Friday, July 3, 2015
Perth's Newest Retro Gaming Store, Retro Levels (and free shit from McDonald's)
Unrelated of course, but there is in fact a new retro gaming store on the block and McDonald's are giving away free cups. What a wonderful time to be alive.
I mean, seriously though - $6.50 for a large cheese burger meal from Mackey D's is wonderful value on its lonesome and is easily the cheapest route to obesity. But when the nice man gave me that cup in the drive-through, I was over the moon.
I won't let that distract from what I actually want to write about here though. Yes, the title is correct; Perth has yet another retro gaming store. Can you believe it? I certainly would of flipped my shit if you told me this three years ago.
Hot on the tails of Player  opening its doors in North Perth about a year ago, Retro Levels has opened a small storefront in the Gosnells Railway Markets. Here's a photo I stole from their Facebook page as I forgot to take my own:
The retro store-displays out front are a super nice touch, and seemed to do a great job of drawing customers in. There were plenty of people walking in and out during my fifteen minute or so visit, and it honestly seemed like the busiest stall in the markets.
They have a super extensive range, covering all the consoles you'd expect plus a few more. Among N64 and PlayStation games were also oddities like the Famicom Disk System (just games though, unfortunately no systems) and items that are hard to come by in Perth like the Sega Saturn (but again, only games).
The prices weren't too bad, but I feel that Player  is still priced better. This would likely have to do with how the stores are run, as Player  also offers music lessons (which is the main business bringing the cost of the games down) while Retro Levels only sells games and consoles. So for this instance, I totally understand the higher prices as they do have a business to maintain and keep financially stable.
Having said that though, it wasn't as if the prices were ridiculous. I mean, I do find the common online prices of games to be god-awful compared to a few years ago, but Retro Levels does keep its prices in-line with those. So, if there was a game you really wanted, you could buy it here for roughly the same price as online but play it the same day instead.
There are other perks when buying from an actual shopfront too. For example, I was issued with a receipt (fat luck getting one of those on eBay or Gumtree) and upon checking the games out in my car later on (while slowly killing myself with junk food) I opened the shopping bag they were placed in to be greeted with a strong whiff of rubbing alcohol. They had already been cleaned, and I mostly had no trouble getting the games I bought to play first go.
I ventured into Retro Levels with the soul purpose of expanding my SNES and Game Boy collections, but found very few SNES games under $20 and the Game Boy cartridges were hard to sort through.
Most SNES games under $20 were sports games, which are gross, but I did manage to find some interesting looking games on the cheap. Not hugely known titles of course, but I think they will end up as interesting enough reviews.
Super Dropzone was $15 and is a port of the 1984 Atari 400/800 and C64 release (simply titled 'Dropzone') by Archer Maclean. It's much like Defender in the way it plays, and you play a scientist who's defending his research base on Jupiter from aliens.
Vortex cost $14 and is an interesting Super FX enabled release that has you controlling a mech. I haven't played too much of it yet to really give a comprehensive description, but it's a 3D mech shooter on the SNES, so of course I have high hopes.
Lastly I bought Mole Mania for the Game Boy, and that cost $11. They really need to fix how they sort some of their handheld games, as loose carts for the Game Boy Colour, original Game Boy and Sega Game Gear are all just chucked into a large container. It took me quite a while to sort through that and find anything of interest, but the good news is that most cartridges in there were under $10.
I first picked up Mole Mania because it reminded me of Monty Mole (honestly!) but on further inspection I found it to be a puzzle game partly developed by Nintendo EAD and it's one of the least known titles by Shigeru Miyamoto! I say, what a surprise. I haven't played it beyond shoving it into my GBC to see if it works, but I'm certainly looking forward to giving it a review.
So, final thoughts about Retro Levels? For the most part, I'm quite impressed. The major downfall I can see at the moment is that there are no Eftpos facilities - which is a bummer. Luckily there are ATM's scattered around the markets, but for dudes who hate-on cash like myself, adding Eftpos is needed. I certainly think they could support it, as they seem to be doing great business.
While I'm not totally digging the prices, I do understand why they're at the level they are, and they're definitely at a range that people would be willing to pay.
Unfortunately I doubt I'll be going back too frequently though, but this mostly has to do with its location (which is absolutely nowhere near where I live). I'm sure it will become a local haunt for any collector who lives on the Armadale side of the city though, and I can imagine it will stay in business for a while yet.
Retro Levels is open from from 9am-5pm Thursday to Sunday (and public holidays), and by appointment 9am-5pm Monday to Wednesday.
It can be found at the Gosnells Railway Markets (1 Fremantle Rd, Gosnells).
For more information: