Australia’s First Video Gaming Museum

TheNostalgiaBox_Title1At last, Australia has a dedicated video games console museum! The Nostalgia Box is a museum dedicated to all things video gaming consoles. The museum opened its doors last month in Perth, and to say the public took to it like a duck to water would be a gross understatement.

Among the pew-pewing echoing in the museum, we caught up with the brainchild and boss level ninja of The Nostalgia Box, Jessie Yeoh, and asked her some hard hitting questions about her awesome museum.

AUSRETROGAMER [ARG]: Tell us how the idea behind The Nostalgia Box video game console museum came about?
Jessie Yeoh [JY]: I’ve always been interested in video games when I was growing up. Unfortunately I had to leave those behind as I got busy with studies and work, but the memories stayed with me. I get super excited when I see games I grew up with, and I figured many people must be going through something similar. My dad is a business man and he is someone I look up to, so starting my own business has always been my dream. When I was considering what I wanted to do long term, I thought, why not combine the two. I wanted to recreate those special childhood memories again and share them with everyone that comes in, and also show the younger generation how far we’ve come. That’s how the whole concept came about.

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ARG: Who are the people (the team) behind The Nostalgia Box?
JY: It’s a solo effort by myself but I’ve received a lot of help from friends and even complete strangers. It is amazing to see how passionate people are about this and just how far they’re willing to go to help with the Museum without expecting anything in return.

ARG: Where do you or did you source the classic gear from?
JY: Some items are from my personal collection but for the most part I have been buying at local markets, eBay, various websites and during my travels. A friend just bought a whole bunch of gear while traveling in Europe and will be bringing it back to Australia for us. We’ve even had visitors come in and donate their own games and consoles to the museum which is remarkable and makes me proud of what we are trying to accomplish here. Our collection of games and consoles just keeps growing!

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ARG: What consoles and games can the public expect to see at the museum?
JY: We want visitors to learn about the history of video game consoles, and what better way to do that than to let the consoles tell their story. We have almost 100 consoles on display, from the first generation through to the seventh. To name a few; we have the Magnavox Odyssey, the first commercial video game console ever released in 1972, Sears Tele-Games Pong which is Atari’s first home console; more popular consoles visitors are likely to be aware of such as the Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Mega Drive etc. Visitors can expect to see most if not all the consoles that have made a significant impact in video game console history from its early beginnings to what it is now. In terms of games available for hands on play, we want visitors to have an all rounded experience, so we try to have games and consoles from each generation. For example, we currently have Pong, Colecovision with Donkey Kong , Atari 2600 with Space Invaders, Nintendo Entertainment System with Super Mario Bros, Nintendo 64 with Mario Kart etc. We currently have 10 consoles hooked up for playing and will be adding more in the future. We will also be regularly rotating games for special events and upon request out of our extensive video game library.

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ARG: Will you keep adding classic gaming systems to the museum collection?
JY: We are pretty happy with the collection we have now, but will definitely keep a look out for other rare consoles that are important to the home console history. One particular console we would like to have is the Epoch’s Electrotennis which is Japan’s very first video game system released in 1975. Unfortunately this console is very rare and very expensive.

ARG: Do you have permanent exhibits or will you rotate the collection?
JY: The exhibits pertaining to the history of gaming consoles are comprehensive and will remain permanent exhibits. As for our gaming area, we will rotate the games to be played regularly and for events. But we do have plans to do special themed exhibits in the future, we will see.

ARG: Are all of the exhibits interactive?
JY: Yes very much so, the experience is twofold. Visitors can learn about the history and background of each console and how gaming developed, then proceed to our gaming area where they can actually interact with a range of consoles, enjoy themselves and experience history.

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ARG: Will the museum branch out to arcade and/or pinball machines, or will it just remain as a console museum?
JY: If all goes well, we would like to branch out to other systems like arcade and computer in the future, truly making this a nostalgic experience for everyone, not just home console gamers.

ARG: When did the museum open officially?
JY: We opened our doors on the 16th of December in time for Christmas and we’re open 7 days a week.

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ARG: What is next for The Nostalgia Box?
JY: We intend to implement more events to help foster a local retro gaming community. Keep an eye out on our Facebook page for themed gaming nights, tournaments and other kinds of great events. Still too early to say if the concept works, but if all goes well and the museum becomes sustainable on its own, maybe one day we’ll consider branching out to other states. But Perth is our home for now.

ARG: And before we let you go, do you have an all–time fave gaming system and/or game?
JY: It is a very cliche answer, but Super Mario Bros. on the NES is my all time favourite game (ARG: ours too!) not only because it is a classic but also because it brings so many fond memories of playing and fighting over the controllers with my brothers. Sometimes they would give me an extra controller that wasn’t even plugged in and because I was so young I thought I was playing. These are some of the nostalgic memories we hope to invoke from our visitors as well as create new ones for the next generation of gamers.

If you are in Perth, you have no excuse, you must visit The Nostalgia Box museum for your retro gaming fix. For everyone else, if you intend to visit Perth, then you must experience some video gaming history at The Nostalgia Box.

What: The Nostalgia Box – Video Game Console Museum
Where: Shop 3, 16 Aberdeen Street, Northbridge, WA 6000
Open: 7 days; 9:30am to 5:00pm
Admission Fee: Adults $14; Family (2 adults 2 children) $40; Concession: $10

TheNostalgiaBox_2images supplied by: Jessie Yeoh – The Nostalgia Box Museum