My favourite retro gamer: interview with my kid

My son James while playing Nintendo Ice Hockey

Today, I want to tell you a little more about my retro world and my retro life and I decided to do that through the eyes and the words of my eldest child.

As you can read in the About RGL page, James wants to follow in my footsteps and write his own retro stories on this very blog. He has been asking me to publish one of his articles for a while… Honestly, he is only 11 and obviously still green, but starting off with a dad-son talk about our common passion, will definitely let him gain experience and be known by my readers.

Below is my interview with James, my favourite retro gamer or – as I affectionately call him – my Retrokid.
(I also call him RetroJames, but only when he defeats me in a video game or does/says something extraordinary.)

(Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that – at no additional cost to you – if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. For more info, please check my affiliate disclosure page.)

Andrew: 1. Please introduce yourself to RGL’s readers.

James: Hi everyone, my name is James and I am Andrew’s eldest child. I am 11 years old and I am a young retro gamer, according to my father’s definition.

I understood the actual meaning some time ago: despite my young age, I like playing old video games. But that seems absolutely normal to me… I grew up seeing my father playing video games from the 80s and the 90s and for years I thought they were the only existing games. When he bought me a PlayStation 4 and I saw the difference I could not believe my own eyes. I thought it was a joke. I am honest, I like new games so much, but old ones are a true passion.

(Listen dad, can I not just say “the games I saw YOU playing?” I feel uncomfortable… How can I address you and talk about “my father” at the same time?)

Andrew: (In this case I am interviewing you and you are addressing my /our readers so for the next hour we have to pretend to not be father and son… Come on, we can do it! 😀 )

2. Now please tell me when you started gaming.

James: I do not remember exactly, I rely on what mom and you told me. I was one and a half years old and I wanted to maneuver myself the joystick or the joypad my father was using. I laughed like crazy when I saw that my movements affected the action on the screen. That I personally remember, I started to actively play (James: “Is actively appropriate, dad?” Andrew: “Yes, James”) when I was around 4 and as for the first video game that I have ever played…

Andrew: (Just stop there, that is the third question … Do not rush lol.)

3. What was the first video game that you ever played?

James: It was a video game that today is considered Retro… Back then, it was very popular: Mario Kart Wii, for the Nintendo Wii.

I started playing it when I was 4 and I stopped… No, I have never stopped, I played the other  versions too, both the old and new ones and I think it is one of my favourite games ever. Definitely it is the game I am the most fond of. In retrospect, even then I was amazed, because until that moment I had seen my father playing only old titles on the Wii.

Mario Kart was colorful, instead!

I then recall that I gave you a hard time da… Er… That I gave my father a hard time when he came back from work. As soon as he set foot in the house I would say: “Let’s play toy-car daddy!”. I said that because my father had created a Mii that looked like himself and was his first choice to race. He never used any characters from Mario’s universe.

Mario Kart had officially changed its name, at least at home.

Andrew: I remember, you were slightly insistent 😀 , but also nice and funny. It was hard to say no. And then you were very good: after a week you won your first offline race. After two months, you placed 1st in an online race (for the readers: in may of 2014 Nintendo Wii online play was discontinued, thus making Mario Kart Wii an only offline game)… When it happened, your mother and I started screaming like crazy, we could not believe it… I took 6 months to win my first online race, you little phenomenon!

Mario Kart Wii on the Nintendo Wii

Mario Kart Wii

4. Do you remember your first online win?

James: It is just impossible to forget, because my parents have been talking about it for 7 years and have told it to all the people that I know. So I just cannot tell you if I remember it because it was exciting or because I have heard this story dozens of times.

I am joking, do not get mad. I am happy that I was able to surprise my parents and also that I learned to play early. It is just impossible to get tired of playing Mario Kart: every race is different, something new happens every time and you never know who is going to win.

Andrew: I agree, that is why – despite my passion for Retro gaming – I have always made an exception for Mario Kart, by also playing its newest releases. The secret is that, regardless of its inevitable technological evolution, it has never lost its cheerful, carefree spirit. It is a retro game inside!
Now that I have made this clear, let us go back to us.

5. What about your second game?

James: The truth is that since the first time I had the courage to play, this has been an endless journey…I just cannot recall that, I have tried too many. I have to say that maybe I have taken too many liberties at times, like when I would pull your Amiga 1200 or your Dreamcast out of the closet without your permission or when you were not at home.

Andrew: Okay, white flag here! Please stop saying “my father” and address me directly. 😀
That said, before getting cross with you for what you have just said (just kidding 😀 ), please answer the following question.

6. What do you mean by “having the courage to play” ?

James: I mean that I was ashamed to play in front of you… I saw you both as a teacher and as a master and I was afraid to look bad. If you recall, it took you a while to get me to try Mario Kart, even though I was dying to play it and the same went for other games: I preferred to practice on my own before playing versus or in cooperative mode.

Luckily I overcame this fear and now I am happy that we play together, also because I beat you often. 😛

Andrew: Do not cross the boss! You are forgetting about the times you asked me (and still ask) for help to kill a boss or clear a stage. In any case I must say that you are really good and the student will certainly become the master, but that has not happened yet! 😛

7. Let us go on: So you used to play with my beloved, precious retro machines when I was not here?

James: Daddy, I am so sorry, I know I should not have done it, but I assure you that I always handled them with extreme care.

Andrew: Come on… Again, just kidding! Did you think I had never realized that? Had I not known that we both handled objects with care, I would have hidden all of my beauties long ago, my dear RetroKid.

Let us play a game now (no, not a video game lol): I am going to name a few video game genres.

8. Just tell me your favourite title for each of them, deal?

James: Yes, Daddy.

Andrew: Let us start!

A. Adventure?

James: Uncharted! I played it on your knees.

Andrew: I do remember that. 🙂

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune on the PlayStation 3

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

B. Platform?

James: Super Mario 64. I drove you crazy to get all 120 stars!

Andrew: I remember that too…

C. Puzzle games?

James: Puzzle Bobble! When I won the tournament that you and your friends arranged in that pub, I was over the moon… The following Monday at school, every now and then someone stopped by to congratulate me on my victory… What a great feeling!

Andrew: So glad to hear that and well, your victory was exciting for me too. I did not expect that!

D. What about role-playing games?

James: I am going to name two: Dark Cloud 2 and Rogue Galaxy.

The former is also the first RPG I have ever played, the latter is the first RPG I have played and beaten by myself, without asking for help (just some advice).

Dark Cloud 2 on the PlayStation 2

Dark Cloud 2

I remember you did not want to let me play RPG because you thought the stories and the game modes were too complicated. You said I was too young to understand every aspect of such games.

In the beginning, I could not really understand anything. I was about to quit, but then you suggested that I carefully follow the dialogues and explore the menus and everything changed… You could have said “I told you”, yet you gave me some very good advice and encouraged me to continue. Thanks dad!

Andrew: Thanks to you for having faith in me and not giving up.

E. Any racing Games that you like, other than Mario Kart? Maybe a racing simulation?

James: Not really, but I do like Super Sprint and I promise you that one day I will beat it …

Andrew: There are 85 stages James and some of them are almost impossible…

James: Mmm… I will try anyway. I reached the 42nd stage with a couple of friends, almost halfway… I know I can make it to the end!

Andrew: Excellent mentality, good for you!

F. Okay last title: Soccer

James: Swos, Swos and again Swos … You introduced me to Swos when I was 5 and you started training me at 6. I asked you to do that, I wanted to learn to score your spectacular header combos and your banana shots.

I was afraid it would not rank first on your top 10 retro soccer game list. Regardless, I have to ask you something.

Andrew: What is it James?

James: Why did you leave SFG Soccer out of the ranking? It is super fun…

Andrew: Because it was released in 2009, it cannot be considered a retro game, at least for the moment.

James: But there is no online mode …

Andrew: good observation, but it is still too new in terms of technology, do you know what I mean? Anyway, I agree with you, it is a true gem and we are talking about an Indie video game.

James: Mmm, okay…

Andrew: No worries, in 10 years I am going to update the ranking … Or how about doing it yourself, maybe in 20 years? 😀

SFG Soccer on the Xbox 360

SFG Soccer

9. Now please tell me: Is there any other games that you would like to name among your favorites? I did not mention all the existing genres…

James: Yes, I was going to tell you… I will name them in no particular order: Excite Bike, Elevator Action, Crash Bandicoot, Golden Axe, Mario Party, Metal Gear Solid 2, Wii Bowling, Street Fighter 2, Bubble Bobble and WonderBoy in Monsterland.

Andrew: Just a couple… And I thought you were tired of answering. 😀

10. Well, last question now, anyway: what is your finest memory related to video games?

James: l have many, Dad: first of all, the first time I played together with my siblings and you. The 4 of us playing  Mario Party 5… Too good to be true, but it was. What a blast! I want to thank you dad, because you have taught me from an early age that we should never be ashamed to do what we like. You would tell me: “Look at me: I am in my 30 thirties, yet I enjoy playing video games like a kid. This is because I associate video games with many beautiful memories and many beautiful experiences with my friends. I am serious when I have to be serious and I have fun when it is time to have fun. ”

It is just like that dad, I like to have fun: I have always tried so many things and had a lot of pleasant experiences.

Sport, music, video games… I have always been open to anything and I am happy I have such a mentality.


Andrew: No need to go on, you have already given me a very good answer …

James: But I would like to go on, I am not finished talking.

As I was saying, besides this, I would like to mention my victories in the tournaments that you arranged with your friends.

To be honest though, I had fun, even when I did not win. Do you remember the Wii Golf tournament, the one where I placed fourth? We were in this club and you had put a signal on the entrance door that read: “Maximum number of players: 16”.

The problem was that people kept coming and signing up. We ended up playing a 32-person tournament and we left the club at 10 pm rather than at 7. When you informed the club’s owner that you needed some more time, he did not want to have it, but then he saw that there was a nice, relaxed atmosphere and agreed.
At 9 pm he came up to us and said: “you can stay as much as you like, I want to see who wins!”

That day was unforgettable!

Andrew: I think that we can end this interview here and we are ending with a bang… Maybe you did not realize, but you said something special: you are young, but you are transmitting positive values here.

I am definitely biased, because I am your father, but when you talk about your love for your siblings or that you wish to play and have fun, regardless of whether you win or lose, I am just proud of you!

James: Thanks daddy… But tell me: is this interview over? It was fun…

Andrew: 11. Would you like to say one last thing?

James: Yes! I cannot wait for you to publish this article, I am very proud to have been interviewed. (I am a bit ashamed actually, but you keep telling me to not worry about it and that everything will be fine).

And then, I would like to confirm that one day I will write my Retro stories for your blog, it will be our blog!

I am not as pure a retro gamer as you dad – not yet at least – but I know what you mean when you talk about being in love with the past: we must never forget our happy childhood memories and – above all – we have to keep playing and having fun, in order to not grow old. This will allow us to maintain a positive attitude towards life and others.

For you, this is a way of life and I thank you for having instilled it in my siblings and me.

Andrew: Even if I wanted to, I could not ask you anymore questions, you moved me… Very many thanks

                                                                      RETRO The name James


About Andrew A.

Andrew is the founder and owner of RetroGamingLoft. He considers himself a natural-born gamer and is on a mission to keep our gaming memories alive through the medium of Retro Stories. His event recount includes hopes, dreams, broken joysticks, magic, nostalgia and another final boss defeated.

12 thoughts on “My favourite retro gamer: interview with my kid

  1. Mandy

    Hi Andrew!

    To start off, I want to say how sweet I thought this interview was. James really did teach some very valuable lessons, even if he may not have realized it at the time.

    Now, onto gaming. I am a gamer myself, and was so happy to hear Crash Bandicoot mentioned! I love Crash, with his goofy ways. I am just loving the revamp they did! I play Crash Bandicoot on my Xbox One.

    My question to you is where do you prefer to get your games and game systems?

    Amanda (Mandy)

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Mandy and thanks for dropping by.
      Yours is such a nice comment, James too read it and thanks you very much!

      Guess what? I LOVE Crash Bandicoot!, Part of my 1998 Summer was spent trying to beat Warped! I got 105% and every platinum relic. While the former was not that hard after all, the latter drove me crazy and I really do not know if I would do that again, today.
      I just cannot tell how many times I repeated both the “Hang’em high” and “Flaming passion” levels. A slight mistake and just could not beat the clock any longer. You had to start those levels again.
      I am planning to write a Retro Story about it, just stay tuned! 🙂

      As for your question, to begin with, I own many old systems. I have had some for 25+ years and I bought some others at flea markets or on * Ebay.
      Secondly, the last two generations of consoles (Xbox 360 and One, Playstation 3 and 4, Wii, Wii U and Nintendo Switch) have brought classic games to fans. You can purchase them individually (e.g. PlayStation’s classic games on PlayStation 4) or with a paid online membership(Nintendo Switch).
      Last but not least, if you are looking for arcade games here is an excerpt from another reply. I hope it will answer your question: ”Actually, today you can buy some old or newly manufactured arcade machines featuring thousands of old, classic games (including soccer ones, of course).
      If you do not have enough space for a cabinet – which is understandable – there are some new devices that you can use as handheld consoles or directly connect to your tv. Prices do vary…There are both very expensive arcade machines and quite affordable devices. I think it depends on how nostalgic we are. ?”

      With that being said, let me thank you once again for your comment and please let me know if I can be of further help.

  2. Shane Black

    Hi Andrew!

    This was an amazing interview to read!

    I am a relatively new father (my son is only 13 months old) but he has already started picking up little habits… for example, he grabs the PS4 remotes and turns them on by pressing the PS button… then just sits there waiting for something to happen!

    This interview has given me something to look forward to as I’m sure my son and I are going to have many conversations similar to this one.

    Thanks so much for sharing!



  3. Andrew A. Post author

    Hello again Shane, it is so nice to read another comment of yours. 🙂
    Your comment took me back to when James was 13 months old and I could not help shedding a tear. But I am glad it is your turn now and hey the little kid looks promising, hehehe.
    It is me who should thank you actually, as you made feel James proud. This is what he is telling me in real time: “I did not expect people to like our interview so much… The last guy Shane, he is also a father and he wrote he will talk about gaming with his son when he grows up… Dad this is awesome, he wants to do what we do… He thanked us, he appreciated us! We are passing on the legacy!”

    Enough said Shane, my favourite retro gamer said it all. Again, thank you very much!

  4. Shane

    This article is awesome. I like what you have done, you have used the bonding with your son and expanded your love and experience of gaming towards him. It reminds me of when parents want to re live awesome childhood moments by doing those fantastic things again, but this time by teaching their passion to their kids and seeing the experience completely re lived from the perspective of someone else. 

    I’ve been to national gaming events where the latest games that have been released and yet to be released are playable by literally hundreds and thousands of gamers. Its called eurogamer / EGX and at the moment is held every year in Birmingham in the U.K. So its a passion isn’t it? Gaming is a passion which you can share the experience with towards your own family or even complete strangers in a gaming event.

    So yeah gaming is great and i have an appreciation of how you have shared it with your son, creating the bonding between you and himself! 

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Shane, your comment is awesome, actually! Thanks so much for your nice words, you perfectly described what I wanted to convey (so maybe I did it. 🙂 ).
      I know the EGX very well, I was there in 2013 (it was held in London) with my then 6 year-old James and it was a blast to say the least. Little James kept saying I had taken him to ToyLand lol… Oh and he delivered one of his most memorable lines ever. I went: “What are you going to play, first?” And he replied: “I do not know Daddy, I am in two minds… No I am lying, I am in three, no in four… Mmm, I am in countless minds!”
      He literally cracked up both me and the people around who overheard him.
      Yeah it is a passion that – in our case – binds a life for life.
      Very many thanks again for stopping by, I would love you to stay tuned for more Retro Stories!

  5. Chas

    Hi Andrew,

    Reading this took me for a ride down the nostalgic trail for sure. Some of the games I grew up with go back a wee bit further. Do you remember pong? or frogger? Space invaders? Ah, such a long time ago, and very early simple games. They were played on the Atari game system! Did you ever play Atari?

    It is nice to hear your son describe the memories of playing games with his father. You must have taught him well to have him win tournaments at such a young age! And I also was fond of the Mario Kart game, I played that with my son as well. now he has continued to play, while I left that in the past, and I pursued actual ten pin bowling. You get a lot more exercise!

    Thank you Andrew for the trip down memory lane, and maybe I will have to show my grandchildren some of those nastalgic games as well. But, they are getting harder to find nowadays! Where do you think I could find these older games? Activision is very hard to find one still operating! 


    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Chas, I am grateful for your nice comment.
      I remember -and tried – all the games the mentioned, I could even tell you where I played them for the first time. 😀
      As for the Atari, I played it a couple of times as child, but I did not own myself. One of my cousins had it.
      Today I am the proud owner of an Atari 7800ST. I bought it a couple of years ago at a flea market.

      To be honest with you, I did not expect James to be so good, but what I like the most about him is his fair play. That makes him a winner in my eyes, regardless of how he performs.
      I am glad to hear you too played Mario Kart with your son, you know what, it is just a carefree, cheerful experience… I like actual bowling too of course (I like anything that is fun), but for the moment I can only play its virtual counterpart. Fortunately I play it with my family and my friends. I wrote an article about it, you can find it here.

      About your last question, are you talking about only Atari games or nostalgic games in general?
      If you mean the former, please take a look at * Ebay and search for Atari FlashBack 8. You do not have to look for Atari Games (they are very hard to find, I know), as such release comes with 105 in-built games.
      I got to see its list of games days ago and it features some great classics.
      If you mean the latter, today you can buy some old or newly manufactured arcade machines featuring thousands of old, classic games.
      If you do not have enough space for a cabinet – which is understandable – there are some new devices that you can use as handheld consoles or directly connect to your tv. Prices do vary…There are both very expensive arcade machines and quite affordable devices. I think it depends on how nostalgic we are. ?”
      Thanks again for stopping by and I hope you keep coming back for more Retro Stories!

  6. Neil

    You know, I haven’t played video games for such a long time! 🙁

    But I absolutely love Super Mario because Super Mario Bros was the first ever game I played on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). I had both the NES and Mario one Christmas and no matter how much my family tied to drag me away from the game for party games, I was just glued to it lol.

    And then over the years, I upgraded to the Mega Drive with Sonic The Hedgehog, the N64 (again with Mario) and ESPECIALLY Golden Eye, then the Wii with Mario Kart (AWESOME game), and finally on to PS2 with Grand Theft Auto as my favorite game.

    Plus, can’t beat the original GameBoy with Tetris and Mario!

    And although today’s graphics are out of thise world, I still think “retro gaming” will always be king. Period.

    It’s great that father and son share the same passion when it comes to retro gaming, and you both definitely have good taste. 😉 I was always a platform kinda guy but also loved the odd racing game here and there, especially when up against family.

    I think it’s especially awesome that retro games consoles (or at least remakes with games built-in) are on the come back!

    Do you know if the Sega Game Gear is still being sold? That’s probably the one held-hand gaming device I really wanted (besides the GameBoy) that I never had.

    Thanking you and your son for sharing a super cool interview!


    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Neil and thanks for your extremely nice words… Again, I am flattered.
      I can relate to your gaming resume and I totally understand the “glue feeling” (we would call it like that, back then lol)… I too never had enough. 😀
      You know, I have always maintained that there are two kinds of video games: the good ones and the bad ones: I am glad to see we both like the former (James cares to let you know he also likes the good ones lol).

      As for your question, * Ebay are still selling several second-hand units, so you can easily get one there. I found one at a flea market last year and it was a nice surprise as – just like you – I had never got the chance to play it. Sonic rules, my daughter Melody likes it a lot!
      Thanks again for stopping by, I do appreciate that you took some time to tell me about your passion.
      Stay tuned for more Retro Stories!

      Ps. It is a real pity that you are not playing any longer. I truly hope that you will go on to buy a Sega Game Gear and get to rekindle your old passion.

  7. GeeEss

    Awesome interview Andrew. You must be one hell of a proud father. I could not move my eyes till the time I finished the article. Love the way your kid James answered your questions. You and your kid took us back to our happy childhood. My son is also an avid gamer. Although he has now become a little busy with his studies but takes gaming break once a while and I love the way he becomes fully engrossed in the game when he plays.Thanks again for such a lovely article. Keep it up. 

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Gee and thanks for dropping by. Your comment was very sweet, I appreciate it a lot!
      You are right, this is what I am trying to do: by taking myself – and hopefully my readers – back to our childhood, I am trying to teach James and his siblings to never forget the most carefree period in their lives. I know they will fly the coop, but bearing in mind that my house will always be their happy home and what a fun home!!!
      I am also glad to hear your son is a gamer and although he is busy now he still finds some time to rekindle his old passion. Again, your comment made my day and I would love for you to come back for more Retro Stories!


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