Jeff Jimenez's Video Game Nostalgia

Local video game arcades have nothing on Jeff Jimenez.

As a lifelong fan of video games, Jimenez probably has any game in any platform you can think of. His collection of video games includes around 2,500 titles, and he has all gaming systems dating back to Atari.

Jimenez, who works in gaming and merchandising at Best Buy, loved to play Atari and Nintendo games as a kid, with his favorites being Miner 2049er, The Legend of Zelda, and Ninja Gaiden.

These days, he works at maintaining his massive game collection, which has its own room at Jimenez's west side townhouse.

Jimenez been collecting games in earnest for the past eight years. He says he got into collecting when he stumbled upon an online community of game collectors called Digital Press. He finds many of his games through that site, but says he also finds treasures at swap meets, garage sales, and pawn shops. In fact, he found his most rare game at a pawn shop near 67th Avenue and Peoria.

The game is called Stadium Events, and it was manufactured for Nintendo briefly in 1987. Jimenez says no one's sure how many copies of the game still exist, but that on a good day, Stadium Events (just the game cartridge, not including the box) sells for up to two thousand dollars. He paid $5 for his copy."I go to places like pawn shops because people are just selling the games off, and don't know how much they're worth," he says.

In addition to Jimenez's vast collection of Nintendo games, he's got shelves upon shelves of games for Playstation, Wii, Atari, and Sega. His own favorite gaming platform is the Sega Saturn, which he says was released in Japan but failed on the market here. "The Sega Saturn has a lot of excellent 2D games," he says. He finds games for his Sega Saturn at Bookman's and Digital Press.

Like a collector who truly treasures his collection, Jimenez keeps his video game room dark. Even sun coming through the blinds can fade the colors on his video game boxes.

He doesn't attend gaming conventions because of the time and money required, but says he likes to have friends over for game nights. "It's fun to bring back people's nostalgia on this stuff," Jimenez says.

In addition to the rare Stadium Events game, Jimenez also has Atari games like Centipede and Alien, classic NES games like Mike Tyson's Punch Out, and all the gear for two of his more contemporary favorites, Rock Band and Guitar Hero.

Asked what video game he's been looking for but can't find, Jimenez smiles. "Pretty much everything I've wanted to play, I've found," he says. "I have pretty much everything I want."

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea