Next to the Central Institute of Technology in Northbridge, Western Australia is The Nostalgia Box – a gaming museum showcasing the history of gaming while offering attendees the chance to play a selection of video game consoles. I sat down with owner Jessie to discuss how The Nostalgia Box came about.
Another Dungeon: Thank you for allowing Another Dungeon to do an interview with yourself at The Nostalgia Box here in Perth. Starting off, give us a rundown of what The Nostalgia Box is and what people can expect when they come in?
The Nostalgia Box: The Nostalgia Box is a video game console museum. We have two parts – one part is the museum where people can come in and learn about the history of video games, see where it all started, how it became what we have today. After that, they can come to our gaming area to experience old school gaming.
AD: On the website you mention that there are educational experiences that The Nostalgia Box has. What sort of educational experiences can people gain here?
TNB: So, the educational side would be the history and to learn about all the people who could make this possible and to learn some fun facts. Like, Pac Man’s design is a pizza with one slice taken out. So, there’s all these interesting facts and to learn about the history.
AD: I had a look through the museum and there are lots, lots of consoles, it’s really impressive. What’s the earliest console, and also the earliest game that you have here at The Nostalgia Box?
TNB: The earliest console would be the Maganvox Odyssey, the first ever video game console ever produced. And also the Pong game, and a few variations of the Pong game are playable on the console.
AD: What sort of range of gaming can you expect to play at The Nostalgia Box?
TNB: The consoles that we choose to put out are the ones that are popular and made an impact in history. So, we’ve got Pong, ColecoVision which has Donkey Kong. Atari 2600 – you can’t miss that. And then the NES – the Nintendo Entertainment System – which is another huge one. And then after that it’s the popular consoles, the Mega Drive, Super NES, Nintendo 64 – the ones that are popular and everyone loves and can relate to.
AD: Where did the idea of The Nostalgia Box come from? And how did you go about collating everything for the museum?
TNB: I grew up with two older brothers, and we used to game a lot. My first console was the NES, and my favourite game was Super Mario Bros. I played that a lot when I was little and always loved it, but I grew out of it. I went to Uni and I just stopped playing video games. I thought it would be great if I could go back again and play these favourite games. That’s how it all started.
With the museum side, as I was researching into the idea, I found that the history was very interesting. I thought many people should know about it and learn about it, and that’s how the museum side came about.
AD: The Nostalgia Box is based in Perth, and up until recently there haven’t really been that many video game places around, did you kind of think ‘is this the right place to do it’ or did you ever think of going over east to do it? I understand this is one of the first in Australia.
TNB: This is the only one! It was a struggle to actually decide to do this, because this is a unique business as well. You don’t know how people will react to it or receive it, but I guess why I chose to set it up in Perth, because Perth city you don’t have a lot of places to go for tourists so I thought it would be a good addition to what we already have and be interesting.
AD: I’m glad that something like this exists, not just in Australia but probably selfishly, in Perth. So, thank you for setting it up in Perth. There’s been a lot of great feedback on social media for The Nostalgia Box, what do you feel has been the best reaction with how the public has reacted to seeing this place?
TNB: There are a few reactions, one is from the older people our age who are like ‘this is awesome, it brings back all the memories’. The second one is that people think it’s great for Perth because it’s very unique and it makes Perth even better. They’re the main two reactions I always get.
AD: Do you have a favourite?
TNB: It would be the people who say it brings back memories. If I’ve helped people relive their childhood, then I’ve done my job!
AD: What is your most treasured item here? Either that you worked the hardest to get, or are just proud to have it here?
TNB: That’s a good question. I always get people who ask me ‘which is the hardest one to get?’ I don’t know, if I don’t get it once, then I just keep looking, and then you’ll find something. To me, as long as you keep looking, you’ll find it, it’s not hard. My proudest would be Pong. It’s not hard to find, but it is a big part of history, and it is really fun. It is one of my favourite games in here.
AD: It is so simple, and it is such an enjoyable game to play.
TNB: A lot of people on their first time playing it think, this is easy, but as soon as you start playing it, you see this is so hard, but it is so fun.
AD: So, wrapping up, we’ve got some quick fire questions about what your favourite one is out of the options. So, starting off: SNES or Mega Drive?
AD: Mario or Sonic?
AD: Tetris or Asteroids?
AD: Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat?
TNB: Mortal Kombat.
AD: Finally, Donkey Kong or Pac Man?
TNB: Donkey Kong!
AD: Any parting thoughts about The Nostalgia Box?
TNB: This is a place for people of all ages, no matter if you’re a retired gamer, or a young gamer, come in and learn something and you’ll have fun guaranteed.
The Nostalgia Box is based at Shop 3 16 Aberdeen Street, Northbridge, Western Australia and is open seven days a week from 9:30am to 5:00pm. Admission is $14 for adults, $40 for a family and $10 for concessions.
If you’d like to know more you can visit their website at http://thenostalgiabox.com.au/