This time round we visit the games room of Richard Evans AKA Retro Rich (@Richard31337) who first got into gaming via the Sega Master System at a young age. He admits to being quite new to arcade collecting and got his interest sparked by a friend who had a cab and lots of arcade PCBs. In early 2015 Rich started out building his own with help from Andy at Arcade World UK who helped him source parts and supplied the flat pack kit which he used to construct his first cabinet. In June the same year he purchased his second cab which was an Electrocoin Neo Geo MVS 6-slot system in need of restoration. Since getting that cab he has managed to secure 3 Twin Galaxies world records in Pulstar, Blazing Star and ZuPaPa. Gaming world records appear to run in the family too, with his son Ethan holding no less than 6 Twin Galaxies world records in Mario Kart Wii!
His latest additions to the arcade are an orginal Irem R-Type board which is now housed in a Video Wizard cabinet with custom R-Type marquee and an original Sega Shinobi board set. He is now gunning for the Twin Galaxies record on R-Type and says that his Pulstar and Blazing Star training has stood him in good stead. Watch this space!
Q and A with Retro Rich
When did you become interested in video games and what was the first arcade game you ever played?
Rich: I think I must have been about 5 when I first played on an arcade game. My uncle owned a pub and whenever we visited I got to have a go on a cocktail Space Invaders table he had in the bar which I loved. I think that’s maybe my earliest memory of an arcade game. The next time I recall playing on an arcade game was Atari’s Xybots which I remember vividly as it had a twist joystick which was a really cool way to turn giving the game a great 3D feel to it.
What was the first games console or computer you owned and how old were you? (already partly answered I know!)
Rich: The first computer I owned was a BBC Micro model B. Very lucky to own this one! My dad knew they were being used at school and since he was into computing he bought us a BBC. I do remember him bringing a Commadore PET home from work a few years before we got the BBC though so that was probably the first computer I actually had a go on.
What got you into collecting videogames, computers and consoles?
Rich: I still owned my Playstation 2, N64 and SNES from when I was growing up, so I dug those out a few years back and it made me wonder if I should get some more. I don’t have a very big collection to be honest, but I’m always looking out for more.
Where do you source parts for your arcade cabs?
Rich: For the vintage cabs I own I buy parts from other collectors on forums. This is by far the best way to get quality parts and good prices. If I’m buying new parts I get them from Arcade World UK most of the time. They’re really helpful and give great advice.
What is your most prized cabinet now?
Rich: That’s a tough one. I think I still have to say my Neo Geo MVS, but it’s followed very closely by the Video Wizard R-Type cab.
What is your favourite arcade cab manufacturer (Bally Midway, Taito etc.), and why?
Rich: I think the manufacturer I like most is Bally Midway based purely upon my favourite cabinet design, which is TRON. I love the lighting effects on this cab!
But I really like some other manufacturers too, so it’s a tough one. I feel I need to mention Williams for Defender and Robotron, Nintendo with their classics like Donkey Kong and Mario Bros and finally Atari who made some really beautiful and unusual cab designs like that of Star Wars and iRobot.
What is your favourite console/computer?
Rich: Wow that’s really hard one. I’m going to have to pick just one, I keep picking one console when people ask and they keep mentioning loads of others. OK, just one… The Super Nintendo. Love the control pads on this and the games are some of the finest. That was super hard! Must. Not. Mention. Sega… but I love the Megadrive too.
What console/computer have you least enjoyed playing?
Rich: That is a difficult question as I think that even with the worst hardware and worst games we made the best of it as kids and had fun in spite of the limitations or flaws. Still, you want the one I least enjoyed and here it is; At secondary school in the computer room we had many Amstrad IBM PC Compatible computers, and one game we played was Bruce Lee. I found it intensely frustrating and the graphics were terrible being displayed on a CGA monitor. Purples, Blues, Whites etc. Yuk!
The burning house scenario: which part of your collection would you save first?
Rich: My arcade cabs are all too heavy to move in that scenario :’-( so I suppose I would save my Neo Geo MVS games collection. Some of them are fairly pricey too.
The Desert Island scenario: which one (dedicated) cab would you take?
Rich: I think that would have to be Atari’s Star Wars, the full cockpit cabinet. Would love to own one of those.
What cab (if any) do you really wish was part of your collection?
Rich: So many! Well the Star Wars I mentioned above, and TRON would be amazing to own. Also a Williams Defender. I’d love to own a Nintendo R-Type US cabinet too, the side art and the tinted glass on that cab looks great.
Have you any tips for budding arcade cabinet builders/collectors?
Rich: If you’re looking to build a cab and you’re after advice then go on the forums (ukvac and jammaplus) as there are loads of helpful people on there happy to give advice. Retailers like Arcade World UK are also very knowledgable and happy to give advice. If you want to buy vintage or ready built cabs then again the forums are the place to look. You will also find them for sale on Ebay, but normally you’ll see the same cab for sale on the forum for a better price with advice to go with it so start there. Register and have a look round and see what’s going. I got both my Neo Geo MVS and my Video Wizard R-Type through collectors on these forums.
I’ve made loads of friends in the hobby and I think everyone I’ve bought something from I’m still in contact with or have been in the recent past. Great bunch of people!