Mario, Zelda, Mega Man. If these names ring a bell to you, you've probably had a lot of good times playing retro video games.
It's no coincidence that retro video games are a frequent topic of conversation on the Bonn Park Podcast.
I've been a proud video game nerd my whole life.
It began on a tabletop Pac-Man at Donut Queen in Kitchener.
Then we got an Atari 2600, which thrilled me with amazing games like Joust, Galaxian, Freeway, River Raid, Superman, Centipede, Asteroids, Dig Dug, Snoopy and the Red Baron, Pole Position, and Track & Field. I played whatever games I could find back then, whether Atari, Intellivision, or ColecoVision.
Once I discovered Nintendo, there was no turning back. From Super Mario Bros., Punch-Out!!, and Metroid on the NES to the 1990s generation of titles like EA Sports’ NHL Hockey, WWF No Mercy, Battletoads, Top Gear, F-Zero, Zombies Ate My Neighbours, and Super Smash TV.
Since then, my family has always been loyal to Nintendo, and have owned each of the company’s consoles, and we often play games together as a family.
So that's why the subject of retro video games tends to pop up in conversation on the podcast. It's a subject I love!
If you do too, you'll likely dig these three episodes of our podcast.
SeeJayAre -- Episode 4 of Bonn Park
Video game guru and YouTube sensation SeeJayAre may just have the largest collection of video games in Canada, with nearly 6,000 games and over 100 different game systems.
Along with his young sons, he has scrounged garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores, Craigslist and Kijiji for the past 12 years, and practically 95 per cent of his collection was found in the wild, so to speak.
“I buy big bundles of video games, keep what I need, flip the rest and put that money back in the collection,” says SeeJayAre on Episode 4 of the podcast.
His Youtube channel has amassed more than 89,000 subscribers so far, and some videos get hundreds of thousands of views.
Listen to SeeJayAre's story on Episode 4 of Bonn Park.
Bill Davis -- Episode 97 of Bonn Park
Sara and I had the pleasure of chatting with Bill Davis, co-owner of one of my favourite places for games, Microplay.
I love that Microplay has a mix of old and new games, with consoles of yesteryear alongside state-of-the-art systems.
Bill Davis told us, “Retro video games have really taken off as you have people who are collectors who will collect two or three of the same game just so they can trade for other games that they want so they can build up their collection. And that’s really fun to see.”
Check out our fun conversation with Bill Davis on Episode 97.
Natassja Debra -- Episode 23 of Bonn Park
Natassja Debra is a wonderfully talented pianist, chamber musician, and private piano instructor in Waterloo Region.
She shared with me and Sara her story of moving from Indonesia to Canada, and her musical journey -- and her deep love for The Legend of Zelda video game franchise.
“Zelda is close to my heart, I’ve played Twilight Princess and Majora’s Mask and have always loved the melancholy music in The Legend of Zelda,” said Natassja.
I was enthralled to hear this because my whole family has been immersed in the Zelda franchise forever.
My family has played every game in the series, from Breath of the Wild, A Link Between Worlds, and Ocarina of Time to The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, and A Link to the Past.
As a special treat, Natassja performed live on the podcast Song of Storms, a composition from the Zelda game, Majora’s Mask.
If you want to hear some amazing conversation about -- and some beautiful music from -- one of my all-time favourite games, listen to Episode 23 of Bonn Park.
Want to re-live the excitement of games from your past? Or introduce newcomers to icons of the genre? Here are the Best Places to Find Retro Video Games in Waterloo Region
Remember the Commodore 64C -- the early home computer with titles like Archon, Space Taxi, and B.C.’s Quest for Tires? Good Time Games in Waterloo sometimes sees original systems like this come in, in pristine condition with accessories and games.
For the retro gaming enthusiast, these are rare and precious finds.
Good Time Games also regularly holds contests and giveaways (much like Bonn Park does -- follow us on Instagram).
If you love the games of yesteryear and today, you're pretty sure to find a good time at Good Time Games.
Another great place to find retro video games is at Peter’s Market Games, located in Peddler’s Village at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market. Peter has a wide selection of games from the ‘90s on consoles like Nintendo and Sega Genesis, with classics like Sonic the Hedgehog, Earthworm Jim, and Super Smash TV.
Looking for even older retro video games from the ‘70s and 80s? Check out both Market Road Antiques and St. Jacobs Antiques Market in the Township of Woolwich. There you’ll find classic systems like Atari, Intellivision, ColecoVision, and Vectrex, which came with the built-in game, Minestorm.
What's your favourite game franchise of all time? Want to talk about it? Tag us with your answer on social media.