It is on like Donkey Kong.
Do the kids still say that? Nevertheless, people of all ages have been crowding this retro video game shop, Game On, since it opened last month at 12 South Ocean Avenue in Patchogue Village.
The younger kids especially seem to be enjoying the throw-back experience, said manager Rob Maurus, who told us South Ocean Middle School students are a constant presence when school lets out on weekdays.
The store is stocked with retro arcade games and televisions with game controllers loaded with classics waiting to be played for free. (Free is good for middle schoolers.)
Maurus said these tweens and teens do not limit themselves to playing with recognizable characters such as lMario, Donkey Kong and Pac Man. They explore lesser known classics as well, like Q*bert and Battlezone.
That is, Maurus said, before they answer phone calls from their parents inquiring about their whereabouts.
And older customers take a trip down memory lane.
Maurus said they tend to head straight to the section of the shop that defined their childhood. For shoppers from around 18 to 25, this means the shop’s back-most corner where Nintendo Wii games fill the shelves.
Maurus, 38, who was a regular customer of owner Tristan Whitworth’s other locations in Miller Place and Smithtown before becoming the manager of the third, said customers his age seek out the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo offerings.
The Patchogue location is in the most walkable area of all the Game On shops.
While Maurus and Whitworth expected to have a quieter, softer opening, the store’s previous following coupled with the high-density village’s foot traffic surpassed their expectations.
“The other stores are mainly people who know what we have,” Maurus said. “Here, we have couples come in, go ‘Wow, we had this,’ and they get a system and everything for a Friday night. It’s pretty crazy. You get a mix, from collectors to the casual gamer to the people who are going to revisit their nostalgia and visit a couple of games.”
Whitworth started the store in 2015 “as a tribute to my brother Wesley, my family, and all who had helped me along the way,” according to the shop’s website.
Wesley, whom he described as “the rock of our family,” passed away in 2000.
“I grew up playing video games alongside my three brothers: Wesley, Brandon, and Rory.” Whitworth said on the store’s site. “Having played everything from Nintendo NES to Atari 2600 to Playstation, I will forever cherish the memories of long nights battling monsters, saving princesses, and leveling up our mighty characters.”