ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque video game enthusiasts will soon have a place to relive the classic titles of their past when a new retailer opens next month in Nob Hill.
We Know Video Games at 3025 Central NE will have its grand opening on Feb. 3. It is the fourth New Mexico location of the independently owned business, and will occupy a 5,000-square-foot space in the Lobo Theater complex.
Co-owner and founder Michael Brown, 32, who used to be a real estate agent, rediscovered his childhood passion for video games a few years ago, and it wasn’t long before he was buying and selling them to other enthusiasts.
Like many re-sellers, Brown soon realized there was a business opportunity when it came to retro games from the 1970s and 1980s, especially after looking up the value of the boxed titles he purchased.
“The retro gaming market is now on the collectible level, much like old comic books,” said Brown. He said the business’ core concept revolves around video games and systems, mostly from the ‘80s and ‘90s — items like the original Atari, Nintendos and classic arcade and pinball machines.
Many a rare video title never out of the box has been buried under a collection of useless artifacts or at a yard sale, in a garage or unearthed in the bedroom closet of a long-departed son or daughter, said Brown.
We Know Video Games first started in a kiosk at Cottonwood Mall three years ago, raking in $4,000 in sales in the first month. “It was like a blast from the past” for customers, he said. “Four months later, business was good enough to move into a retail storefront at Cottonwood,” said Brown, who later expanded to mall-based stores in Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Last year, the company generated $650,000 in sales, and there are 15 employees working among the three locations.
Brown will add four new employees at the Nob Hill store, which used to house a record store. At the new location, he plans to change the game plan by adding several vintage pinball machines to play for a quarter. Brown also will add board games to the product mix and host retro movie nights in the future.
“We hope to be a cool hangout spot for both UNM students and their parents,” said Brown.