'Retro Mania:' Gaming for the greater good

Tournment to be held Jan. 18
By Rachel Robles | Jan 13, 2014
Photo by: Donated photo RETRO GAMERS — Rob and Kelley Worth with their daughter, Aleia, stand next to their two 'multi-cade' machines.

Walking by @Home Computer Services on Main Street in Canton, one would never know that on the second floor of this solar-powered building is a treasure trove of arcade games, gaming systems and memorabilia of gaming days gone by. Retro Gamer, established February 2013 by owner/operators Rob and Kelley Worth, is the true passion of this native Michigan couple.

“I’m 43,” Kelley Worth said. “I’m as vintage as most of the games we have in our store … It started with my husband, Rob. He woke up one day and wanted to know where his calculator from third grade was, and it kind of went from there.”

Retro Gamer has two “multi-cade” machines on the first floor — arcade machines that contain multiple arcade games — in addition to old classic game consoles, games and computer systems which they buy, sell and trade. Upstairs is the museum that showcases their vast retro gaming collection and memorabilia.  Retro Gamer also sells full-sized arcade machines loaded with 60 classic arcade games from the 1980s.

“Saturdays are always busy,” Worth said. “The gamers here are so much fun. This is our livelihood,” Worth said. “The retro gaming community here — there is so much support.” And the Worths wanted to give something back.

They became friends with a group of men, known as the “Retro Junkies,” who produce a podcast about retro gaming systems called “The Retro Junkies Super Show.”

“One day,” Worth said, “we asked ‘What if we had a tournament?’ And they said, ‘That sounds awesome.’ And then we asked, ‘What if we benefitted someone?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, let’s do that!’”

Landon Long, one of the Retro Junkies, suggested they benefit Luc Gibson, a special-needs child in Canton with mounting medical bills. Gibson's mother, Sara Gibson, is good friends with Long's wife.

Thus, "Retro Mania" was born.

The tournament will take place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, upstairs above @Home Computer Services. Registration is $5 per person competing. The games slated for competition are “Ms. Pacman,” “Galaga,” and “Donkey Kong.” Prizes will awarded for the highest scores in each game, and a grand prize will be given for the highest score of all three. There will be door prizes from local restaurants as well as crocheted goods, and the Worths will be giving away some games and a game system or two. There will be an arts and crafts table for children. Participants are invited to come by at any time to play, compete and enjoy the company of other retro gaming enthusiasts.

All ages are welcome. In fact, the Worths’ 8-year old daughter, Aleia, is “raring to go.”

“She really wants to win Ms. Pacman,” Worth said.

“We have people coming from different states like Tennessee and West Virginia, and from other parts of North Carolina,” Worth said. “I don’t feel like they’re just going to give $5 — if you know what I mean. These folks just want to be in a place to retro game.”

Retro Mania will take place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at 87 Main St. in Canton. Registration is $5. Additional parking is available at the Champion Credit Union.  Additional donations will be accepted. All proceeds will benefit the family of Luc Gibson. For more information, call 648-1200.