Life as a Retro Gamer: Meet Richard
Updated: Mar 27, 2020
Whether it’s the high score tables, challenges or just forming friendships, Antstream Arcade is all about community and bringing gamers both young and old together. With our carefully-curated selection of classic retro games as the starting point, there’s a whole new virtual neighbourhood at the heart of what we do.
So for our first Antstream Arcade gamer profile we present Richard Marsh, known as Zabadda. Why not friend him up, and throw a challenge his way – if you dare!
Name: Richard Marsh
Antstream Arcade Handle: Zabadda
Occupation: Train Driver
First Gaming Love: Commodore 64
Favourite Games on Antstream Arcade: Speedball 2, Sensible Soccer, Xenon 2 and Saint Dragon
Favourite Challenge: The Way Of The Dragon in Saint Dragon. No weapons – just the dragon’s tail!
The Start Of Gaming Life
When he poked around a spare room in his family home aged six, Richard discovered something that changed his life forever. No, not a doorway to a magical world, but even better, a classic 8-bit legend. “I actually have no idea whose it was or where it came from – but I found a Commodore 64 in a cupboard at home,” says Richard. “I soon worked out how to load up Football Manager and I was totally hooked! For about two years, my gaming consisted of getting home from school, turning on the C64 and sticking in a cassette in a rush, all before my mum called me for dinner. It was tense!”
Around this time, Richard also experienced the Commodore Amiga, with one violent futuristic sports game proving popular. “Every few months we would travel up from our home on the Isle Of Wight to visit my cool older cousin in Milton Keynes. He had an Amiga 1200, and that meant access to two-player Speedball!”
Shortly after discovering the apparently orphaned Commodore 64, Richard received his first games console. “My mum bought me a Sega Master System for my seventh birthday and I remember being so happy and amazed how cool my mum was for recognising how much I loved gaming.” Four years later, a brand spanking new Super Nintendo, complete with Street Fighter, was waiting for him on his birthday.
“I didn’t leave my room until that evening when I had managed to unlock every character I could manage.” And while retro games such as Pilot Wings and Starwing were important for Richard, his love of football games never stopped. “I played Sensible Soccer all the time – it’s just perfect in my eyes.”
Since the Super Nintendo, Richard has owned most of the consoles that have followed, helped by job at Blockbusters in the mid-Nineties. “Oh the joy I experienced when my mum told me I’d get seven free rentals per week! I basically didn’t have to buy a game for about five years!”
When Richard hit his twenties, he moved away and began missing playing retro games with his old friends. “So I set up a website called Gamesfiend,” he explains, “and would post high scores and made-up challenges of any game I played so my friends could challenge me or vice-versa.”
Yes, before Xbox Live and online gaming itself had really taken off, this pioneering Antstream Arcade gamer was hosting high score tables and taking on friends from across the country. “I made a new gaming friend – hi Paul – and we started renting games and reviewing them, creating new challenges for anyone to try.” Alas for Richard, life got in the way, and the idea didn’t progress. Fortunately, today, he has Antstream Arcade for all his challenge and high score needs.
When Richard visited a car boot sale in London a few years later, it prompted another phase of his life – retro video game collecting. “I found a Super Nintendo with a few games and two controllers – for £40!” he exclaims. “For three years, I hunted all over car boots, charity shops and Facebook, looking for items for my collection.”
Then, one day, he hit a sudden and common realisation. “I realised I was spending so much time trying to find games that I wasn’t actually playing any of them.” His love of playing games rekindled, Richard began discovering fantastic games both new and old.
Much like when he stumbled upon that Commodore 64 many years ago, Richard recently found another important step in his gaming life. “I was browsing Kickstarter one day, looking for another indie game to back when all of a sudden I saw this retro gaming streaming service called Antstream,” he recalls. “I instantly backed it with a two-year subscription, and as soon as it was fully backed, I began selling off my retro games collection. At last, I can just open an app and just play some classic games for an hour or two without trying to find some weird AV cable to plug into my TV.”
For Richard, unsurprisingly, it’s the social aspect of Antstream Arcade that appeals to him most. “I’ve always loved gaming with other people, and this is where my love of streaming has developed, as it allows me to play the games I was going to play anyway, and still chat to other gamers. And now Antstream has added challenges, it’s a no-brainer for me!”