Joining The Switch Effect in today’s Gabbin’ with Gamers is Chris (a.k.a. Nintendo Retro Love). Chris showcase plenty of retro Nintendo products on his Instagram page as well as has a website to show where one could buy a lot of these products. Being able to talk with a fellow Nintendo fan is more than enough reason to get to know more about Chris. So without further ado, here we go!
Chris, thank you for giving us this interview. We came upon your Instagram page & website and see that you’re a big collector. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi! Nintendo Retro Love (NRL) was founded this year in June by me (Christian Westermann) and was quickly joined by my two good friends and gaming buddies Marlon McDonald and Heiko Stammel. At that point Marlon was editor and content manager at Moviepilot/Now Loading, and Heiko is working as Head of SEO for a well-known German newspaper.
I myself have been collecting retro Nintendo stuff since my mid-twenties, the time when you sort of get back in touch with your childhood-self after the “I am too old for this stuff” phase. Of course you are never too old for Nintendo. If anything you are too damn grown up! Since then, collecting has gotten a real matter of the heart to me because it brings many beautiful memories and feelings of my childhood back to me. However, I was never much a games collector. I’m just a sucker for Nintendo magazines, these old wooden Nintendo cabinets, store demo units, store signs, and retro merchandise like shirts, figures, beer mugs and all that crazy stuff. And the fact that there is an endless amount of it out there. Since I can’t afford to buy all of it, I thought I’d at least bring value to the retro community by sharing the coolest stuff I find with everyone.
Can you tell us about how you got into gaming?
It all began in the very late 80’s (damn I’m, old) when my parents wouldn’t get me a NES because they thought I was too young. But my brother had a C64 and this was the first time I got to play video games like Wolfenstein, Batman or The Last Ninja. Later a friend that lived on the other side of the street got a NES with two games: Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. And what can I say? We were blown away by how great these games, especially Super Mario Bros., were.
What was the first console and game that you owned?
The first game system I had was the Game Boy. I got it on Christmas 1991 together with Tetris and Super Mario Land. It was one of the happiest days of my life.
Where have you been all our lives?
Do you have any fond childhood memories based around gaming?
So many. The Game Boy was basically with me everywhere. But I can remember very well how my happy place was always in the kitchen at our old house where I grew up. In winter, I loved to sit on the floor with my back leaned against the heater and play Super Mario Land. Even today, preferably on Sunday’s and when it’s cold outside, I like to sit down at the heater under the window and play Game Boy.
Were any of your family members enthusiastic about gaming?
My brother was a huge gamer. I think he had close to a thousand games for his Amiga back then. Needless to say my parents thought what all parents think: Games are dumb and turn you into a zombie. Haha!
Let’s jump forward a bit. Here’s one to get you thinking. If you weren’t a gamer, what would be your hobby?
Besides my fascination for games and retro merchandise, I am also a semi-professional musician. I play guitar in a rock band, and I think if I wouldn’t be a gamer I would just make more music.
As you’re aware, technology continues to advance the gaming industry. Have you been a fan of these changes?
I think advancement in general is a good thing. Sure I don’t like every aspect of modern games, like those constant updates in games, or the size of games using up all the space on your hard-drive. They force you to either delete older games or buy a bigger one. However, I am fascinated by the fact that people nowadays make a living from playing games online or writing about them. Through the advancement of games and the internet professional gamers have become kind of rockstars. I mean, how cool is that? I’m also super stoked about all that VR stuff.
Where do you think technology will bring us in the future?
Well, before we will be able to connect our brains to machines and enter a Matrix-like world where everything seems as real as in reality, I believe VR will blow up. The technology is still in its early stages and has some obstacles to overcome but I think our kids will be all over VR-MMORPG’s.
We at The Switch Effect are obviously big fans of Nintendo’s new console. What are your impressions of the Switch?
Beautiful, sleek and super practical. I think Nintendo really made a genius move with the Switch. The only thing I am disappointed about is that the console’s box art looks pretty lame.
Super Mario Kart Soap!
Which new games are you looking forward to the most?
Now that Mario Odyssey is out, I’d definitely say Skyrim and Metroid Prime.
Your Instagram page and website are very impressive and always enjoyable to view. What interested you in starting a social media account as well as a website dedicated to Nintendo merchandise?
The Instagram page was there months before I had a website or even a real plan what I wanted to do with it. All I knew was that I wanted to have an outlet for my geeky obsession with Nintendo memorabilia and merchandise. In June this year I finally started to upload some pictures of my collection and realized that there is a big retro gaming community on Instagram full of awesome people that are there to share and connect with like-minded collectors and enthusiasts. I immediately felt at home and started to just share cool stuff I stumbled over on eBay. Heiko was the one who eventually encouraged me to create a website around the Instagram page, and since I am a professional web-developer it was just the next logical step.
Can you explain your website in greater detail for those who may not have visited it previously?
The website is like a list of the coolest retro Nintendo stuff curated by a total Nintendo geek who spends way too much time online window shopping. It is updated daily with a collection of both rare Nintendo memorabilia and new, retro inspired Nintendo merchandise for sale somewhere. Most of the really rare and vintage stuff we find on eBay, like this really cool Nintendo ceiling fan from the 80’s I once found. But there’s also lots of new stuff like bedclothes that make your bed look like a NES console, or Nintendo fan art like Lamps made out of a Power Glove.
Last question now that I’ve run you through the gauntlet. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Yeah I want to say thank you loads for inviting me. This is my first interview about Nintendo Retro Love because we basically just started off in June and it means a lot to me. I wish you all the best with The Switch Effect!