Shelf Life: Retro Game Base

Shelf Life: Retro Game Base

Tom Humphrey, co-founder and director of London’s Retro Game Base, tells MCV about the state of classic gaming and discusses its evolution since he started his business in 2011.

How has your business ?been lately?
It has been ok, we’re a very specialist business so there are ups and downs in markets like this. But it’s pretty much done as a labour of love and it is sustainable.

Why did you decide to specialise in retro gaming?
We started the business in 2011 and it’s because there wasn’t many physical shops really doing it, and they were not doing it very well as it turns out. We were initially running an online store on eBay but that started expanding so we ended up in a situation where we needed a premises for stock. So we decided to go for a shop, rather than a lock-up.

What’s the state of retro gaming at the moment? How has it evolved since you started?
It’s very popular, it seems to be constantly growing in terms of its popularity. As of the nature of the sorts of products, there’s a fair amount of resources and an increasing number of people scrambling over the same stuff. So it’s becoming increasingly more difficult, not only for collectors or people interested in buying the stuff, but also as retailers like us, to be able to find the correct and good stock to be able to resell.

What have you been selling particularly well recently?
It’s always the cartridge-based Nintendo and Sega items. Nintendo 64 and Megadrive products are the key items.

Speaking about Nintendo, I know you are into retro gaming but do you have any thoughts on their next console?
I know zero about it (laughs). I don’t know anything about current generation machines, to be honest. I only have an N64 and a Megadrive at home.

What are you prospects for the year to come?
Well, to continue to do what we’re doing, to get in good items, as interesting items are difficult to come by, and continue to be able to provide professional knowledge on this scene.

Is there any particular event you are looking forward to this year?
There’s Retro Revival in August, a retro gaming-based event. That’s the particular event that stands out.

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Tags: Retail , interview , shelf life , indie retail