Tag Archives: retro gaming

More Game Chasing in Rockford, IL

It has been many months since my last update about chasing retro video games here in Rockford. Since then a few new stores have opened up to replace the lost Gamewerks.

1. TNT Games, 845 S Perryville Rd Suite 115

This is your standard video game resale shop. Nothing too special about it. The staff has been friendly every time I’ve visited. However, their prices on NES and SNES games are quite high. I’m talking $5 for sports titles and $10 for other common titles high. On the other hand, their prices for newer games is usually a little lower than what I’m used to seeing. So it’s a toss up. My suggestion would be to use this place as a backup and first check out:

2. Games Corner, 6915 East State Street

This small resale store has a small supply, but their prices are terrific. Games are priced to sell so I was able to pick up a Castlevania III for the NES for $11. I have never seen that game priced so low, especially from a place that knows value of particular games. Another cool aspect of this store is that they are a rental store as well. You can rent any game on their shelf. Not just the newest titles. That way you can check out a retro game before you make the investment on buying it.


That’s all for now. I’m always on the lookout for new places and I hope to hit up some additional thrift stores once the new year rolls around and work slows down a bit. I’m also wondering if I should make this guide a page rather than just keep making new blog entries. Hmm…


Gamer Going Grey – Firepower 2000

I’ve finished the first video in my new Gamer Going Grey series. In Episode #01 I review Firepower 2000 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the games that preceded it.

Game Chasing in Rockford, IL

With the disappearance/demise of the Gamewerks locations as reported by WIFR, the city of Rockford has lost a large amount of their retro video games. While Gamewerks did not have the best prices, it was still possible to find a few good deals.

So without this well-known, advertised, go-to place, where else can someone find used games and, more importantly, retro games. I’m already discounting your standard retailers that may dabble in some pre-owned games, like Gamestop, and video rental stores selling old stock. These are simply places that sell used games.

1. Disc Replay, 6241 East State St.

I must start this list with Disc Replay. While it doesn’t always have  the best selection of used games to accompany its music and movies, the prices are usually really good. You can expect to find common NES titles at $2 and just about every retro sports title is down to $1, where it should be. They even have a buy 5, get 1 free deal that you can take advantage of while buying in bulk.

2. Game Worlds, 1516 7th Street & 7830 North 2nd Street, Machesney Park

I can’t speak for the 7th Street location, but the North Main location had a decent selection and even a number of gaming guides as well. Prices seemed fairly standard. One thing I found annoying, though, was the inclusion of a display case full of NES games and accessories that aren’t for sale. At first I thought I had found some uncommon games that I had my eye out for, but that was not to be.

3. Alpine Flea Market, 3291 S Alpine Rd

Your standard indoor/outdoor flea market. None of the inside dealer ever seem to have any video games, but I did find one that had a stack of overpriced NES/SNES titles. The shifting nature of the outdoor deals help add an element of randomness to the search. I found a few common NES games at one point, but it has been mostly used newer games.

4. Sandy Hollow Flea Market, 3913 Sandy Hollow Road

This flea market is much smaller than the Alpine flea market, but there is usually a much greater selection of video games to be found. There’s some that I’d consider small resellers, but they don’t go around snatching up deals from other tables since games aren’t the only wares at their booth. Prices overall range from “You expect me to pay THAT?” to “Sure, let me pay $5 for your copy of Super Metroid.”

5. Goodwills, 4618 East State Street, Rockford, IL & 8010 N. 2nd Street, Machesney Park, IL

There are multiple Goodwills in the Rockford area.  The one on East State Street has yielded nothing but sports titles, but that does include a Genesis retro game as well. The Machesney Park  location had multiple kids games for older Windows systems and I was able to find Turok for the N64 there at one time. This location is also not far from one of the Game Worlds locations, so it would be easy to hit both of them up on a single jaunt.

6. Salvation Army, 4401 Charles Street, Rockford, IL

No luck finding games here yet, but then you never really know with thrift stores. Someone can always donate a box of games today.


Well, that’s a good start for this list. In checking the actual addresses for these places using Google I’ve found some additional leads for other resale shops that may potentially have some games for sale. I’ll update this list accordingly to continue to help out fellow retro gamers in finding new games to play and collect.

Inside the Nintendo Entertainment System

My original Nintendo Entertainment System

My NES from 1989

The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, has been a standard from my childhood up through my post-college years. I had to save up $50 of my allowance back in 1989 so I could pay my half for the system. I grew up playing Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Dragon Warrior, Megaman, and many more. Even when I got the Super Nintendo for my birthday years later, the NES was still hooked up and remained hooked up to a TV somewhere in the house. I never was sent to an attic or crawl space to collect dust, but remained a permanent fixture in our entertainment centers.This year I finally removed my NES from the family basement and relocated it to my own place. After the move I started to notice an increasing frequency of bad connections with the cartridges. Using a Game Genie seemed to help a bit, but it seemed my NES was finally dying. It had been good to me all these years.

The Top of my NES

The top of my NES still has my original "don't eat this - toxic" sticker I put on it in first grade.

I was not going down without a fight. After setting up the NES and connecting it to a nice old CRT TV, I could not get a single game to start up. I kept getting the same blinking light. So I decided I had nothing to lose. I would either fix up this thing of mine that I’ve had since I was five years old or I would make it worse and buy a new one.

With my wife as my assistant, I began the process of dissecting my childhood friend. First was the basic unscrewing of the top from the bottom. I knew I had to get to the center since I had a feeling the problems were simply a pin connection issue. The NES is notorious for having pins get bent due to overuse, and since I have had my NES since ’89, it has had over two decades of semi-constant use.

NES bottom and top metal casings

The bottom (left) and top (right) metal casings to protect the core of the NES

Once the top plastic casing was removed, I found a protective metal casing around the boards and connecting pins. Again I took my screwdriver and separated the metal from the innards. I could finally see the pins. I attempted to brush off any dust from this, but upon inserting multiple cartridges I was still stuck. No game. My next step was to pretty much disassemble the whole thing. I removed the motherboard entirely from the system to check the underside for possible pin corrosion. Everything looked fine, though I had to remove the lower metal covering and that was being blocked by the AV connectors. Luckily they were a simple unplug and replug.

The guts of the NES

The inside of the NES with metal casings and cartrige holder removed.

Once everything was disconnected and the NES was practically naked I finally had some success with the games. My pins are still bad enough that inserting a cartridge barely works the first time, but now I’m able to move the cart around until I get a good connection. Then as long as no one bumps the NES mid-play, I can continue to game to my heart’s content.

I can easily pick up a working NES from a number of sources, but the joy I get from playing the very console that set me down the gaming path that I still walk cannot be replaced.

The NES Expansion Port

The expansion port was included on the bottom of the NES. There was a hole for access in the metal casings, but the plastic box would have a section snapped off to use it. However, the port was never used for the NES, just the Famicom Disk System.

NES 72 Pin Connector

The 72-pin connector that connects the game cartridges to the main board and is the most likely cultprit for connection issues. It can be removed and replaced, but I need to get one.