years now
and before I moved in
it was a jewelry store.
And actually the previous
tenant died here.
So, the jeweler would
hang out back here,
have his lunch.
He had a one-way mirror,
a nice little seat here,
set up a counter and
he could sit back here,
relax, keep an eye on his store.
The UPS driver came in
and found the store empty,
walked back here
and found him dead
while he was having his lunch
right here in this spot,
right where I keep the vacuum.
Now I have a vacuum in
this poor bastard's place.
[gentle music]
When we picked this store,
one of the things we liked
about it is that the
chandaliers is fit in with Salem
and video games and
Resident Evil.
Some of these cases
are left over
from when it was a jewelry store
and then we were able
to buy some of our own.
We lucked out and
got some Nintendo
store fixtures from Lechmere.
Everybody that grew up in
this area remembers Lechmere.
They were a small
region electronic store
here in the New England area.
Best Buy has actually
taken over their spot.
I was lucky enough
to be over there
when they were moving
'em out and I inquired
about what they were
gonna do with them
and they offered 'em to me.
When I opened up, 26 years
ago, my store was called,
Master the Game, because I
had a mail order business
by the same name, so
I stuck with that name
for about seven, nine years.
My wife didn't like
Master the Game name
and we were driving
down Route One,
there was a billboard
and it had like this
neon green hurricane and
it said, "get in the zone"
and she said, you gotta
name the store Game Zone
and that's gonna be your logo.
So, kept the wife happy.
[gentle music]
When my wife passed away
the first week or so
I didn't even come into the
store, it was so brutal,
and I found sympathy and
companionship with Corky.
On the way down we'd talk out
a lotta the issues and problems.
He was like my security blanket.
He just showed up all
the time and wanted
to come to work.
The people like him and
the kids would like him
and he kept the girlfriends busy
while the boyfriends were
browsing for video games.
[gentle music]
- As a predominantly console
gamer Xbox Live Arcade
was really kind of like
the window like oh yeah,
I can download this game.
The seven generation
of consoles was really
the rise of XBox
360 PS3 and Wii.
- Certainly, Steam
existed before that,
but I'd argue that was
more of a niche market
for a while.
The first game I bought
digitally was Snood
back in college.
It was sort of a big
deal to throw in that $2
or $5 or whatever it was and
upgrade from trial to pro
or whatever the terminology was.
- Digital marketplaces
couldn't succeed
before that time period
because the technology
just wasn't there yet.
If you think about
the hard drives
that you used to use,
like pre 2005, I mean,
getting something that
was over 64 gigabytes
was outrageously expensive
and games are large files.
The idea that you could
have a digital marketplace
was just not feasible
because these boxes
didn't have the hard
drive space to store
all this information.
- You could buy video
games on your XBox
over the internet.
That was just a new
concept for a long time.
I think it took a
long time for people
to wrap their heads
around the idea
of paying money to
download a game
in the same way it
was, and I'd argue
until the iPhone,
that people wrapped
their heads around
paying money for a song.
- iTunes and digital games
for Apple didn't really
come about until around
2009, 2010, when the iPad
debuted on the market.
Mobile would never
be where it is today
if you had to go
to a store and buy
a physical copy.
That's why mobile is huge.
- It used to be like a
one gigabyte download
was an incredible,
incredible amount of time
and effort and you could
probably pop down
to the Best Buy and buy the game
before you could finish
downloading it at home.
- Yeah, you just put
your fingerprint down
and you just keep
spending the money.
It's super easy.
Digital stores are all
about convenience
and that is awesome for gamers
who have families,
who have jobs,
who are in school.
Maybe you don't have
time to go down
to the local store
and pick up a game.
But, you're sitting
on the couch,
it's Friday night.
You've got the weekend.
You're like hmmm,
what am I gonna play?
You can just go to the
digital marketplace and browse
and who knows, maybe
you'll discover a game,
a developer or a
publisher that you've
never heard of before and that's
what's awesome about digital.
- So, let me set the
stage a little bit.
It's the mid 1980s, Nintendo
comes outta nowhere,
at least to us Americans.
While they're at the
height of their power,
there is a video game shortage.
There is a chip
shortage in 1988.
There's a great Chicago
Tribune article
that called it the oil
crisis for computers.
I remember Peter Main,
the Senior Vice President
of Sales and Marketing
at Nintendo, he had
this big announcement
where he said
that Nintendo was not
gonna be able to meet
10%, 15% of their
demand that year.
One of the benefits today
of digital distribution
and the way that video
games are made and sold
is that you are not going
to have a situation like
the chip shortage in 1988.
For the first time,
people are making games
for Nintendo systems
out of their homes now.
That is huge.
Minecraft would not
have been possible
in a physical only realm.
What Walmart buyer
would've seen Minecraft
in like 2003 or whatever,
and gone like yeah,
we'll order a million
units of that.
No, absolutely not.
Now that we're able to
communicate directly
with the player, we're
able to experiment
and do much more
interesting things
and things are better
than they've ever been
right now and don't let
anyone say otherwise.
[gentle music]
- I think there's
no way you can say
that games aren't more varied
right now than ever before.
Digital distribution plays into
the fact that we're so varied
and so diverse right now in the
fact that anyone can make
If you have an idea for a video
game, if you have something you
chances are there's
another person out there
who's gonna enjoy it, too.
So, you can sit there and you
can spend six months on it,
you can spend six years on it.
You can make this
game that you think's
gonna be amazing and you can
get it out to the people.
There is no longer a
Nintendo seal of approval
to worry about.
You can make this game and
you can put it out as an app.
You can put it up on Steam.
You can go and put
it on ID and XBox.
You can get this game
out there to people.
PAX originally, right,
was such a community thing
of, cool, we're gonna
go there and we're
gonna play Mario
Kart Double Dash.
We're gonna go there
and we're gonna play
Smash Brothers and now you
go to PAX East right now
you go around this
and what is it?
It's all indie games.
- Horizon Chase Turbo
is a throwback to arcade
racing games from the '90s.
So, it basically it
brings back the feeling
of playing a racing
game with your friends
on the couch.
- Floor Kids is a break
dance battle game
and it also kinda has some
fighting game components
where you got combos and
you gotta learn those combos
and who has strengths.
- Hitch Hiker is a narrative
PC/console game...
It's an inner journey
about relationships,
It's an adventure game, a
narrative driven adventure game.
We're started from a team of
four people...
to around 15 people at the
end of the development.
- There's four co-founders
of the company,
animation, music, programming.
- It's five people, like
one and a half coders,
like two artists, one
author for the story,
he's actually American, and me.
- Oh I mean, the move to
digital has just opened
so many doors.
It's way more good than bad.
When games were
retail only, that was
a significant barrier
of entry for anyone
who actually wanted to
make it sell games.
- A lot of new delves now
go to digital marketplaces
with foregoing the physical
copy 'cause it could mean
it's a lot easier to do.
- Okay, I need to talk
to a manufacturer
about making the discs
and making the cases
and getting the artwork
for the pamphlets.
Then I need to talk to
the platform holders
about distribution.
Like, all of those
steps are something
that's super
daunting to somebody
who just has a really amazing
creative idea for a game.
- You gotta worry about
stealth space, right.
You gotta worry about
what is Walmart
actually gonna stock.
That space is limited and
expensive, so a lotta AndiDevs
don't have the money
they need to be there.
- We also envision a
digital copy, but it's much
more complicated.
They need to be at
least 25 to 30 bucks.
If not, you don't have
a viable business.
- We're really a small
team and we have
a limited amount of
resources, so when we have
those resources we
wanna put 'em all
to the most exciting
new feature or new modes
or DLC, we'll see.
- We could only be
able to develop games
because of the digital
It's way more expensive to
distribute a game physically
and it's way more accessible
for independent developers
like us who are basically
starting to understand
the market and developing
our first game.
So, probably Horizon
Chase would not exist
without digital distribution.
[soft music]
- How long have you been
collecting Sega Saturn?
- A couple years.
- Did you have a Saturn
when the Saturn was popular?
- I did not, but my
cousin did, so I played
a lot of the stuff
that they had,
especially like virtual Saturn.
It's probably one of the
most played ones they had.
- But you started the collecting
more years afterwards?
- A couple years after.
Going through all the
stuff, flea markets, eBay,
everything, to kinda
get the best deals.
- Do you care to share
why you're trading
your collection
in at this point?
- I haven't played
them in a while
and also it's the next
stage in my life.
I'm getting married, gotta
find my own place, so.
- Well, congratulations.
If I haven't congratulated
you before.
When you did your appraisal,
personal appraisal
for the value of the system,
did you come up with a number?
- Between like 11 and a half
and 12 of the whole thing,
but being realistic I
know that you have to make
your own money and
everything, so I was thinking
more like six and
a half to seven,
a little bit around half.
I would throw these two
in 'cause I'm getting rid
of all the now link
stuff whatever
and there's also this
virtual vital remix
which a lot of
people don't know,
was also a long version
and worth somethings.
And I also have the
Knights with 3D controller,
which is also--
- Right, you have the--
- No Knights log there.
- Yeah, that's great.
Okay, well I think
we've got a deal.
We can do it.
Thank you, thanks
for bringing it in.
[guitar music]
How many games do we
have in the store?
Well if you were to walk around
in this upper level here,
you'd probably find somewhere
in the neighborhood,
I'm really just estimating this,
probably about 7,000 games
and I'd say that because
there's everything from Pong
to PlayStation four here and
in a lot of cases we have
duplicates because some
titles are very popular
but if you go into the
storage area downstairs,
you're probably in that
25 to 30,000 games area.
All right, watch your step
and watch the air
conditioning unit.
I moved in here 11 years ago
and I remember in this giant,
empty basement where we have
the same amount of space
down here as we have upstairs,
I was like, what a steal.
I'm getting all of
this extra space
that I'll never even use.
So this was
traded in, we actually had
a customer being us a whole
bunch of sealed games, we've
put it in a protective case
because people that collect
sealed games, they'll look for
things like this T seal.
Don't like, even the plastic
on the sealed game to be
messed with so as soon as
we get something like this,
we put it in a box protector and
usually we put it
on Ebay because
people, like I said, are not
going to walk into the store
and just say here's $1,000.
What's the most expensive
game you have.
That probably is the most
expensive game we have in the
store right now for sale.
[light music]
The world of digital
distribution, it's changed the
world of keeping brand new
video games in the store,
at least in my store.
I don't really have the
same drive or need to keep
those shelves full of
today's brand new releases
or this month's brand
new releases because
most of these kids are getting
their stuff from their couch.
I mean I would say our
store is 80% used games and
10% new games and the
other 10% is merchandise.
That's a big change from
what it was when I opened.
When I opened, I'd say it
was probably 40% new games
and 50 to 60% in used
games and very, very little
merchandise, I wasn't stocking
Plushies and board games
and comic books and
things at that time.
I would say that we get
more traded in than we sell.
I could never possibly
keep up with the inflow
of trade ins.
During the course of a day,
we'll probably buy
anywhere between 500 and
15 hundred dollars worth
of stuff from people.
There are days where it's so
busy, the island where we do
our sales just looks like
Fred Sanford's backyard.
It's just a heap of boxes and
controllers and dirty wires
and things.
The trade ins here are, I
wanna say mostly cash trade ins
and I think it's because,
well, people need cash, right?
If you can find a place like
a pawn shop that's going to
give you cash for your items,
that's always the first place
you wanna go.
They don't get as much in
cash as they would for credit.
I'm sure most of the game
stores you've talked to do the
same thing but if it
brings in more trade ins,
it's good for us.
Ultimately, a business like
this can't survive without
a constant influx of product
and it's gotta be new stuff.
I can't keep the same games
in the display cases for too
long or people that are here
just to shop are gonna get
tired of looking at it.
I like being able to have
a constant influx and then
being able to rotate all of
those items for my customers
who, you know, wanna spend
the cash instead of take it.
Before I opened the store,
lots of people were collecting,
that Atari generation,
Atari and Caleco,
up to the NES.
Those guys,
as they got older, stopped
being interested in it
or stopped collecting,
now this group of people
is interested in NES up to SNES
but this group of people is
not at all interested in that.
I think this stops
and I think it goes
[fart noise]
like that and at some
point, you're not collecting
'cause there's nothing to
collect and the generation
that you played didn't
have physical media.
There's nobody that's
going to be collecting
Xbox One S games.
90% of that is going
to be digital, right?
There's no
collecting, there's
nothing to collect.
It certainly, my game store
gets nothing from that, right?
There's nothing to sell them.
It's done so,
I wouldn't say it's peaked
but I would say that there's
an end to where it can go
and that the base of collectors
that have something to
collect is getting too old
to care and there's less and
less of them of
it to care about.
[light music]
- When I first started buying
digital games, I always
felt like, what am
I actually buying?
It's just rights to
use software, really.
- To me, I don't really
see that many benefits.
The biggest benefit is that
you don't have to get up off
your couch
and that's sort of
where it ends for me.
- I would never buy a movie
on cable on demand but it
always comes up.
I have a daughter so I always
wanna like show her some of
the classic Disney movies
but you can't rent the Disney
movies because they're
always buy, like,
Beauty and the Beast, the
original, buy only for 25 bucks
or whatever it is.
Well, if I buy it, what happens?
Do I just have it
on my cable box?
How long can you
really watch that for?
What do you own?
That's one of the reasons
why I like physical copies
of things because it's like,
okay I know this is my copy.
I can watch it whenever I want,
like, I don't wanna copy it,
I don't wanna like distribute
it, you know, or anything.
I just wanna be
able to watch it.
- It's becoming increasingly
obvious to me that the
definition of ownership
is changing.
Owning something digitally
doesn't feel really like
ownership but it
definitely feels
much more like a timeshare.
- I think when you buy
digital, there's always,
at least for me, a little
bit of hesitation, I'm like,
well, okay, if I buy this now
and I delete it, am I gonna,
am I gonna get it back?
Am I gonna be able to
download it again?
Is that license still
gonna be mine?
- As a fairly young person,
I never was hesitant to put
my credit card information
into a storefront.
You know, I knew what
a secure storefront
was versus unsecure, you
know, I knew not to, like,
reply to emails with my
personal info or whatever.
- When you buy a digital game,
you're just buying a license
to use that digital game.
You are not buying
the game itself.
I was one of the dumb
people who bought,
I think it was Pac-Man,
on the original Xbox.
They shut original Xbox
servers down in like, 2007.
You can't access that content
anymore, you can't even
re-download the $10
copy of Pac-Man
that you bought back then.
I didn't own Pac-Man.
Microsoft gave me permission
to download Pac-Man
and they had the rights to
pull that whenever they wanted.
- I sell gift cards, I don't
know why the hell I do.
There's no money in it.
I literally make a dollar,
two dollars a card.
Some day I'll probably
come to my senses.
These gift cards for the
younger kids is their copy
of the video game.
They've been just conditioned.
Is their N64 game, their
PlayStation 2 disc.
Even though when you try
to educate 'em and say,
you know, hey kid, I've been
doing this for 26 years.
You're gonna grow out of it,
you're gonna get interested
in cars, women, you're
gonna come in here and wanna
sell me a system and
I'm gonna ask you,
where are all your games?
You know, and you're not
gonna have any games to sell.
- Say you make a, say you
buy a game and you figure out
after two days, wow,
I made a mistake.
If it's on a disc, you can
trade that game in to Gamestop
or a mom and pop shop
or trade it to someone
or put it on Ebay and get
maybe 80 to 90% of the
purchase price back if
you do it quick enough.
There's a lot less
flexibility with digital media
'cause it's attached to either
the physical system itself
or your account.
- Very often, people, when
trading in their games will,
you know, say enthusiastically
that, it's like,
oh, I have this
game and this game
on the system and
that doesn't really add
tangible value to the thing.
Those digital downloads
are tied to some account.
It's not a licensing
that's transferrable.
It's not an artifact that
can be passed from one hand
to the other.
Yes, you have those things
but now no one else can.
- Downloading has no value.
They bring in systems and
they're like, I have 50 games
on this, how much
you gonna give me?
Nothing, I'm gonna give you
the same price as if you had
nothing on it.
- I just like being in
control of when I can play it
and how I can play it.
Let's say, I don't know,
I get the newest generation
console and I wanna be nice
to a relative or a friend,
it's a lot easier to transfer
your collection to
someone else if you have
the physical version.
- It eludes me that people
can live their lives buying
simply digital product and
never, ever have a manual
or a disc or a case or
something to put in a bookshelf
that says that's yours.
Man, remember when video
games required a manual?
Remember when you
couldn't finish that game,
unless you had the manual
because there was a certain
bit of information that
was only in the manual.
That's something that I think
is not happening so much
in video games these days.
Developing a game or creating
a certain special situation
in a game that requires you
to think outside of the game
itself is sort of
waning a little bit.
- So they have, like,
the remake of MGS one
for the Gamecube.
In the game at one point you're
asked to call this character
and Snake asks like, how
do I know the number?
And the Colonel breaks the
fourth wall by telling you to
look at the back of the case.
- I've had a fear for a long
time that the youth of today
would not be exposed to things
outside of their comfort zone.
That they would only interact
with the media that was
algorithmically pushed to
them or marketed to them.
I try really hard not
to be, you know,
an old person who thinks
that something was better
in the old days but the one
concession I give myself
is that I don't think that
young people are being
forced to expose themselves
to media that maybe isn't
their first choice anymore.
When I was growing up, you
know, I didn't have cable TV.
We had, like, five channels
and I might watch some bad
TV show that wasn't
necessarily my first choice but
I would get something out
of it or I would discover
something that was
older or weirder.
I think that you become a more
well rounded, interesting,
creative person if you're
exposed to media that isn't
pushed on to you necessarily by
people with corporate interests.
- Video games are always going
to be taking up more space
and more space and more space
and internet speeds are
never gonna catch up to them.
You're gonna be spending more
and more on internet just to
download games and at some
point you're gonna say, hey,
this is too much.
I'm just gonna go buy
the physical copy again.
- We still have
developing nations
where internet connections
might be iffy
or not even nationwide.
What about the military?
If you're in a fort operating
base in Afghanistan,
internet might not be the
best to get a new game.
There's parts of the US, in
the sticks that don't have
the best internet.
You might be pro digital
distribution living
in silicon valley,
maybe not somewhere
in West Virginia.
- I have a lot of people that
still don't have internet.
They live in an area
that just can't get
high speed internet.
It's not fast enough,
it cuts out.
I live in a valley and
there's no signal.
I take this issue kind of
personally 'cause I can't get
high speed internet
where I live.
My house is on a double
yellow line and so it's not
like I'm on a gravel road or
single lane little dirt road
out in the country, you know.
I've had so many people say,
that don't have internet,
that they need to update their
console and things like that,
that I actually have
a TV set up here.
I had this extra space here,
had an extra TV, I was like,
let's put this up here for
people that need to update
their console if they don't
have access to high speed
internet, they can update,
download their DLC.
Some people will bring
their Xbox in, set it up,
start the updates,
hand me the controller
behind the counter,
hey, I'll be back,
I'm going to Wal-Mart.
- I honestly still get a lot
of customers that don't have
solid internet at home so even
selling an Xbox One console
for instance, you actually
need the internet initially
to set up the system at all
so we'll actually do a lot of
set ups here in the store for
the customer so they can get
their system ready to play
whenever they get home
instead of being frustrated
that they can't set it up at all
because they don't
have, you know,
a good internet connection.
- People will call me and be
like, is the TV open so I can
update and yeah, yeah,
it's open, come on down.
This has gotten a lot
of use in that aspect.
[light music]
- I think what's missing from
digital storefronts versus
like a mom and pop shop
is human curation.
The current curation
system that we have is
not working.
- It's so incredibly difficult
for some of these indie devs
to get people to
just see their game.
It could be the most amazing
indie darling game ever
but if all you get is one
feature article on a blog
that specializes in indie
games, you're never gonna
make your money back and then
you might not ever be able
to make another game again.
- On PlayStation, every
week, tons of games
with absurd names that have
no business being there
and sure, a lot of them
are gonna be great.
There's gonna be a lot of
ones that are terrible.
That aren't, that are just rip
off, that are just trying to
get your money.
There are so much there,
somebody has to separate the
wheat from the chaff.
- Steam, much like YouTube,
much like most of the internet
right now is skewed toward
popularity as opposed to
actually understanding the
user, that has just kind of
resulted in popular people
continuing to be popular.
Whereas if I go into a
mom and pop store and
the person behind the counter
is like, well versed in
a lot of titles, you know,
I might be able to mention
a game that I like and they'll
be like, oh man, have you
tried this one.
- Usually the people who are
running, especially independent
stores, you know, they are
running it because it's what
they're passionate about,
it's something that they have
you know, their
deep knowledge of.
All the algorithms in
the world on the internet
saying like, hey, if you like
this, you'll probably like
this too, I mean, it can't
really replace someone who
knows you and knows, you know,
what you're interested in.
- You wanna talk to the
person, ask them their opinion
of the game, try to find
out like a face to face.
If you could build a trust
with the customer that says,
I'm not gonna tell you this is
good just for you to buy it.
You know with the internet,
it's like, if you've ever gone
across a message board, it's
either super angry or super
in love, there's no in between
but if you go and talk to
real people in a social
environment where you're just
knockin' ideas back and forth,
sometimes you get a better
read on what it
is that you want.
If I'm talkin' to you, you're
probably way more likely to
be honest with me talking like
this than if you were online,
you could say whatever you
want behind a keyboard with a
blank face, you're gonna be
more passionate online and
say things that, just
to get your point across
and lotta more hyperbole.
- My name's Frank Stancheck,
I'm the owner at Classic
Game Junkie at 111
Southeastern road in
Glenside, Pennsylvania.
We're located just outside
of northeast Philadelphia.
We opened in 2010 and
it was very stressful.
We actually hit the ground
running because we were already
doing business out of a
shed in the back of my house
when we first started.
- They spent about
three years out here.
You would see him out here,
two, three, four, five o'clock
in the morning just
workin', workin', workin'
and trying to get things goin'.
- In the shed it was cars
coming up all the time,
people in and out all in
the hours of the night
and in a suburban area,
you don't do that.
- Well, yeah, the neighbors
basically reported us because
we had a bunch of people comin'
in to the back of the shed.
The cops came, they came up
back in it and all they see
is a shed filled with
Nintendo games and stuff
and essentially they said, look,
we understand you're trying
to make ends meet, everybody's
trying to run a business
but you're gonna have to find
a place to actually do this.
You should get a shop.
- But it wasn't until that
day we got the letter from
the township saying you
had to cease and desist.
But we kept goin'
anyway, you know.
- I found them a spot
in an area that I liked.
I like Glenside.
- Everything in the
whole place was yellow.
It was yellow because it was
old, it was yellow because
it was yellow, it was yellow
because it smelled like yellow.
So the whole place was
just like fallin' apart.
- It was just
overwhelming on him.
He was in a car accident,
Francis was in a car accident
and he developed a
degenerative disorder.
Every one of his discs
came out slightly.
His lower spine was pressing
on a sciatica really bad.
He couldn't physically
walk and I was pregnant
with my son and I had my son
in September, he had surgery
in November and it
still hurt really bad.
He was going to be
put on disability.
- I got herniated discs
up and down and,
yeah, can't use my
left hand some days.
- He could go on
total disability
which he elected not to do
and it was already done deal
with his back and all.
- Opening a business was
pretty much the only option.
You don't have to be
sitting in a chair all day.
He was on the ground a lot
and he was suffering a lot.
It was a whole family effort,
it wasn't just me and his dad.
It was mom, dad, brothers,
cousins, family friends,
everyone was helping.
- Well I came, what, 'bout,
two years later, year later?
- Yeah, that's when, you
know, we decided we needed the
extra help because we were
really gettin' kinda bigger
than we expected.
- I kinda had to beg
to get in here.
- I was a Assistant
Manager, I was a Supervisor.
Okay, I had a lot
of people under me
and I had a lot of equipment
that I was responsible for.
I didn't know all that
when I got to those places.
I don't firmly believe you
have to know everything about
a industry or a business
to work it, you know?
If you just have the common
sense for it, that's all.
It's a learning
experience every day.
Even to today, you know, I
been there like five years.
I know games, you know,
you gotta listen
and things like that and
you'll get the just of it.
- I said, well, you know,
it's a super charity case here
and you're--
- Well pretty much got one
foot in the grave already
but you know, we'll let you
come up here and help out.
- He keeps telling
me I'm about 80.
- Yes, he is
technically my boss.
We kinda like don't
think of it that way.
You know what I mean,
it's not like that.
- So I had my guy make
me a Nintendo Ice Hockey
figurine guys and all
the tape deck glory
and he made some
orange and black.
- Actually when he was a baby,
not even a couple months old,
I used to lay on the floor
in front of the television
with him and watch
Flyers constantly
then he would cry and I
would get angry because I
couldn't hear the
game, you know?
I don't think he can do
anything without the family.
We kinda hold it together
and he knows that.
We're all a viral part of
his, you know, operation.
Anybody could tell if
you come into the store.
We're very close.
- We get tons of people from
out of state, out of country,
as a matter of fact.
People from Germany, Britain,
some people from, surprisingly,
India, which was a real
shocker to me.
A lot of people from the UK.
A lot of customers from there
and they're usually pretty
happy and they say they don't
have too much stuff like
this back home for some reason.
That always surprises me,
I thought this was kind of
everywhere right now, I thought
retro was pretty big, so.
[light music]
- Well the creation of Rocket
League really depends on how
far back you want to consider
the genesis of the game.
Technically you could look
back at 2008 as really
the beginning of Rocket
League and before.
- We built the company
by working on
other people's projects.
They would hire us to work
on parts of their games
and in the meantime we were
always working on our own
products 'cause we wanted
to have that independence of
owning something that we've
created and it was also very
important for us to self publish
and have the independence
of being able to do that.
- Rocket League is
actually a sequel to a game
called Supersonic Acrobatic
Rocket Pog Battle Cars.
- We shortened the
Rocket League,
really good move.
- I was working on Unreal
Tournament 2004 with Epic Games.
We were playing around
with cars that can jump
and we didn't really know
what we were gonna make out of
cars that can jump and fly.
Someone threw a ball in the
game and we just couldn't
stop playing it after that.
It was gonna be a combat game
before that and we were like,
no, this is the game, this
is so much fun, we couldn't
stop playing it.
- It's a fantasy sport game.
It's like a fun game that
doesn't take itself too
It's kinda like Remote
Control Car Soccer.
- That's really at its core
what Rocket League is now.
It's also soccer based video
game, it was physics based,
it was multiplayer.
- We looked at having a
publisher work with us.
It would've been nice to
go retail even then 'cause
retail was very
strong, this is 2008.
The game was just such
a crazy idea that
no one was interested
in picking it up.
They didn't even
have a genre for it.
So we self published and
the only way to do that was
through digital.
That game did very well amongst
the people that found it.
One of the problems, especially
in the early days of digital
was discoverability.
It's easy to get
buried in the store.
We obviously didn't
do it right, like,
no one is saying it's a bad
game, they're just not being
able to find it that well.
- We learned a lot about what
that game meant to people
who played it religiously and
realized what elements of the
game didn't get
people interested.
- Seven years later we
started to get serious again.
Let's build this again,
let's do it right.
A lot of things in the
world were changing as well,
the landscape.
Store fronts were getting
better at advertising what
products are on there and we
had this game we already knew
was good so all we had to
do was take advantage of the
change in society's view
on digital games and really
quirky indie games.
The launch of the
game was insane.
We broke every PlayStation
Plus download record
in the book immediately.
That kind of immediate access
to the game as is a result of
digital distribution
was very overwhelming.
We launched Rocket League
with a development team
dedicated to only Rocket
League, fewer than 15 people
and now practically our
entire studio is dedicated to
the game and we're
almost at 100 people now.
Now being just a digital
only game didn't necessarily
stamp us as being a small,
low quality product.
There's some really amazing
games out there that have,
you know, kind of come out
of nowhere and didn't have a
major team or push and only
distributing digitally and
was a massive success.
It really gave us some
advantages that we didn't have
the first time.
[guitar music]
- So basically, the library's
mission is to have a record of
the creative output
of the United States.
The important
cultural, historical,
creative record of what's
been generated by the
citizens of the United States.
This building was designed
to essentially serve as a
preservation factory.
To digitize older analog
formats and to bring in
new born digital formats which
we would then ingest into
our digital repositories.
So I work in the moving image
section of the Motion Picture
Broadcast and Recorded
Sound Division.
We are tasked with collecting
moving image in various
formats from 35 millimeter film
to video broadcast formats.
Really old formats such as
paper prints which is basically
like an old silent film printed
on a roll of contact paper.
When silent films were being
submitted for copyright,
the library wasn't accepting
film so they would send in
these rolls of paper.
Here we have some consoles
that have been gifted to us.
You know, we have our
classic Nintendo zapper.
The federal government's
own zapper.
We got three boxes
worth of Nintendo Power.
The complete run, starting
actually with Nintendo
Fan Club news.
When the games come
into the library, it's
where they end up.
Somewhat temperature and
humidity controlled here.
It's better than a basement.
The Library of Congress
has a video game collection
because video games are
one of the most powerful,
modern testaments to
American creativity.
I mean, video games
are hugely influential.
Certainly, on moving images
and film and television.
I think any modern blockbuster
that you see has, you know,
direct references
to video games.
We really need to have some
kind of a record of what
video games are, what
video games were
and how it informs everything
from film to politics.
How we interact with each
other, how we interact with
our environment, I mean,
Pokemon Go, for example,
it gave people the ability to
sort of get out and explore
their town or their community
through the means of
essentially playing a video game
and actually, you know, this
building, the Packer campus
was a big Pokemon Go site.
People were just driving
up into our parking lot
trying to capture Pokemon
because they were hanging out
in front of the front
door of this building.
You know, games, just from
the fact that they're sort of
like ever changing, ever
developing, it's nothing that
you can really like latch
on to and say like, this is
the definitive thing,
it's like ever changing.
- Things like Inkarus
and Pokemon Go
are just straight up
impossible to preserve
in their original form.
You can preserve the fact
that this world is here
and that there are these
things that can happen but you
can't preserve the interactions
between people or the
events or that sort of thing.
You can record them and that's
about as good as you can get.
- Games have all kinds
of different functions.
It's not just telling
a narrative story.
You know, trying to put it
all back together to show
like a library researcher
in a hundred years,
this is what Pokemon Go was,
gets a little more complicated.
There are gonna be questions
that can only really be
answered by the collecting
community and the
gaming community and
people who are passionate
about that content.
- My name is Frank
Cephaldi, I'm the founder
of the video game,
History Foundation.
We're a 501C3 nonprofit
that's dedicated to,
well, preserving video game
history, but really more
specifically in making
sure that researchers,
both professional and amateur
have access to the materials
they would need to tell the
story of video game history.
Things like behind the
scenes materials, you know,
design document, even the
source code itself for some
of these games, the
marketing material,
the surround in it, you
can't tell the complete story
of a game unless you have all
that surrounding materials.
So we're doing what we
can to address that 'cause
movie historians have it easy.
There are film archives
that have this kind of thing
but there's not really much
in the way of accessible
video game stuff right now.
I like to call myself an
archivist and a historian
with a game dev day
job 'cause it turns out
that's not really a job
that pays bills or anything.
On Mega Man Legacy collection,
I was the producer and
the director and I did
all the UI and stuff.
Sorry it's not better.
Really my focus on that
project was contextualizing
the games beyond
just playing them.
- Their approach to it was
like, okay we're gonna basically
approach this like the
Criterion Collection of this,
you know, the Criterion
Collection, we're going to put
a video game like, that's
what we want this to be.
We want it to have the game,
we want you to be able
to play the game like you
could on an old tube TV,
we wanna have as much
contextual artwork and
packaging and everything.
- I always liked the idea of,
you know, having a library
of the stuff I've worked
on on a bookshelf
just a proud trophy case.
For Mega Man Legacy Collection,
I just went all in and
tried to get as much of
the material that existed
that I could just to
put it on my shelf.
I just wanted some
representation of this work that
incredibly proud of and the
biggest win for that is
here's the actual game.
I've only ever done
one physical game.
I wouldn't be surprised if
this is also the last game
that's physical that
I've worked on.
There was a follow up, I
would say, to Mega Man Legacy
called the Disney afternoon
collection, similar collection
with Disney themed
games from Capcom.
There's no physical version
of that game so the
only thing I have is
this slap bracelet that was
given out as a promotional
item in storage which is
the only thing I know of for
the game so you know,
slap bracelet.
If you remember those.
- We currently have about
35 hundred games in our
collection here at the
Library of Congress.
I think in 2016 we got
about 50 games out of
750 titles released.
We aren't getting any games
that are just digitally
distributed, we're only getting
games that are physically
available, so.
I mean we have hundreds
of film negatives from the
Disney collection and Disney
comes to us all the time
saying like, hey we're doing
a 4K release of Snow White
or we're doing, you know,
a Blu-Ray of the original
Cinderella, we need that
original camera negative that
we have deposited with
you for safekeeping.
They know that they can rely
on us to sort of like be
the keepers of that thing that
they're gonna eventually need
so that they can then
make more money.
- You know, we should be
treating video games the way
way that we treat film.
We should be restoring video
games from their source
material and keeping
them in print.
The film foundation has a
stat, I think it's 80% of
American cinema made
before 1930 is gone
and I don't mean like,
you can't buy it on DVD,
I mean it does not exist
in this world anymore.
- While I was still in
college in 2008 I got a job at
Epic Games working as a
tester on Gears of War two.
After that, around 2010, I was
in my senior year in college,
I started Mighty Rabbit Studios.
I was paying the people
that would work with me
very, very, very little for
the first two years until
we got our first game Saturday
Morning RPG onto the market.
I'm Josh Furst and this
is Mighty Rabbit Studios.
We made Saturday Morning
RPG for the Uvio.
We wanna show you our office.
After that came out, I was
able to boost money a little
bit but not much 'cause
the game didn't really make
anywhere what it needed to
be considered a success.
It really bothered me as
a developer that the games
that I had poured all this
time and effort into making
were only available digitally.
Any of the services that
were hosting these things,
I mean the original IOS
version of Saturday Morning RPG
is gone, it doesn't exist
anymore, you cant get it.
I can still go into a
Gamestop right now,
I can pull out Gears of War
two, I can take the manual out
and I can flip to the size
four font of my name in the
back of that manual
that says I worked
on this physical thing.
It just really makes the thing
that you've worked on real.
It's so hard to like, you
know, make a plea toward
video game rights holders
to hold on to their stuff
because it's like, hey, can you
spend significant money
and resources on something
that you don't see
the value in yet?
It's really the responsibility,
I think, if you're working
on art like games or
whatever that, like,
you take things home and you
put 'em in a shoebox under your
bed or whatever you need to do.
What you should do if you
work on games is just start
a box and just put
everything in the box.
That's the best
thing you can do.
Steal from work, that's
how things get saved
is you steal them from work.
- For us, releasing Rocket
League as a digital only
product was a no brainer.
We actually never imagined,
in the beginning, that it
would be available
physically at all.
The reason we decided to do
the retail copy of Rocket
League is because digital
distribution is taking over
but there's still a massive
amount of people out there
that don't have the things
necessary to make access
to the game possible.
- There's a lot of people
that just miss physicality
in games, there's a lot of
people that want that box,
that want to know that
they own that thing because
in 10, 20 years, PSN might
go down and they won't have
access to that 10 or
15 dollar game that
they purchased anymore.
I don't wanna be disrespectful
to the games but there's a
lot of bad games
that reach retail.
There's going to be people
that want to go back and play
your game in a legitimate
manner and they're not
going to be able to and it
sucks that they're gonna
be able to play some really
bad games in a legitimate
manner but not a
really great game
and I just think that from
a preservation standpoint,
that's just a little
- Well I think for a lot of
companies, you know that you
have this percentage of the
population, percentage of
gamers who are really, really
loyal to physical media.
They know that there's gonna
be this loyal population
that's gonna buy it either
for the second time or
will finally put, you know,
push this final whatever
it is, 20% or so on board.
- Many physical stores,
depending how long they've been
business, have very strong
customer bases and are able
to reach out to those people
and recommend that game
to someone who may have been
reluctant to do so online.
We actually have customers
that refuse to connect to the
internet for their gaming.
They prefer to support local
brick and mortar shops.
- When you're on a display
stand inside of a retail store,
you have the opportunity to
sell your product to somebody
who maybe doesn't live in
the digital ecosystem at all
and there are still millions
of those video game consumers
out there and Sionix knows
this, they're not stupid
and they're like, well we
have a massive audience here
but we could have an even
bigger audience if we're at
retail and that's why you
sometimes see games that are
successful on digital finally
take the leap to retail
once they have a critical mass.
- The latest figures I've
heard, it's still 70%
of all game owners
still buy some form of
video games physically.
That's still a lot of people
when you consider just how many
hundreds of millions of
people out there are playing
video games in some form or
another be they on mobile
phones or consoles or PCs.
It's like a rite of
passage almost to get that
physical copy out.
A manual we can read, you
know, something we can touch.
Just giving people something
that they can have and do with
as they please, not something
that can be taken away.
- I do think that
the physical game
and I think this is
gonna change very soon
but I think it adds
legitimacy to a title
which is strange because
you think like, okay well
physical is sort of in
the past and not what,
and not where we're going
but I do still think that
there's some kind of, you know,
this is legitimizing this
title, this is saying like,
it's worthy of a
physical release.
- When I got into games, in
the beginning there wasn't
really a digital channel.
I mean when I was dreaming
about, oh I'd like to have
a game company, my dreams
were walking in to a store
and seeing it on a shelf
and that's what I dream,
like, I want my game to
be on the shelf one day
and it's funny 'cause by
the time I got to where we
were actually shipping our
own games, it was like,
okay we should do
this all digitally.
So it was a very proud moment
when I was able to put it
out retail because I finally
got that moment of being able
to walk in the store and see
my game on the shelf and that
was very, very important
to me, specifically.
[light music]
- You kinda forget how cool
of a town you have until
you're flooded, inundated
by tourists or Halloween.
It's like Mardis Gras but
everyone has costumes on.
You know, they're here, they
want somethin' to remember
Salem by, I have customers
that come in every year
religiously and one customer
told me, every time he plays
the game, that music comes on,
not only does he remember
Salem during Halloween,
but he remembers our game store.
Other people buy a game
when they hear that music,
they remember they were
in Johnny's Basement,
you know, when mom was
cookin' spaghetti, it all
comes as a flashback.
The whole memory of the
first time playing it,
their childhood, it all
flashes in front of 'em.
I really don't sell video
games, I sell memories.
Or I sell your
childhood back to you.
- Yeah a lot of the carts
come with their own markings,
usually names and phone numbers.
I did get a copy of Qix
that had written on it:
"This game sucks."
I'm like, but I like Qix, I
found that kind of offensive.
I'm guilty of sometimes, I
guess, being a little jaded
'cause I see this
stuff everyday.
People are jumping into
collecting, oh I want this top
10 list, I want to experience
these things, these are
supposed to be the best.
You have other people who
want the game that they played
with their brother and it's not
necessarily even a good game
but that was the goofy game
that they rented from the game
store this one memorable
weekend, that was the
They see some game they
haven't seen in years, decades,
it triggers a waterfall of
remembrance in their mind of
playing this at this time in
this place with this person
and they typically can't
help but exclaim it,
you know, it's like, oh
look at this, oh the game!
You know, that's
great, I mean that's
so gratifying 'cause that's
really what it's all about.
The joys of remembrance.
- Yeah, I mean, I see almost
everyday somebody walk into
the store and they're
blasted with this nostalgic,
you know, image of things
that they still haven't,
they say, I haven't played
a Nintendo game since I was,
you know, 13 but there it
is, I have Mike Tyson's
Punch Out sitting right in
front of me, I can buy it.
They discover, wow, these
video games have really touched
my life in a way that I
didn't realize, you know?
I remember that when I was
a kid, I played that with my
buddy in college, we drank way
too much while playing that
game one night,
who could forget?
So you kinda get to come back
and relive those moments.
Sometimes, and for many of
us, times that were a little
less stressful than
they are today.
- People wanna come in and
browse, they really don't know
what they're looking for.
Half the fun for the retro
video game collectors
is the hunt.
The coolest stories
that these guys tell me,
'cause they gotta tell
somebody, is, oh I was at this
yard sale or this flea market,
it's not about the game,
it's about how they
came across the game.
I come across that gem
that I had as a kid
that I didn't even remember
until the label
jumped out at me.
That's the stories that
people share with me.
- 10 years ago and I'm
still in New Jersey
when I tried unsuccessfully
to date some girls,
not one thought that retro
game collecting was cool
or that it was
something that they
would be comfortable with.
Like, you always hear people
say, oh I remember playing
Duck Hunt, that's fine
to remember that game
to them but it's weird
having a wall of those games.
I remember one girl walking in
to my apartment on a second date
and seeing my retro video
games, she said to me,
oh this is 40 year
old virgin stuff.
Never saw her again.
It's just interesting to
finally be around people that
are in your world that love
what you love and I think
that's one of the draws of
the retro game store still
is that you can talk to the
shop owner, you can talk
to other people walking in
and there's a camaraderie
there, you commiserate on
a hobby that you love and
you're passionate about
because retro video games
is such a small minority of
the overall video game market
share, it's probably
five percent
and if they put out a new
NES cart, they'd sell like
a thousand of 'em.
The Call of Duty sells
a million, Madden sells
millions of 'em.
The scales are just
totally different.
Everyone wants what's
new and what's best and
the weirdos like me want the
games that are 30 years old.
[electronic music]
- I think my first
console was Nintendo 64
and I'm here to find more
games and controllers for it.
I wanted to come and check
out the culture and like
the panels and some of
the events going on.
I think it'll be real fun to
see some of the museum stuff.
There was a panel coming
up about having more female
voices in the game
world and I thought
that one looked interesting.
We also wanna see
peanut butter gamer.
I come here for the little
accessories and collectible
type things like Ameebo
cards, shirts, art and that
sort of thing.
If you're here you can examine
the object, you can see
exactly what's wrong with
it, you know from the person
selling it, hey, it's
missing this component.
You don't have to open a
dispute or email back and forth.
It's a more immediate
transaction and
that is very appealing.
- I just really just love being
around a large amount of people
passionate about the same
things I'm passionate about.
I mean really that's
all conventions are
at their core, right?
- We see a lot of young
people in the store and they
absolutely do buy stuff and
it's funny because sometimes
they buy things that
maybe us veterans might
consider kinda silly.
They want to buy a copy of
E.T. because they've heard it's
a terrible game and so they
don't have an Atari yet
but they wanna buy this
seven dollar copy of E.T.
because they've heard it's
so terrible and it's only
seven dollars so they take
steps, baby steps to get there
but I've definitely seen a
lot of kids come in and buy
like an NES.
- I absolutely feel like
internet culture is driving,
you know, a resurgent interest
even amongst young kids
in the old stuff
that they never even
experienced themselves.
It's funny, kids come in and
like, do you have this game
for Nintendo, like I'm
really nostalgic for it,
I'm like, I don't think
you know what that means.
- I've seen something happen
and a place like Portland
is a great example where
you see the next generation
after me, 16, 17
year old, they love
retro video games, they
love the franchises.
They love Mario, they
love Legend of Zelda.
They love Sonic.
That doesn't necessarily
mean they love the original
media in form that video
game was originally was
released on.
They'll adore that
franchise 30 years from now.
Doesn't necessarily
mean they have to go
own the original cartridge.
- I think I mostly, other
than buying things for older
consoles, which obviously
then you've got to go to a
store or a collector or
someone online and like buy the
physical things, I think I
mostly download games now.
Most of my recent games
have been downloads.
- We care about physical media
because we grew up with it
and that's why we are
passionate about it because it
connects them to our childhood.
You know, we remember blowing
off that NES cartridge
and putting it into
the system or Atari
or taking a disc and putting
it into a PlayStation.
I think the younger,
younger generation,
I have a son that's nine,
I don't know if they're
gonna care as much because
what do they grow
up with, you know?
They grew up with an
iPad, you know, iPhone.
I think that ingrains into
people's memory and I think
they're gonna care
less about it.
People that loved Elvis
when he was big in the 60s
and 70s and he died
in the late 70s,
maybe that original RCA
Elvis record was worth $100
20 years ago, maybe it's worth
$20 now, maybe it's worth
10 because there aren't the
same amount of new Elvis
collectors come in and replace
the ones that are either
selling off their collection,
getting out of it or
literally dying off.
The rarity of the media
is only one factor.
There has to be interest in it.
- I worked at Luna Video Games
kind of as a General Manager
and we see a lot of young
people there as well just
like we're seeing here.
I think a lot of them do
wanna immerse themselves
in the culture, they wanna
be part of it but because
of things like digital
releases, they don't necessarily
need to own those cartridges
and those games but a lot
of young people come here
and they buy shirts or prints
or things that are recognizable
to them and they feel like
they're part of that community,
that's how they express
it as opposed to starting
these massive collections
that are now out of the
price range of, well frankly,
a lot of people.
- I prefer to get my games
on a digital medium 'cause
I typically play them on my
computer now or on my 3DS
and it's just significantly
more convenient.
I can download a multi-gigabyte
game in like, five minutes.
- Buying physical copies is
definitely a little bit more
nostalgic for me, I love
having the physical copy so I
bought like a physical copy
of Horizon and Sky Rim when
it came out remastered
but if the deal's a
little bit better online,
I will usually download it.
- I think the future of
conventions in game stores
in general in my opinion
will depend upon
how many generations does
it get passed down to?
Like you said, you do see 12
and 13 year olds buying it.
They probably had their parents
that grew up with a NES.
What happens next?
- Yeah, what happens
when they have kids?
How much do they hold on
to this things that their
parents passed on to them?
A good comparison, though,
might be like, I love 80s music.
I was not alive in the 80s
but I love 80s music and I
can't see myself just forgetting
that I like 80s music.
Maybe I don't play nearly as
much 80s music as my parents
did, so if I have children,
they get a little bit of that
and maybe it just sort of
passes down in like a slower
and slower stream but I
don't see it just stopping
after the next generation.
- To your point
though, 80s music,
how are you listening to that?
Digitally, YouTube, Pandora,
or the original cassette?
- You know what, that's
a great point actually
'cause I do all my music
through streaming so
that's a great point.
- So if I wanna listen to
Tiffany, I love Tiffany,
if I wanna listen to
Tiffany 20 years from now,
I probably won't get that old
cassette that my sister had.
Or that Whitney Houston
tape, I'll just stream it.
So that's the thing, Super
Mario Brothers, 20 years
from now, again, there'll be
20 ways to play it and the
cartridge will be the least
convenient way to play it.
- There are plenty of people
who are totally willing to
spend five dollars on
Super Mario Brothers again
but the issue is, and
they've already spent that
five dollars four
different times.
So the streaming service is
a way for them to be like,
look, we get it, you want
this game still and you bought
it a bunch of times already,
you don't have to
do that anymore.
You can just have all
of them and just pay,
you know, like a Netflix model.
- And it follows the
movie path, right?
It's like, I bought it on
VHS, I bought it on DVD,
I might've even gotten
it on Blue-Ray.
I don't wanna touch the thing
and I don't wanna buy it
- Right.
- But like, I will pay
for a subscription service
that has it.
- When you get older
your priorities change.
Maybe you don't wanna own
all these pieces of plastic
and paper, maybe it's not a
priority so you get rid of
those games.
Will there be a generation
behind me that will step in
and collect these games and
wanna preserve them to the
same extent that I
wanted to do that?
My head says no because
it's like any other hobby
and sometimes some
hobbies die out.
[light piano music]
- I spent my whole life
collecting video games
from pack ratting them
away when I was young
to trying to fill up
every little possible gap
in every single
possible collection.
I have every physical game
that Sega ever made in the
United States, every one.
Every master system,
Sega Genesis, Saturn,
Game Gear, Dreamcast,
Peko, Sega CD, 32X, all
of 'em, every single one.
I think about physical media
probably more than most people
do I think more than most
people do and that's the
reason why I opened a museum.
[ambient music]
The end goal of the museum,
it would be a be all,
end all of the industry so
it would have an archive
of every game and console and
accessory that ever came out.
Where industry people could
come out and give lectures and
teach you about the industry.
The National Video Game
Museum is the country's first
dedicated video game museum.
It's not part of a
wing of other things,
it's not a section
of video games,
it is the all inclusive
history of video games
specifically devoted
to that industry.
Well, it's the National
Video Game Museum so it's
about what you would expect
which is a physical museum
that has displays that teach
you about the history of
video games.
- When we founded our
first convention in 1999,
the museum was a part of that
and the museum was simply
pieces of a collection,
maybe 30 pieces.
- They used to tour it
around at like, E3, CES.
We're talking like,
one of a kind items,
original developer notes from
Atari, prototypes of games.
You know, these are guys
who were among the earliest
video game collectors and had
been collecting not just the
games but the material
and things like that.
I mean John Hardy has told
me stories of actually
dumpster diving at Atari,
not just saying that but like
actually going to
Atari's office and
going in their dumpsters.
- It certainly was a
project of passion.
All the years of collecting
and then traveling with our
things, that just suddenly
became a museum on the road.
What finally made me say,
I wanna open a museum was
getting old, time is running
and we need to find
a place to put all of these
things and keep them so
that people can enjoy them
every day as opposed to
whenever we happen to be at a
specific event once
a year or whenever.
- One of the reasons that
we decided that we needed to
build a video game museum
is nobody else had.
- For years we wondered why
hasn't somebody done this
before, right?
Sean will often cite that
there are two carrot museums
in the United States
dedicated to carrots
but there was not one
video game museum dedicated
to video games.
You know, like, the
Smithsonian has their section
of video games, the Strum
Museum of Play up in Rochester
which we went to, it
was a beautiful museum
but it's a toy museum and
they have a floor that's
dedicated to video games
but you don't go there just
to see video games.
It shouldn't just be a timeline.
It shouldn't just be why
is Nintendo important.
It really needs to be a
full thing so that no matter
how old you are, no matter
what piece of video gaming
has touched your life, you
can learn way more about that
than anything else
that you can think of.
Let's put the exhibits that
we think will have the most
impact, the ones where we
can teach people something
and also allow them to
sort of enjoy themselves.
So you're not just sitting
there learning about it
but you actually get
to experience it.
We have a 1985 replica bedroom.
You can go in, you
can jump on the bed,
you can use the zapper to
play Duck Hunt, you know,
you can rummage through the
drawers and find baseball cards
from the 80s or look
through the vinyl albums or
pick up the skateboard,
you know, the concept of
everything in the museum
is to make it as visceral
as the feeling of playing
video games themselves.
And the reason why that
setting is important is because
what you're playing is something
nobody would be playing
anymore either, you know,
playing on this giant
console that takes cartridges
and has a joystick with
just one button on it kind
of puts you in that frame of
mind like, okay well, if this
is what they were playing with
and I look around, now
I got a kind of a better
understanding of what the
world was like at that time.
Similarly we have an 80s
arcade and the 80s arcade
is meant to look like the
arcade that you would've
seen in 1983.
It's playing 80s music,
it's neon black lights,
that you know, you would
never see anymore
and the whole idea
is to put you there.
You've seen Frogger,
you've see Donkey Kong,
you know everything about Mario
but now you're standing
where those characters
were first introduced.
This is exactly what it
was like for people that
got to see it for
the first time.
It would be easy to say well
couldn't I have a 3D model
of something like that where
you could kind of move through
it but there's just something
about the feel of those things
and the smell of those things
and the sound that you have
to be standing there
to really get it.
That was the whole point.
- You can see pictures all
day long of something but to
see it up close, maybe even
get to interact with it
is a huge part of it.
There's so much back story to
the industry with the people
who created the
industry and the games.
It's important to
get that out there.
- The store is a little bit
like a museum and I would
imagine most game store owners
feel that way especially
if your stocking used products.
If you have products that are
20 or 30 years ago sitting
on a shelf,
guaranteed someone's gonna
look at it and go, I had
that when I was a kid,
you know, and they wanna
talk about it.
We've sometimes
turned into curators
while we're on a sales floor.
I have the same conversations
here with customers that
I have with people that
are visiting the museum.
Very similar conversations.
Typically what you would see
in a museum are priceless
works of art or one of a
kind pieces that have some
kind of artistic significance
that you want to make sure
that is preserved and shared
to the public so that everyone
can experience witnessing
that on their own.
They're looking at the
before times, you know,
things that existed in a time
before I was born or a time
that my parents were
playing games or a time that
no longer exist again
and they're extinct.
[ambient music]
[guitar music]
It's on everybody's mind and
no matter what they tell you,
you are now where
Barnes and Noble is or
Blockbuster was just
a couple years ago.
Where Sam Goody
was 10 years ago.
You're there now, what
are you gonna do?
Are you going to stop selling
games and sell something else?
Or are you gonna try to hang
in there with what's left?
And I think if you're
trying to hang in there with
what's left,
lots of us are gonna
go away in five years.
- I've had people ask me for
advice for opening up their
own game store and in general
my advice to people when they
ask me that is just don't.
- I would open up a coffee
shop before opening up a
retro game store at
this point in time.
The amount of people interested
in the original media
form of retro games is
growing smaller year by year
and plus some of us already
got it, we got most of what
we're gonna want so what
am I gonna buy from you?
- When I lived in Los
Angeles, I went to smaller,
locally owned stores
all the time.
Unfortunately I haven't
found one here in my current
neighborhood because, sadly,
they're going away because
they're getting either, you
know, dominated by the other
retailers or like all retail,
it's getting dominated
by online shopping.
- If I see a mom and pop store
for games, yeah I would be
incredibly interested
in looking at that.
To me it's almost like going
into a vintage music shop,
though, you know, it's a
reminder of the old way of doing
things and it's nostalgic
more than anything.
- It's tough, things have
dried up and the customer base
is much more savvy now than
it was five or 10 years ago.
The world has moved
on and doesn't need
this anymore, you know, I
just don't need it,
you know, everybody's
living in a world now where
it's on their computer or
it's, I don't need that piece.
- I think the desire's
always going to be there
but it is receding from
the mainstream because,
more and more there's people
who it's just not a priority
for them and that's okay
but it's sort of sad to see
because it is frustrating
when games that I really love
don't have something
I can hold on to.
- I don't understand why there
are still physical movies
but I think games are different
because I think games are
a much more personal
experiences and I think people
want to have a physical
remnant of the time that they
spent in that world.
The equivalent of your
vacation photos or whatever.
I think people want a physical
reminder of that time.
As opposed to the two hours
they spend in the theater
or whatever, you know, the
40 hours they spent in this
game's world that, you know,
probably affected them a lot
more than most movies do.
Looking around at all the
physical media, there's a lot
more exciting than just
browsing on your computer screen
even though it may be more
efficient on the computer,
there's somethin' cool
about just getting like,
sidetracked, getting lost,
like I compare it with video
stores, that was the
entertaining part, it was kind
more fun than even watching
the movie sometimes, it was
just be able to just walk around
and look at all the movies
that you could watch.
- My personal plan here
is to continue to do that
community type of a thing
where we just keep having
more and more events, I try
to do as many things as I can
with the space to
keep people coming.
Again, it's just, it's
always gonna be a smaller and
smaller base and the great
ones, I'm sure like record
stores now, the great record
stores, there's probably,
maybe there's 50 of 'em in
the country, maybe every state
has one that everybody
knows about that they go to
but you can't have three
or four in the same town.
- Running a game store or any
sort of like small business
in a niche market is not a
way to get fabulously wealthy.
It's something you do not
because you're an entrepreneur
but because you're
an enthusiast.
[guitar music]
[door creaks]
[machine whirs]
[door creaks]
- I couldn't take half the
merchandise in if we didn't
have this machine,
they're so scratched up.
It takes out the scratches,
it buffs out the scratches,
so to speak.
You can resurface a disc,
three, four times and at that
point it's not
gonna do any good.
It's just really thin.
It's like a wafer, you
can just see it thinnin'
out each time.
But if people take care of
their disc then they don't
need this machine.
[ambient music]
As long as I'm havin' fun,
I don't think I'll retire.
You know, I won't be buyin'
a Lamborghini anytime soon
but I didn't get into this
to make a lot of money,
it's a fun business, it's
actually an addictive business.
The thing that I like about
being in business, it allows
you to have the lifestyle
that you want.
Bringing my dog to work,
making the decisions,
even though they're small
decisions, but I'm in charge
of my own destiny.
I'm a skier, I have an RV
and my girlfriend and I
with our two dogs travel
around the east coast, just
skiing, sleeping in ski
resort's parking lots,
gettin' up the next day,
gettin' first tracks,
we're hitting every
mountain on the east coast
that has three
chairlifts or more.
That's what I'd be doing
full time if I didn't have
a retro video game store.
As long as there's
snow on the ground.
I would ski in dirt.
- My mother thought I spent
too much, she was really right,
I spent way too much money
in my college years on video
game stuff when it should've
been spent towards, you know,
tuition for example.
She was the,
sort of the final gate for
me in opening the store.
So I went through all the
checks, I went through my wife.
I checked our finances but
I had to finally get through
my mom, if my mom said, you
have my blessing to do this,
I was gonna do it.
Both my mom and dad were
very proud when I opened
the store and it had
been open for a while
and they both lived just
long enough to see the museum
open which was important to me
and I know that they were
really proud of that too.
- There's been nothing like
this, being able to wake
up every day, know I'm
goin' to a place to share my
store with other people who
share the same interests as me.
I mean, it's amazing, the
sights, the sounds, the video
game music playing in
the store, all that stuff
makes me excited to be able
to wake up and know I get to
go to that place every morning.
I mean, granted, any work
becomes work for everybody but
I can't think of a better
place and as long as I can make
it last I'm gonna continue
to wake up and go there
and really enjoy what
I get to do every day.
I get to spend time with my
family everyday, for better
or for worse, this is a
once in a lifetime
opportunity for most people,
to get to live their
actual dream that they had
when they were a kid and
if it lasts 10 more years,
great, if it lasts 20,
amazing, if it lasts one,
then I had a hell of a
good time doing it.
[ambient music]
[machine whirs]
[light music]
Fighting the war
We can never win
Trying to flee
The pain that's within
Still hanging on
To hold what is lost
Trying to carry on
No matter the cost
There's one thing
That makes me come alive
When you're by my side
To get everything
Together with me
When I'm weary take the road
Play that movie
I want you to smile
Shut out all the worries
Stream away for a while
The look you had
In your eyes back then,
We'll pretend
It's 85 again
Play that tape
Make me feel like I'm whole
Take me back again to
see the look of that chrome
The power of love is
back on the screen
And we'll have
85 again
[synth music]
- The reason we love something
has to do with something
more than sheer technical
achievement or historical
significance, it has to do
with how fun it is and that's a
very nebulous quality.
It's hard to define but
it's very fun to try
and grapple with.
- I think there's something
about a physical copy,
like being able to pick
it up and look at it,
it's like a snapshot of the
time it was released, you know,
especially if you grew up
with that, like whenever I see
a stack of NES games come
in, I can get like an idea
of this person and how their
life was almost, like he was
playing Batman just like
me, you know, we were both
into Battle Toads
probably at the same time.
I wonder what makes people
sell it in the first place,
like what makes you move
on from it, that's the
bigger question to me.
- We all love experiencing
games with other people.
If you are like, hey I can't
afford to buy this game
and I'm like, but I want
you to try it, I can loan
you my disc and then you
can give it back to me.
- I literally have video
games sitting in a bank
vault right now.
How is that good for humanity?
What does that serve?
Literally locking away
video game history.
It doesn't make any sense,
it doesn't make any sense.
- I think the industry's gonna
change a little bit in the
next 10 years, I think we're
gonna see maybe less of a
focus on newer games having
physical media but you know,
that's why we don't
sell only video games.
We sell lots of video game
merchandise 'cause the game
community's not going anywhere,
people are always gonna
be into video games
and I'm not looking
for global domination.
- This is a personal anecdote,
so I don't know how many
had this experience
also but my wife and I,
I wanted to show her
a Miyuzaki movie.
"My Neighbor Totoro,"
she had never seen it.
We went on Amazon, it's
like, oh you can't rent
"My Neighbor Totoro."
I looked and there's one
local video store left in
the east bay, they have
every Miyuzaki movie there
and like, we now have a
video membership and we rent
a movie every week from humans.
- I had a paper route, my
parents were like this,
they liked gamin' but I think
they thought I was gonna
like rot my brain, so as a
rule of thumb, I might get
two games on Christmas and
like one for my birthday
but that was clearly not enough.
Street Fighter Two, I
like literally, was like,
the day it comes out, I'm
gonna have the money with
my parent's help or not
and I think that's where I
got most of my like, work
ethic from, like, I don't
need you for my hobby.
It was fun.
[synth music]