Forget Fortnite, ban Battlefront, and let go of League of Legends. For those of us who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, competitive multiplayer was Battle Mode in Mario Kart or slappers in Goldeneye. Decades removed from classics like Mario, Sonic, and Duck Hunt, those who yearn for the simpler days of gaming may feel like fossils.
Never fear, brave gamer. With Austin’s rich history of video games, it’s no wonder the retro scene is well-represented. Enter Game Over Videogames, purveyors and supporters of the games of yesteryear for well over a decade.
Whether you cut your teeth on the Atari 2600 or played the mess out of an NES, Game Over is a nostalgia overload of epic proportions.
Austin’s Finest Retro Shop Since 2005
Yep, you read right. Game Over started as a humble shop in the Interpoint Shopping Center off North Lamar in 2005. After years at EB Games, founder David Kaelin noticed the titles of his childhood stacked into bargain bins. Back in the days of Resident Evil 4 and Psychonauts, nobody seemed interested in Kirby or Star Fox.
“In that time, I had clearance bins full of games I loved marked 99 cents off. But even then, nobody wanted them,” shared Kaelin. “Retro wasn’t a thing and people didn’t think they’d play that old stuff again.”
In an effort to resurrect this “dead” technology, Kaelin quit his managerial post and opened the first Game Over with his personal collection. He quickly discovered a small yet passionate segment of the population shared his love for retro gaming, and a scene was born.
Today, fire up the streaming site Twitch and “Retro” is always a top category. Classic gaming is in the midst of a renaissance, and Game Over has grown by leaps and bounds as a result. What started as a one man store is now a chain with 11 locations in Texas and two in Washington.
Nostalgia Overload at Game Over
Walking into a Game Over store is like walking through a time tunnel into the era of local game shops. Cartridges of every imaginable genre, system, and generation fill glass-enclosed cases, while the back wall stands stocked with consoles decades old.
Looking for a working copy of Final Fantasy VII? You got it. Hungry for a replica SNES that plays on HD TVs? Come on in. The options are endless.
And everything works. While this may sound standard to non-enthusiasts, ask any retro game collector and they’ll tell you the same thing: buying online is a serious risk. Collectors may go through multiple vendors to find a rare working CD-I or an NES console you don’t need to blow into. Every game and console at Game Over is carefully tested and repaired before hitting the shelf, so you know you’re buying a working product the first time.
“When I re-started my collection, one of my pet peeves was the only place to find old games were dive, hole-in-the-wall places with a bunch of games on the shelf. Nothing clean, nothing organized. It was treated like junk,” Kaelin told me.
Customers are also welcome to try before they buy. Every location features a TV where fans can plug in their game of choice and give it a whirl. This section also serves the community through co-op contests and events designed to bring together gamers of all types and stripes.
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All for the Love of Gaming
The main takeaway from a visit to Game Over is how much the team loves retro gaming. From the 8 bit artwork at the South Lamar location to the careful way the collection is curated, the soul of Game Over lies in its dedication to the genre.
During my visit to the North Lamar store, I was impressed by not only the store’s vibe, but the clientele. UT kids, grown adults, and high schoolers fresh out of class all came in to check out the collection and talk retro. The surface simplicity of the games of yesteryear bridges generations, and Game Over Videogames is a microcosm of that universal appeal.
Regardless whether you’re in the market for a refurbished SNES or the classic game that defined your childhood, Game Over Videogames is your personal haven.
Game Over Videogames has numerous locations across Texas with three in Austin. Visit gameovervideogames.com for the full location list and online catalog.
@BillTuckerTSP wants to know:
Are you as crazy about retro gaming as I am? If so, tell me about it!