Marquette Wire

New store haven for retro gamers

Make Cents Variety Store allows players to reminisce childhood.

Dennis Tracy, A&E Reporter

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Retro gaming has become a hobby for many of the die-hard gamers out there.

Big games coming out this fall like “Halo 5: Guardians,” “Stars Wars Battlefront,” and “Xenoblade Chronicles X” are enough for a modern day gamer to get excited about spending $60 at the nearest electronic store.

Introducing, Make Cents Variety Store on 4631 W. National Ave., a new retro gaming shop in South Milwaukee. Owners Chuck and Sherema Deau opened their doors up for business in May of this year.

The store allows gamers to truly appreciate how far the industry has developed over the last 40 years, players need to look back at the games of the Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Crash Bandicoot franchise on the original PlayStation or Sonic the Hedgehog on the SEGA Genesis. The graphics, the controllers, the chipbit music found on the cartridges are all important elements into how gaming has changed over the years.

Gamers need places where their legacy can be appreciated by other gamers, and where they can find classic games at affordable prices instead of turning to scalpers and eBay to obtain a copy of a rare Nintendo 64 game.

When customers first walk in, they will notice a collection of PlayStation One games in a display case, and to the left is a collection of 80s action figures. Chuck Deau describes himself as an 80s child, growing up with Alf and the A-Team. These action figures give him an opportunity to remind himself of his childhood. The arcade cabinet featured Mega Man II from the NES era, but other games can be swapped out and hooked up for customers to play.

“It’s more of a hobbyist thing,” Deau said about working these custom built arcade cabinets.“I learned that in the industry of working on Pacmans and Jukeboxes, and I kind of translated that into what I do for fun, which is console home gaming.”

The store has divided its games by genre. The sports games are hidden away in the back, while the action games are towards the front.

“It’s almost like milk in the grocery store, we’re going to make you walk to the back of the store,” Deau said.“You come in here, and you get lost. Lost in your memories, and nostalgia, and it just feels good being here.”

The owners want their customers to feel like they can come back at any time, so they offer a rewards card where every $10 they spend at the store, they can get a stamp. After ten stamps, they can get $20 in store credit.

“If we went to another store, these are the prices we would want to see personally and if we can get an added discount on top of that, then you have our business for life,” Chuck said about how he determined the prices for the games and why they came up with the reward system.

“With my husband being a gamer for years, he just feels like he wants us to be the kind of store that he would want to walk into, and see prices that he would want to pay,” Sherema said.

For right now, the Deaus plan to keep their store where it is, but they do hope they will get bigger to obtain more space as the backroom is full of games that have yet to be unboxed.

“I think in all of the years of watching bars open and close,  I’ve learned a lot and we have a more step-by-step approach,” Chuck Deau said about expanding their business. “It’s inevitable that we will get bigger.”

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About the Writer
Dennis Tracy, MUTV Executive Entertainment Producer

Dennis Tracy is a digital media major from Palatine, IL. He has previously worked as a production volunteer for MUTV before becoming an entertainment producer...

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