It’s hard to imagine a time without quite a few things, each list is different for everyone, but one thing that would be in the Top 10 for many people would be video games. Video games have been around since the 70s and the industry has been growing rapidly since. Companies like Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are releasing new consoles (Next Gen Xbox, new versions of the Switch, and PlayStation 5) and new video games are being released every day, but what happens if you want to take a trip down memory lane and play a game from your (or your parents) childhood? Well, here in Bowling Green, we have just the store that can help you out!
Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro is a retro store that carries a variety of video games and toys. The owners, husband and wife Jon and Kayla Minniear, started collecting video games around the time when they first started dating. Kayla had bought Jon an original Nintendo for Christmas and it took off from there. They would buy games in bulk and at garage sales and soon they would have duplicates of the same game. They did a season at some flea markets and began looking for space to open a shop. Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro opened their first location in late 2016 and quickly outgrew it. Now in 2019, they are in a bigger space (127 S. Main St.) that also boasts an art gallery and can house tournaments!
In addition to Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro, Ohio boasts over 100 retro video game stores. Ohio is actually a main area for retro collectors, smaller conventions, and video game stores. Kayla stated that retro game collecting has become way more popular, but new-gen gamers often download their games more. People that generally collect these games are in their 30s, but they also get college kids that have read blogs or watched videos about retro games and come in to buy these games so they can see what these people are discussing. When kids come into the store, it is mainly the parents that they come in with that will buy the games that they played when they were younger so they can show their kids.
With those things in mind, it makes sense that an event like Free Video Game Day exists. Wait…what? Back up, did you say Free Video Game Day? Why, yes friends, I certainly did and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro is one of the 3 stores in Ohio (and one of the first few stores in the country) that is participating! It started in 2013 when a video game store wanted to show their appreciation for their customers. The founder of Free Video Game Day, wanted to keep up the excitement from Free Comic Book Day, so FVGD has happened on the second weekend in May for the past 6 years. The store also wanted gamers to look outside of the box and expand their taste to a wider video game experience, thus Free Video Game Day (or FVGD) was born!
Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro is giving free games to the first 50 customers, the games range in price from $5-$20, can be for any console (no Nintendo Switch titles, but lots of other great console games are available) and can be any genre! Jon and Kayla are also encouraging everyone that comes out to the store to dress up as their favorite video game character.
With thousands of titles to choose from (we tried doing the math, but ran into some issues) it may be hard to decide where to start, when asked about what games they would recommend across the wide variety of systems, both Jon and Kayla agreed that they recommend the classics like Mario, Sonic, Crash Bandicoot, Zelda, Spyro and Kirby. As far as their favorite games go, Kayla is partial to Bust-a-Groove, Bust-a-Groove 2, Tobal No. 1 for the original PlayStation, and Kirby for the Nintendo Entertainment System while Jon’s favorite are the original Legend of Zelda and Bioshock on every console.
You can learn more about FVGD by going to www.freevideogameday.com. Keep up to date with everything Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro has going on by following them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Free Video Game Day starts at 11am on Saturday May 11, 2019, stop out and maybe you’ll discover a new favorite game!