The January gathering in Saaristobaari was all about retro games, and invited speakers were Antti Koski from Retromagia and Miikka Mannerlehto and Eero Pihkala from the Academic Nintendo Club in Turun Yliopisto.
Antti has started two retrogames shops in Hämeenlinna, and later joined Poromagia and expanded his business to Turku. The hobby of collecting older games has become popular in Finland during the recent years. Antti started by selling his own collection and later games and consoles he hunted down through fairs and other contacts. Some stuff he has even found in the garbage.
Antti explains this trend with the fact that people who played these games as kids are now getting older and can afford to start collecting games for nostalgic reasons. It is a bit insane, Antti says: Posters can be sold for over a thousand Euros in some cases. People even ask for Super Mario bed sheets.
Games that are unopened are of course the most valuable. If there is some game that is in demand, they will go looking for it. Currently their stock is quite full. Often they even have to through stuff away. For example, it could be difficult to sell Arcade game machines, because of the space that they would require. But perhaps the next step is to open an Arcade hall?
So what is a retro game? Antti draws the limit at PS2, or games and consoles that are no longer in production. No one is looking for a retro Xbox 360 (yet).
The rest of the evening it was possible to try Nintendo games supplied by the Academic Nintento Club in Turun Yliopisto. This club was described as a “hörhöseura” (flake club) by Miikka and Eero. But anyone is welcome to come and try games every second Wednesday, and sometimes at special game events. Once a month all the Nintendo stuff is brought out and can be tried and played.