As a huge retro video game fan and collector, I love to interact with other people who share my passion for retro gaming. One of my favorite mediums to use when connecting with other retro enthusiasts is Instagram. There is a huge retro gaming community on Instagram and they welcome all new comers with open arms. I have been lucky enough to get to know people from all over the world who are into retro gaming and it is almost all thanks to Instagram.
One of the people I have been fortunate enough to get to know is Rob Cavaliere, or as he is known on Instagram, @TheVideoGameGuy_BoothsCorner. Rob is a retro video game enthusiast with an amazing collection of hundreds, possibly thousands of games and consoles. Not only is Rob a big collector of retro video games but he also owns his own retro video game store “The Video Game Guy” which is located in Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania.
Rob is very active on Instagram and he posts some of the most impressive and creative retro gaming photos I have ever seen. We have shared our love of retro gaming with each other for a long time now and I have even bought a number of video games from his store, which he was kind enough to ship to me, all the way to Ireland.
I think the world needs to know about The Video Game Guy and with that being said, Rob has kindly agreed to let me interview him about his collection, store, how he got into retro gaming and more. I will leave links to his website and Instagram account at the end, be sure to check them out and follow his page. So, without further ado, let’s get started…
What’s your background?
My professional background is in Accounting. I am a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) what would be known as a Chartered Accountant in other parts of the world. So, I’m sure the next question you have is…. How do you go from a CPA to selling video games?
Well, it goes like this! I have always enjoyed going to flea markets and yard sales…. So, I started buying video games & systems at local yard sales, flea markets & thrift shops in the early 2000’s and began selling on eBay in my spare time. I viewed it as a money making hobby! And at the time the only option for local buyers was GameStop and EB Games… so in late 2003 I decided to open up a store in a local Farmer’s Market (hence my Instagram screen name TheVideoGameGuy_BoothsCorner).
The market is only open on Fridays & Saturdays and the rent is reasonable. From that point, I developed somewhat of a local clientele and people started to bring their used video games and systems to me. Then, a few years back I had a my website developed (www.TheVideoGameGuy.com) which helped grow my client base… and as they say the rest is history!
How long have you been collecting video games?
I started playing/collecting video games at the age of 9 or 10. The first system I owned was Pong and I quickly graduated to the Atari 2600. We amassed 20 or 30 games for the Atari and played it continuously for the next several years. During that time I also had several handheld systems from that time period – Coleco Electronic Quarterback & Mattel Electronic baseball just to name a few. From there it was on to the Intellivision, the NES & SNES! After that, I got away from video games for awhile. It wasn’t until I bought a PlayStation in the late 90’s that I got back into video gaming.
What are your favorite games and consoles?
I am a big Nintendo fan…. but, don’t get me wrong – I enjoy other consoles as well – Atari, Genesis, Turbo Grafx and many others. Each system has certain games that I either associate with that system or I just enjoy playing on that particular system.
If I had to pick my favorite system – it would have to be the NES! To me, it’s simple d-pad and 2 button design makes it a simplistic yet challenging system all at the same time… I hope that makes sense. Whether you’re helping Mario rescue the Princess, guiding Link on a quest or helping Mega Man fight his way through a level….all you have at your disposal is that simplistic controller nothing else!
What is your favorite piece in your collection?
That’s a tough question! I have a few items that I treasure in my collection. However, if I had to pick my favorite it would be the Coleco Electronic Quarterback. Not because it’s the most expensive or the rarest item…but, because of the nostalgia and the memories that it brings back every time I play it. For me it’s all about the memories…. that’s why I end all my Instagram posts with the phrase “Enjoy the memories!” It seems that everyone can relate to that phrase.
Your Instagram profile is extremely popular with almost 30K followers at the time of this interview, what made you join Instagram and create your page @TheVideoGameGuy_BoothsCorner?
Last year a new merchant (Kapow Kitchen) opened in the farmers market where my shop is located and the owner Chef Wit Milburn @thaiguyde suggested that I setup an account on Instagram as a way to help market my shop. After some debate and some procrastination, I decided to give it a go! It started out kind of slow at first, but before you know it the account began to gain some traction and here we are! I really enjoy interacting with everyone on Instagram in the Retro Gaming Community, it’s a great place to make new friends, show off new goodies and even trade/buy games, it’s just an overall incredible community.
Do you have any advice for people new to Instagram?
My first recommendation is to be patient, you will gain followers over a period of time. Be sure to post quality content, interact with other members of the IG community and be sure to use hash tags to get your account noticed. Also, try to post once or twice a day at the very minimum… posting consistently and interacting with other members of the community is a great way to get your account noticed.
Do you have any tips for newcomers to retro collecting?
My first bit of advice would be to set attainable goals. This will allow you to track your progress and move toward certain milestones, for example: try to collect for a specific system or genre within the system or perhaps something that you are passionate about. Too many times people get into the hobby with little or no direction and end up with a bunch of unrelated items and tend to be unhappy with the results.
Also, make it a general rule to never compare yourself to other collectors, everyone has different budgets and are in different situations. So, be sure to collect within your means and stick to your collecting goals. Remember, collecting should be a fun experience not a stressful competition.
With regards to gaming, what are you excited about for 2017?
Most notably would be the anticipated release of the Nintendo Switch! If Nintendo can pull this off, I definitely think it will be a ground breaking system. Time will tell!
Personally, I am looking to 2017 to complete my NES North American set. Currently, I am at 668 of 679 total licensed titles released in NA. I have a combination of CIB games and cartridge only. However, when it comes to completing the NA Licensed set I am going for cart only.
Rob’s Website: http://www.TheVideoGameGuy.com
Rob’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thevideogameguy_boothscorner/
Thanks for reading, I hope you have enjoyed this insight on The Video Game Guy.
On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/retro_gamer_ireland/
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/naoiseoh