Despite the retro gaming scene’s healthy pulse, first-gen fans from the ’80s and ’90s are caught in a tug of war between reaping the benefits of the trend and holding on to what made them fans in the first place. The just-released documentary, Not For Resale, peers into the lives of small business owners who run used game stores, some of which were born during Nintendo’s early console days and others that came from the next generation of players turned retailers. Through their unique perspectives and interviews with gaming experts, Not For Resale offers an inside look at the romantic side of vintage gaming, as well as the complex truths you might face when you build your life around them in an increasingly digital and fast-paced world.
Their side of the industry is no stranger to love, loss, failure, or success, and Not For Resale gracefully shepherds you through their stories. Many of them serve as touching reminders of why so many of us fell in love with video games in the first place, but for every heartwarming memory, there’s also an opportunity to reflect. Why do physical games have meaning? Does it purely come down to ownership? What will happen to the things we hold dear today in the hands of future generations?
Not For Resale is a celebration of games, people, and passion. It covers a lot of ground, even diving into the still-rocky experiences some players face when trying to engage with modern games in locations with poor internet, where store owners offer stations for people to bring in their own consoles and download software updates. Innovation is exciting, and Not For Resale doesn’t shy away from the argument that gaming has, in many ways, never been better. It just shines a light on a subculture that’s at risk of being cast aside along the way.
Consumerism and games go hand in hand, and both have changed in innumerable ways in the last few decades. When examining the relationship between the two, it’s hard to think of a better group of witnesses than the business owners whose work isn’t just based around selling new games, but keeping them around and in the hands of players for generations to come. Not For Resale was directed by Kevin J. James, and you can rent and stream it on Amazon, in 4K on Vimeo, or purchase the Blu-Ray direct from executive producer, Pat Contri.
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