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Vintage games and future intersecting at Marshalltown GameStop

T-R photos by Noah Rohlfing GameStop has dealt with organizational changes nationwide, but in Iowa the company is largely thriving.

GameStop has undergone a change in direction amid recent struggles across the country and store closures, but in Iowa the gaming and merchandise franchise has experienced consistency.

However with the new direction and with new gaming consoles on the rise, Marshalltown store manager Aimes Atcher, who has been in the job since February 2019, said the desire for vintage games in her store is as high as it has ever been.

“It’s really a nostalgia thing,” Atcher said. “Some people don’t want to upgrade to new consoles when they come out.”

Some of the vintage games GameStop has on tap include the Nintendo DS — which debuted in the mid-2000s — and the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System), a well-received Nintendo gaming system which debuted in 1991 in the United States and stopped producing games in 2003. Some of these vintage and older games are only available online instead of in-store, Atcher said.

The store also has a vast selection of games for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3; The Xbox Series X and the Playstation 5 debut in 2020 — which Atcher said could lead to a rise in popularity of the older games.

Nintendo DS game cartridges available at the Marshalltown Commons GameStop.

Xbox has announced that prior Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games will be backwards compatible for the new console (meaning that there will be hardware/software in the new system allowing games from a previous generation of console to be accessible). It would bring new life to defunct video game series. One serious would be NCAA Football — the final version of which is so sought-after that Atcher said when it gets traded in, it garners the most store credit the store has to offer.

Atcher said that the collectibles are a change of pace, but that it doesn’t impact how she does business. In fact, she said some of the new products they are selling, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles actions figures, hit a spot of nostalgia in people who grew up watching the cartoons. Children who are getting introduced to the television shows are fans as well.

The intersection of nostalgia and the future is where the gaming world finds itself in a new decade, but Atcher said that’s a sign of the industry’s strength — and that having a bunch of different experiences available to people is why she feels so strongly about the impact of video games.

“It’s the era of the re-boot,” Atcher said. “I don’t think video games are gonna go anywhere anytime soon.”

GameStop was in the news in May of 2019 after announcing the company was changing its leadership structure. The company eliminated the position of Chief Operating Officer and in recent months has begun to shift some of its business model toward collectibles and trading merchandise.

A selection of Xbox 360 games and controllers offered at the Marshalltown Commons GameStop.

The new direction is in part due to the appointing of Chief Merchandising Officer (CMO) Chris Homeister.

“In the newly created CMO role at GameStop, Chris will be responsible for the company’s overall merchandise operations and strategy and all product and merchandising functions across all channels, including buying, planning, supply chain and logistics, and inventory allocation efforts,” GameStop said in a press release.

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Contact Noah Rohlfing at 641-753-6611 or nrohlfing@timesrepublican.com.