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Seattle Retro Gaming Expo Founder Shares Picks For Vintage Games Still Worth Playing

Courtesy of Nathan Martin
Estelia Photography

Nathan Martin got the collecting bug in his early 20s. He accumulated more than 900 retro console games and arcade games — the same games he’d enjoyed playing as a kid growing up in Seattle, which he calls the “the Silicon Valley of video games.”

When he realized his collection was collecting dust on his shelves, he decided it was time to give back.

Martin, a former game play counselor at Nintendo, began attending and volunteering at gaming expos like Seattle’s Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), where he offered up his collection for attendees to play. Then in 2011, Martin and his friend Gerald Levinson decided to start an expo of their own, the Seattle Retro Gaming Expo.

The fourth annual expo will take place this weekend at the Washington State Convention Center, and showcase more than 30 vendors, artists and indie developers. The event will include a freeplay room, a silent charity auction and guest speakers from the video game industry.

Credit Courtesy of Nathan Martin / Estelia Photography
Estelia Photography

Martin says the word “retro” may have a different meaning for various attendees.

“What retro means to me, in terms of video games, is Nintendo and Super Nintendo. But to people a few years older than me, it means Atari and Intellivision. And to people younger than me, it’s going to mean PlayStation and Xbox,” Martin said. “And this is a great area for it, because you’ve got multiple generations that grew up in and around games. It’s part of the economy here; it’s part of our culture.”

So what are some retro games that both connoisseurs and novices of all ages might enjoy? Martin and Kinsey Burke, Seattle Retro Gaming Expo’s public relations director and fellow gamer, compiled a list of their favorites.

Greatest Games Of All Time

Final Fantasy IX (PlayStation)

Bionic Commando (Nintendo Entertainment Station)

Best Underrated Racing Games

Excitebike 64 (N64)

Snowboard Kids (Nintendo 64)

Best Games For Parents To Play With Their Kids

Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

Donkey Kong Country (SNES)  

Best Game To Show Your Kids Retro Games Are Still Relevant

Turtles in Time (SNES)

Images of game covers provided by Kinsey Burke, Lora Orsborn and Paul Tesi.