Downtown store offers vintage gaming options

Leigh Black Irvin

FARMINGTON — A new store and game room that recently opened its doors downtown is targeting fans of vintage video game systems.

Oldskool Gaming owners Lori Barber and her husband Allen Barber offer a variety of vintage gaming systems at their store in downtown Farmington.

Oldskool Gaming, located at 427 E. Main St., is owned and operated by Allen and Lori Barber. The couple originally opened the store in January at a smaller location on Auburn Avenue, but after realizing they needed more room, they moved to their current location on Feb. 1.

In addition to buying, selling and trading game systems — modern ones in addition to vintage — the store also will offer game repair and cleaning services.

"We have all the game titles," said Allen, adding that the store also will carry small action figures and anything else related to video gaming.

The Barbers, who have seven children, decided to make vintage video games the focus of the store, as Allen collects them, and he noticed the kids and their friends love to play the older systems.

Oldskool Gaming owner Allen Barber displays some of the vintage gaming consoles his store carries on Friday.

"I worked as a mechanic for 15 years and always had a knack for finding old games," he said. "I'd play with them, then I'd put them on a shelf. The collection became bigger and bigger. When we began noticing that the kids were on the Internet too much, we brought the games down from the shelves, and the kids just loved them."

The store has a merchandise room displaying the many types of video game systems and accessories for brands such as Nintendo, Atari, Xbox, Sega, Game Cube and PlayStation. An attached room soon will be outfitted with televisions, tables and chairs, and will serve as a game/activity room where video game tournaments and other gaming-related activities will be held.

"We even hope to eventually have some really old games such as Frogger set up, as well as pinball machines," Allen said. "We want to find an old candy machine and keep it really '80s style."

By next month, Lori said, customers will be able to rent out the game room for birthday parties and other gatherings.

"We'll provide everything — the cake, plates, everything they would need," she said.

The pair are currently seeking donations of televisions — modern flat-screen TVs, as well as older models that can play the older games — to set up in the game room.

"We really need help building this game room," Allen said. "We'd love to find some sponsors to help out."

In addition to the video game tournaments, the couple also created some other enticements to draw people into the store.

Gaming controllers are displayed Friday at Oldskool Gaming in Farmington.

"Right now, we're doing a Super Nintendo raffle," Lori said. "For every $25 customers spend, they'll get a raffle ticket, and we'll draw for a prize every two weeks. We're also planning to have a daily game play from 3:30 to 5:30 so kids can come in after school, as soon as we get our TVs set up."

Allen said there isn't any other video game center like theirs locally.

"The closest thing here is an arcade in the mall," Allen said. "And none of the video game places throughout the state are doing tournament stuff like we want to do — they're not being interactive. We hope to eventually invite gamers throughout the state to come compete in the tournaments. We want to build something personal, where people work and play together — where people interact."

While they're already getting a good deal of interest in their gaming systems from people of all ages, Lori said she and Allen especially hope the gaming center will give kids something to do after school and during the summer months.

"We're trying to keep kids out of trouble," she said.

Added Allen, "We also want to reach out to special (needs) kids. They're really talented, and they need stuff to do."

A new business is not the only life change the Barkers have embarked upon recently. Their daughter, Alexandria, was born the day before Thanksgiving.

"This little girl loves Nintendo," Allen said, explaining that while Lori was in labor in the hospital, the couple, along with some members of the nursing staff, distracted themselves by playing video games Allen had brought in.

In addition, the pair married just a few days ago — in their store on Valentine's Day, surrounded by friends and family.

"It's exciting, because we're starting a new life in so many ways," Lori said.

Leigh Black Irvin is the business editor for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4621. 

If you go

What: Oldskool Gaming

Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Where: 427 E. Main St. in Farmington

More information: Visit the Oldskool Gaming Facebook page or call 505-360-9337