Life As A Retro Gamer: Royce Richards
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 retro classics the starting point, there’s a whole new virtual neighbourhood at the heart of what we do.
For our latest gamer profile we present Royce Richards, known as Spexxy on Antstream Arcade and beyond on account of wearing spectacles. Why not friend him up, and throw a challenge his way – if you dare!
Name: Royce Richards
Antstream Arcade Handle: Spexxy
Occupation: Warehouse Logistics Manager
First Gaming Love: Asteroids – arcade
Favourite Games on Antstream: Asteroids, Slam Tilt Pinball, Bubble Bobble
Favourite Challenge: any one-life score challenge
Two Weeks In Paradise
“When I was around six years old, my parents bought a Binatone TV Master mk 6 – a Pong clone,” begins our latest retro gamer, Royce. “I remember playing on it and thinking, ‘WOW’ – it just amazed me that I was controlling that simple bat at the side of the screen.” Soon, Royce was engaged in all manner of videogame sporting activity, from football, to hockey and squash. “It didn’t even matter that all the games were almost identical,” he laughs. “It was simple, intuitive, and a lot of fun to play. I was hooked.” Shortly after the Binatone arrived at the Richards’ home, another fateful event in Royce’s videogaming history occurred. “We went on holiday to Pontins at Camber Sands,” he recalls. “And it rained for almost the entire two weeks! But it didn’t really bother my brother or me, as we spent most of that holiday in the gaming lounge where they had a couple of arcade machines.” One of these glorious machines was Atari’s Asteroids, and a love for gaming was thus cemented over this wet fortnight in East Sussex.
Spexxy and the Speccy
In 1981, Royce’s family, specifically his brother, got a Sinclair ZX81. “My parents thought it would be a good way for him to learn programming,” he notes. As with many amateur computer enthusiasts, the first port of call was magazine type-in listings. “They seemed to take ages to input, and then were never really that good!” The following year, Royce’s brother was left staring at his computer mournfully as his sibling secured a shining new ZX Spectrum 16k. “What a difference!” he exclaims. “The games blew me away, and I never touched the ZX81 again.”
Spexxy In The Arcades
As he grew up, Royce witnessed many of the ground-breaking moments in videogaming. “It’s hard to call the best,” he notes. “From first witnessing Mode 7 scaling and rotation on the Super Nintendo, to the whole CD-ROM era, which brought with it momentous improvements in both video and audio quality.” But for this retro addict, the Nineties and beyond don’t even come close to his particular decade of choice. “The Eighties was the decade of the classic coin-op, and the memories of our local, sweat-scented arcade, complete with its sticky carpet, is still fresh in my mind,” says Royce. “Now, I know that may not be painting the prettiest picture, but none of those bad points mattered when you were standing at a cabinet and dropping your coin into the slot with that satisfying ker-ching!” Like the rainy fortnight in Camber Sands, trips shopping with mum suddenly became mysteriously popular for Royce and his brother. “We were only too keen to go shopping in town because we knew that it would involve a couple of hours in Northampton’s premier arcade!”
Today, Royce loves to collect games consoles, fuelling his mainly Eighties and Nineties nostalgia. “I still have many of the machines I owned back then,” he reveals, “including Acorn Electron, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and NES.” Away from consoles, he has also been a keen PC owner, from 1993 and a 486 DX2 66, to today and his current i7 gaming rig.
Spexxy on Antstream Arcade
While Royce wasn’t aware of Antstream Arcade during its Kickstarter run, he’s an avid subscriber today. “I think it’s a reasonably-priced way to engage with other like-minded gamers, and is packed full of nostalgia.” As a fan of the arcades of old and the challenge of getting your name on those glowing high score tables, that aspect is also a key facet of the service. “I find the challenges invigorating, bringing back some of that old arcade high score pride that I remember from back in the day,” explains Royce. And with hundreds of retro games ready to play, he also appreciates the vast array of games that are available. “There are lots of obscure computer games waiting to be discovered – not all of them great I grant you – but that’s just part of the fun I find!” Finally, when it comes to requests, Royce has no particular games in mind, but would love to see more Atari 2600, Colecovision, Intellivision and Vectrex games on Antstream Arcade. “I also noticed there are Mega Drive games, but no Master System, which would be nice! And for computers, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC and Atari ST games… now I just sound greedy!”
Not at all, everyone has a wish list! Royce’s is regularly on Twitter, and he can be found there most days tweeting retro joy.
Stay tuned for another retro gamer profile soon!