An Interview With Robert Nordmann: Vintage Video Game Guru

by Eric Kallenborn
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Robert with some of his favs!

Hey, friends!  It’s my pleasure to bring you an interview with one of my old pals Robert Nordmann.  Robert grew up in Brookfield, IL., and he currently lives in Michigan with his 37 video game systems!  He has been collecting for over 17 years and has held a position at a specialty video game store.  His favorite system: Super Nintendo, of course!

 

Me: Hey Robert!  Thanks for doing this interview for us.  Can you tell me a little about your massive video game collection and share a couple of your favorite pieces?

RN: No problem, Eric!  I started collecting vintage video games out of necessity because when I was growing up, the newest system at the time was the PS2, which my older brothers wouldn’t even let me touch, let alone play!  So I was forced to play the “hand-me-down” game systems, which included the original front-loading NES, the SNES, and original Gameboy.  This allowed me to become a regular at my local used game store (which I would continue to visit for the next 15 years!) where I would buy games based off of how cool the label looked.  One day I found a game called Castlevania on the NES and it would be the first game I ended up collecting.

One of my favorite items in my collection is ironically a game that I can’t even play!  It’s a Yar’s Revenge cartridge for the Atari 2600 which came out of the legendary Atari landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico.  In 1983, Atari had so many unsold games sitting in their warehouses that they couldn’t sell to consumers.  They decided to cut their losses and dump the games in a desert landfill.  This would create one of the game’s most popular urban legends, which would be proven to actually exist in 2014.  I am honored to have one of these incredible cartridges in my collection.

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Another fav of mine is my Adam computer which was pretty much the last thing that ColecoVision released before they went bankrupt.  It essentially is a ColecoVision built into a computer that had a tape drive to read games, operated a printer, and could run BASIC.  It’s huge, primitive, and beige…and I love it!

Me: I loved Yar’s Revenge as a kid!  It was one of my first games.  What is it about older video games that keep people coming back for more?  Is it just nostalgia?  Or is it something more?

RN: I would say nostalgia definitely has something to do with it, but you can’t apply that to everyone who enjoys retro games.  Personally, I didn’t grow up playing more than 50% of the games in my collection.  I remember a game called Fast Food on the Atari 2600 that reminded me of a current app store game with how fun and addictive it could be…at 30+ years old!  So I think it depends on the person.  If you enjoy a certain type of game that is only available on a vintage system then it’s really more about personal preference versus nostalgia.

Tips for breaking into video game collecting

Me: Do you have any tips or tricks for people looking to break into the collecting of vintage video games?

RN: Always have patience when you are first starting your collection.  There are literally thousands of vintage games out there and if you start buying up anything and everything that you see, you will quickly become flooded with games that you may not enjoy or worse yet…not even play!

Start out by collecting games you are interested in.  If you enjoy LOTR for example, start looking for games similar to LOTR.  It’s a great way to save money and frustration early on.  I also can’t say enough about how useful Wikipedia is.  If you see a vintage game that you have never heard of, Google it!  Read articles and have fun doing the research.  There is always something new to learn!

Me: If you had an action figure, what three accessories would it come with and why?

RN: 1. The Golden Gun from The Man With The Golden Gun Bond film because every action figure should have one.

2. Gandalf’s staff because you never know when you might run into Balrogs.

3. Night vision goggles, always super handy, and super cool!

Spindizzy

Me: If you could develop a new video game that would take the market by storm, what type of game would it be, and what band or musician would you get to do the soundtrack?

RN: Great question!  Spindizzy, which was created by Paul Shirley in 1986 as well as a sequel released in 1992 on the SNES has always been one of my personal favorites.  The game is a puzzle platform similar to Marble Madness, and it’s a shame that no one has ever tried to remake/release a new game in the series, so I would love to make a Spindizzy game.  It would feature a whole new graphics engine, gameplay mechanics, and also a level-editing tool that would allow players to build new maps to add to the game and upload them so other people could play them, similar to Super Mario Maker.

For the soundtrack, I would bring in the original composer of Spindizzy Worlds, Akiko Hashimoto along with Rick Wakeman and Geddy Lee!

Me: That sounds amazing!  Anything else you’d like to say before we get out of here?

RN: Sure!  GoCollect has been doing a fantastic job working with comic books and the people who collect them.  I wish them all the best in their new endeavors with vintage games.  I am honored that I could take the time and do this interview!  Good luck, guys, and peace out!

 

I’d like to thank Robert for that awesome insight into not only his collection but collecting in general!

I appreciate you all reading!  Happy collecting!

Eric

@comics_teacher

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