Hi, I’m Jesse. Like many kids of the 80s and 90s, I grew up loving video games. I played them with my friends, with my brother, even with my parents. We never had a lot of money to spare, so my collection grew slowly, but it grew steadily, and became filled with great systems and games.
Over the years, life became busy. You know how it goes: school, job, commitments, family obligations – not nearly as much time for gaming. Many of my friends and coworkers fondly remembered the experiences of their youth, but had nowhere to go to play the classic systems they’d had as kids. Meanwhile, many of those systems sat untouched on my shelves.
When I did get to spend some time on the hobby, I noticed that it was changing, and not necessarily in a good way. While games were becoming more advanced and more accessible, they were mostly being played in solitary settings; in-game, kids were playing online with dozens of friends at once, but in reality, they were sitting alone at home in front of the XBox, unable to share the experience in a real social setting.
After a while, the idea finally dawned on me: A retro-themed, socially-driven, video gaming lounge.
I toyed with inventory and setup ideas, created some business plans, did a lot of research into pricing, and tried to pitch the idea to a number of investment options, but the timing was bad. A poor economy, an idea that was pretty untested, no real support system to keep me afloat while I poured all of my time into a start-up. So, the idea got put on hold.
Flash forward a handful of years to this past summer, when I met my current business partners, Brian and Pat. They’d had similar ideas regarding businesses for retro gaming, and had access to just enough funding to give it a try. The three of us together managed to combine our ideas, bring them into clear focus, and make the dream a reality. Now, it’s off and running as Reboot Video and Tabletop Game Lounge.
Reboot features every major home video gaming system of the past 30 years, with over 2,100 games for our visitors to play on them. The lounge is packed full of comfy, custom-made beanbag furniture and brand-new LED TVs for our patrons to game on. A separate room contains our board game and manga libraries, with nearly 200 games to play on our expandable tables, and over 1,400 volumes of graphic novels. Our focus may be on retro video games, but we take great care to make sure we have something for just about everyone. So far, our efforts have been very well received.
However, it’s not enough. As a start-up small business, we’ve got a lot of debts to pay back, and making rent each month isn’t easy until we can build up a large, dedicated customer base. We also want to offer even more to our fans. Plans are in the works to build out a larger retail section in front of the lounge, and offer new and used video games, board games, and merchandise. We’re designing T-shirts to sell and would like to partner with charities to donate some of the profits toward animal abuse and childhood hunger campaigns.
The bottom line is that all of these things require more money. Personally, all of us have worked very hard to get to where we are, and hate to ask for help, but it’s not about us anymore; it’s about the business, and our customers, and continuing to create and improve a place where people can come to enjoy themselves and indulge in their hobbies with others. It’s bigger than us, so we’re swallowing our pride and asking for some aid.
Reaching our fundraising goal of $16,000 would allow us to pay three months’ rent, build out retail shelving and stock it with $5,000 worth of merchandise and games, and order a few hundred shirts with our unique logo and designs. It would be a huge help in keeping our dream alive until it can begin sustaining itself. Thank you all so much for reading our story.