Within the basement of an ordinary-looking pc restore store in downtown San Jose sits a Library of Congress price of video video games, classic consoles and diverse memorabilia.
Okay, it doesn’t have the pomp and circumstance of the nation’s oldest federal establishment. However Gameshop Downstairs on East Santa Clara Avenue has its personal area of interest as a cultural curator, providing a portal into digital leisure’s previous.
“I believe we’ve actually gotten to a degree the place we will form of take a look at older tech like an artwork fashion moderately than out of date,” stated Anthony Guarino, who runs the classic online game and collectibles retailer Gamestop Downstairs alongside together with his spouse Hannah Yo. “Similar to charcoal isn’t out of date now that we’ve iPads.”
The couple oversees a large assortment of all issues nerdy: modified Nintendo Sport Boys, comedian books, each online game you possibly can want for, motion collectible figurines, manga books, a life-sized Energy Ranger and a wall of VHS films. We descended into the depths of Gameshop Downstairs with Guarino to speak concerning the native San Jose connections to old-style video video games, why he doesn’t acquire VR headsets and the way he acquired a 1,000-pound arcade console down the steps of the store.
Q Have you ever at all times been into video video games?
A I by no means actually thought of myself to be a gamer particularly. I at all times actually preferred tinkering with stuff. I say I’m extra of an artistically oriented individual–and to me, video video games are actually only a mixture of artwork and expertise. So we actually like to take a look at it in that gentle. Rising up, I had a youthful brother so we performed largely racing video games and stuff like that. Mario Kart, after all. After which PlayStation 2.
Q I heard one thing as we entered the shop. What was that?
A Oh, yeah, that (sound) was (a speaker saying) “welcome” in Korean. My spouse is Korean and so when individuals first enter the shop, that’s what they hear.
Q You’ve got a heck of a whole lot of VHS tapes on the market. The place’d you get all of those?
A I obtained a whole storage unit that was a mom-and-pop video retailer (from) the yr 2000 that had gone below after which it had remained dormant for like 20 years. So, your complete ground of the shop right here (final yr) was stuffed up with 100 file packing containers of 40 tapes every. It took us a few month to type by means of all the things when it comes to style and we’ve a whole lot of nice stuff, kung fu, horror films, sci-fi. (There have been) a whole lot of Betamax tapes. This was a format that form of died off early. It was a competitor to VHS.
Q What do individuals are available in right here for essentially the most?
A (The) Sport Boy, Sport Boy Advance…daily we’ve individuals asking for the Pokemon video games. I can’t maintain these on the shelf. Sport Boys had been actually the primary ones that you possibly can simply take round and, you realize, the primary transportable video games. Earlier than that was largely like these Tiger Electronics, form of little mini-game issues.
Q Do you ever promote digital actuality stuff?
A I don’t prefer to take these in used as a result of they’re normally pre-sweated in.
Q You even have an arcade sport in right here?
A Lots of people ask me if that is on the market. It was the hugest ache to get it down the steps. It took me and a sumo wrestler to get it down.
Q A sumo wrestler?
A Fortunately, I do know a man.
ANTHONY GUARINO PROFILE
Essentially the most uncommon factor in Gameshop Downstairs: Panasonic’s 3DO, a console that Guarino says was forward of its time for its three-dimensional graphics within the early Nineties. (It flopped, sadly.)
Native connection to Silicon Valley: Guarino has consoles and computer systems from Atari, Namco and Apple, firms that every one have connections to the South Bay.
FIVE THINGS ABOUT ANTHONY AND HIS SHOP
- The oldest factor in Anthony’s whole store is a Nineteen Seventies-era console from Atari. He stated center faculty college students who’re interested by STEM prefer to buy them.
- Anthony has been overseeing the store since 2017. Earlier than that, he was promoting modified Sport Boys and making pop artwork from spray paint — and has one in all his items of Godzilla hanging up within the store.
- Anthony is a local of San Jose and went to SJSU for music schooling.
- Numerous former techies from firms like Atari or Sony prefer to drop stuff off within the retailer.
- Anthony loves repairing previous VHS gamers — and stated the tech is making a comeback.