San Angelo, TX – “Banjo-Kazooie, definitely.”
“I do like Heroes of the Storm; it’s a game by Blizzard.”
“Legends of Zelda Majora’s mask.”
“Probably Super Smash Brothers.”
These guys have different tastes, but one common interest.
You’ll often find a controller in their hands. Whether it’s at home, or playing with friends.
Retro Gaming and Collectibles is one place in San Angelo where you can buy, sell, and trade games, consoles, and comics, even participate in tournaments.
Retro Game Press is another location in town that allows customers to purchase and sell, kick back and play games, and have birthday parties.
But first let’s take it back to Retro Gaming and Collectibles.
This is what you’ll find inside the building.
Retro Gaming and Collectibles has been open for about three years to give gamers a place to play with friends and meet people through a common interest.
Once a month you’ll see a group of players that are competing in Super Smash Bros. tournaments.
“All walks of life. We’ve have some older guys that come in and play, we’ve got some people still in high school that come in and play, people here from one side of town and some from the other side of town, where they otherwise wouldn’t really interact with each other, ” says Jakob Garner, a tournament organizer at Retro Gaming and Collectibles.
For almost 20 years it’s been a widely used competitive game to this day – for a reason.
“Something like Smash Bros. or any video game really is such an interesting common ground that you find so many people come through.”
Now over to Retro Game Press on West First Street.
It’s a place that Erik Gonzalez says is growing exponentially and thriving.
Just like the other business, you can sell and get your hands on classic consoles and new – and why keep the retro environment around?
“It shows you where we came from a gaming society. It shows all the wrongdoings, all the glitches, all the stuff that you can do to break the game, but it also shows how we evolved from the Atari all the way up to the Nintendo Switch,” Gonzalez explains.
Business isn’t just happening in stores, it’s booming online.
“It’s now more than ever something you can make a living doing and something that in the future will become probably even more profitable with how fast this market’s growing,” Garner says.
Streamers such as Fortnite personality “Ninja” has over 12,000,000 followers on Twitch, Player Unknown’s Battle Ground streamer “Shroud” has almost 5,000,000, and Call of Duty Player “Summit 1G” has more than 3,000,00 Twitch followers.
“I think that’s exciting for individuals who have this intrinsic motivation and passion for gaming and they’re able to find a platform where they can utilize those skills that they’ve strengthened and that they obviously had a passion for. As opposed to fight it or possibly live in fear of the outcome. The other alternative could be to embrace it,” says Crystal Kreitler, an associate professor of psychology at Angelo State University.
“Ever since I could hold a Gameboy at five years old I played Pokemon. That was my first game. I loved it so much and ever since then it’s been engrained in me because it was more of an escape from family life, personal issues, stuff like that,” says JJ Isaacs, who plays at Retro Gaming and Collectibles
“I get to meet everyday people who do the things I do. Who play video games, who are interested in electronics. I get to meet family, I get to meet friends, I get to meet strangers you know that sometimes have never even touched a video game and want to learn it,” Gonzalez exclaims.