Local stores keep retro games alive

by Zach Walton

Video games are part of a massive industry that is always moving forward. As such, the big stores like GameStop and Best Buy typically only sell the latest and greatest games.

What’s are college students who want to relive their earlier video game memories to do?

Thankfully, three stores in Lexington have a retro focus that can answer this question.

Game King, a four-store franchise founded in Kentucky, opened last year in the Eastland Shopping Mall off Winchester Road. The entire right side of the store is lined with retro games from “Atari 2600” to “Sega Genesis.”

Matt Mooningham, Lexington’s Game King manager, said the strength of Game King is that “anybody who is a gamer will find something.”

He’s probably not exaggerating as virtually every console is represented from the old to the new, including the popular and the obscure.

Mooningham said Game King’s focus is on presentation. The store cleans and repairs all consoles and games it receives so that they appear presentable and look like new.

He went on to say Game King’s selection of retro games is “unmatched.” If  the store doesn’t have what a customer wants, they will find it for him or her, Mooningham said.

What’s the rarest game or console Game King sells? Mooningham displayed a copy of “Earthbound” in its original box with game guide for $495.

Another recent addition to Lexington is Disc Replay. Located on West Tiverton Way off Nicholasville Road, Disc Replay deals in just about every form of used media.

Like Game King, Disc Replay’s entire right side of the store displays an extensive selection of retro games and consoles.

Disc Replay employees Aaron Powell and Matt Baker said the best thing about the store is the community it fosters.

“We have regulars,” Baker said. “We know our customers. Our customers give us our inventory.”

When asked what the rarest item Disc Replay has, Powell and Baker pointed to a TurboGrafx-16 and Panasonic 3DO.

3D Games, located in Fayette Mall, may have the smallest facility out of the three, but it has no less heart. There are cases full of retro games for potential buyers to browse through, as well as demo units of retro consoles on the store floor for anybody to pick up and try.

3D Games employee and UK history senior Tommy Stuart said while 3D Games may not have the selection or size of other stores, it has one attriubute that sets it apart:

“Our location in the mall makes us unique,” Stuart said.

Stuart said 3D Games is moving from the new games market into the quality used market, which means that it is now cleaning and refurbishing all used games and consoles brought in to the store.

Stuart was also quick to point out that he is proud of the staff at 3D Games. He said all the employees are knowledgeable in a certain genre or field of gaming so that they can better serve their customers.

Stuart said copies of “Virtual Boy” and “Magnavox Odyssey” still in their boxes are the most rare items 3D Games has, though these items are not for sale.

While these three stores are competing against each other, they seem to have an amicable relationship. Every employee made mention of loving the other stores and sending customers to their competitors if they did not have a specific game in stock.

There may be three retro game stores in Lexington, but they all serve a purpose in the community and to each other. It’s all about the love of the game and preserving that love for old and new fans alike.