Tom Zizka tells us, “I'm not afraid to admit I dumped a lot of quarters through a lot of video games through my youth and college and everything else. (Kids, ask your grandparents how it worked.) This is something that we did. We played video games. They are making a resurgence. You can buy them for yourself. There's a place in Houston that does it. "
For those of us of a certain age, just the sound brings back a flood of memories. The pizza shop, the roller rink, the convenience store. Where we lined up our quarters to try our luck against the video enemies of our youth. You want to own some nostalgia? Joystix, Classic Games and Pinballs in downtown Houston is ready to help you. Owner Charlie Kallas tells us, “ Eyes light up. They look around. They're stunned for a while. Then they get acclimated and they start to say you know what? I think centipede would be cool in my house. After a while, you really don't hear the sounds.”
Charlie started the business more than 30 years ago. He was just 14 when he bought his first claw game to place in stores to earn a few bucks. He's been playing ever since, deciding it's better just selling the fun to other people. This story is loaded with dozens of games, most originals that have been meticulously refurbished and just as challenging as you remember. Pacman, Gallaga, Donkey Kong, they're all here. He thinks they beat the X-Boxes and Playstations any day. “They're hard to master. On a home game, you can start over, start over. Bragging rights, you have to have the high score. You want everyone to see that.”
Some of the old games get modern treatment as well. Like this massive 100 inch screen packman that lets everyone know how well you play or don't or this table top game loaded with more than a dozen favorites. Of course, nostalgic can cost a pretty penny. Many of the games can cost thousands of dollars. But for those in the market to buy, it can seem worth every penny.