I still remember some of the great moments I had playing 8-bit Nintendo. The night I beat Super Mario Bros. in one life. The dominance of Bo Jackson running over everybody in Tecmo Bowl. The epically excellent skateboarding portion of T & C Surf Designs (and the equally disappointing surfing part). Maybe it’s cliché to be nostalgic for the gaming system I grew up with, but to me the original Nintendo is still the best.
And it’s celebrated at Retro City Games, a shop just off Sunset and Valle Verde that’s like the neighborhood video stores I remember growing up. Games are displayed in a glass case. And there’s always clutter, because there’s always more to sort for owners Douglas Haughaboo and Nichole Ghougasian.
The 20-somethings have known each other for more than six years, and many of their date nights have involved video games. Their collection became so epic that they decided to put their years of retail experience into their own shop last year. “We weren’t expecting to be busy for the first six months,” Ghougasian says, “and it was busy from the get-go.”
They have systems ranging from Atari and ColecoVision to Intellivision and Dreamcast, plus games for them all. Nintendo (NES all the way to Wii U) is still the biggest market, with shoppers seeking their old favorites along with collector’s items like Aladdin, an import game that was PAL formatted. Most of the cartridges I saw were priced below $10. The entire 8-bit system will run you only $60, and the couple swaps out the pins so you might not have to blow into the cartridge as much.
But this place is about more than just games. Says Haughaboo, “It’s all about the community ... There’s no place for everybody to bond and come to.” With that in mind, RCG offers free game nights once a month that feature 20 TVs and a 110-foot projector screen. They hold bi-weekly tournaments and charity drives. And on June 28, they are sponsoring the premiere of the documentary Nintendo Quest, which will be screened at 2 p.m. in the UNLV Student Union.
Things are going well for Henderson’s premiere video-game couple. But should it all fall apart, Ghougasian has a plan. “To be honest, if it didn’t work, we would close our doors and start all over again somewhere else.”
Retro City Games 693 N. Valle Verde #5, 702-564-3011. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.