“We’ll start to sell old computer games, like floppy disk stuff, but it’s more retro consoles … Sega, Atari, PS1,” co-owner Matthew Warren said.
Vermont Gaming Academy opened Friday on North Main Street in Rutland. The shop, which also had locations in Burlington and Plattsburg, New York, will offer some products overlapping with the already-established Draw Go Games and the opening-next-week Two Ravens Games, but also hits a particular niche of its own — vintage video games.
“A little while ago I sold a huge collection of Commodore 64s and VIC 20s,” he said. “We have some pretty spicy old PS1 titles — Megaman, Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy.”
A wood-panel Atari 2600 occupied a place of honor in a glass case. Warren said that was probably the oldest piece of equipment in the store.
“Those have the most collectability, are the hardest to get our hands on and sell the fastest,” he said.
Warren said the vintage consoles with the most staying power are the Nintendo 64 and the GameCube.
Old game cartridges are restored to like-new condition, Warren said. He said they will take — and resell — newer games as trade-ins and offer controllers, cables and accessories for modern consoles.
“We do a lot of PS4 and Xbox 1 system repairs for people, too,” he said.
The store also had a small selection of Dungeons & Dragons materials — Warren said they’ll have regular in-store game nights — and a larger selection of Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic cards. One of the first customers through the door — and the first to actually make a purchase — 38-year-old James Rayborn, of Rutland, said he had made several trips to the Burlington location and was thrilled to have one closer.
“Do you have any idea how much … money I spend at the other store,” he asked. “My wife’s going to kill me.” Warren said they also plan a small selection of board games and will sell DVDS, particularly anime, and various anime toys.
Warren said Rutland seemed like the logical next expansion for the business. “We get a lot of people from all over the state who come to Burlington because it’s one of the most populated places in Vermont,” he said. “Rutland is the next, and we don’t get a lot of people from southern Vermont because it’s so far.
“We don’t like to think of other shops as competitors,” he said. “We try to work with the community — we send people their way, they send people our way … promote the stuff we all love.” While it might seem as if the gaming market in Rutland is suddenly crowded, Warren said he saw it as a positive.