Nostalgia driving video console museum

David Green describes himself as a child of the 80s, raised on a diet of classic video games.

He would play Crash Bandicoot on PlayStation 1 for hours at a stretch, questing after gems and crystals and searching for secret levels.

“I still remember the excitement I felt when I first played Super Mario Bros on my new Nintendo Entertainment System,” the Perth native told AAP.

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Even at age 34, some of the excitement hasn’t waned.

Mr Green is the proprietor of Perth’s Nostalgia Box, one of only a handful of video game console museums in the world.

It’s been inundated with visitors over the school holidays but only recently, he was worried Nostalgia Box could itself become a thing of the past.

Mr Green took over the venue in 2019, just before the pandemic forced it to close and shut off the international tourists who made up three-quarters of its trade.

When the museum reopened the following June, Mr Green quickly realised it would have to rely on repeat local visitors to survive.

He set about launching video game quiz nights and “Pokemon and Pizza” events.

“We managed to keep our heads above water without tourism, so now that the borders are opening up we’re expecting hopefully a lot more people,” Mr Green said.

With about 100 games on display at any time, the collection begins with the first commercial home video game console ever released.

The 1973 Magnavox Odyssey didn’t have the capacity to track game scores, it had no audio and its screen could display a total of three square dots and one line.

“It was the forerunner, the grandfather of all video game consoles,” Mr Green said.

The museum also features an Atari Pong system from the same era, along with Atari 2600s, original Nintendo Gameboys, a Nintendo 64 and early Playstations.

There’s also Mario Kart, Pac-Man and, of course, Space Invaders.

Some of the rarer items are kept behind glass but up to 30 video games are available for visitors to try.

Although Mr Green has had to replace the occasional broken joystick, he says vintage gaming gear is surprisingly tough.

“For the most part everyone’s always very gentle, even the young kids understand what’s going on – mostly they are in awe about how amazingly old some of the stuff is,” he said.

While much of the collection was acquired online from retro enthusiasts with some pieces worth thousands of dollars, fans regularly donate their old consoles and screens.

“If anyone has got a Nintendo power glove they would like to give us, we would love to take it off their hands,” Mr Green said.

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