A lot of you out there may have heard of Funstock; a familiar company that has now reached out firmly in to the Retro Gaming Community. Funstock Retro has a catchy motto that let's us know exactly what kind of ethos they spread: "Europe's #1 Retro Gaming Destination". Having spent some time reviewing Funstock's products in the past I felt compelled to dive in to their world that little bit further to find out just what we can expect to see in the future. I had a chat with Andy Pearson; Funstock's Head of Marketing to establish just that.
#1Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became acquainted with Funstock?
I was originally working for PQube and part of my role there was to Market and PR the retro hardware range. Later in my role we setup Funstock as a retail channel to push this range to a wider audience. My background is Marketing and PR and it now encompasses all aspects of online retailing too.
#2What consoles and games did you grow up on?
I had pretty much everything growing up. I remember having a C64 but this is really really vague, I was born in ’86, so I would have been less than 10 when I had that. However, I vividly remember unboxing the SEGA Mega Drive with Golden Axe! From then on I had all of the key consoles, with some of my favourites being the SNES, Dreamcast, N64 and PS2.
Games wise, my all-time favourites are Zombies Ate My Neighbours (SNES), Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 (on PC), Warriors of Fate (arcade), Bezerk (arcade), Sunset Riders (arcade) and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (arcade).
#3You can take one console and one game to a desert island. What would they be?
Retron 5 and Super Mario All Stars (I’d go with the Retron 5 for the HD upscaling J)
#4 For those that aren’t aware of Funstock how would you best describe the brand to them?
Funstock is ‘new ways to enjoy old games’. We don’t sell original hardware, but we sell everything you can imagine to play your original games on: consoles, merchandise, books, movies, soundtracks and more. We are Europe’s Number One Retro Gaming Destination and our goal is to become the World’s largest!
#5 What are your personal favourite Retro Gaming items that Funstock currently sell and why?
All of the android handhelds – I currently have the GPD XD. I love having one in my bag at all times, so no matter where I am I can pull it out and play some of my favourites (usually something on MAME). The books are also a personal favourite as they’re really well put together and I absolutely LOVE “From Bedrooms To Billions” – it is fascinating. All of the exclusive products we sell are high on my list of personal favourites, as we have very close relationships with the creators. It’s a pleasure to work with such cool people and an honour to be able to push their amazing products to such a wide audience.
#6How do you respond to people that criticise the Retron 5? (Death Grip issues etc)
The “death grip” issue is literally a non-issue. If you use the correct technique there is no grip at all, it just glides out easily. The issue was never present in the EU models. We’ve never had a single console returned for a “death grip” and I would be genuinely surprised if I ever saw one.
I’m not sure what some of the other common issues are, but I would be happy to answer them.
Thinking about it now, an interesting one I did have myself – not being able to press “start” on some games. This one took me a few days to figure out a solution to, but I got there in the end. The issue was that some of my cartridges worked, but I couldn’t start the game as it was like the controller wasn’t being recognised. It turned out the solution was the region switch. Some titles (and I’m assuming this can easily be fixed in patches) were auto-region selected incorrectly. The solution is to manually select the region on those ones! I hope this helps someone out there.
#7 What are your personal thoughts on Emulation?
My own personal original console and game collection is pretty impressive (although nothing compared to some of the hardcore guys out there!) and I have a dedicated games room for them – I love the packaging and physical cartridges and there’s just something “great” about the originals. However, I also really like having a Retron 5 or an Android device under my 55” 4K HD TV in my living room, with the HD upscaling! It’s more convenient and great for getting a quick game in. I’m a fan of anything that encourages people to play these old games.
#8 How do Funstock interact with the Retro Gaming community as a whole?
In many, many ways! Facebook, Twitter, Forums, events, email, phone, Instagram, YouTube and more. We try and be as accessible as possible. I’m a very friendly person (as I hope you would agree!) and I’m always excited to talk about retro gaming, with anyone! We have a team here who help with the social media side, but it was me who built it from nothing in the early days and from that, I’ve made a lot of very cool friends!
#9 What do you think are some of the best parts of the Retro Gaming community overall?
We operate in a wide range of industries overall and we are exposed to all different kinds of communities and the Retro gaming community is one of my favourites. There’s a broad spectrum of people from all different walks of life and it’s very very rare you meet anyone who just wants to be a keyboard warrior or out of line for no reason. It’s a really positive, collaborative community and it’s a pleasure to be so involved with it.
#10 What can we expect to see from Funstock in the future?
A LOT. We’ve grown this business exponentially over the past few years and we are by far the largest operation in Europe. Our goal is to be the World’s Number One Retro Gaming Destination and I feel we are well on track to achieve that. We just launched www.funstockretro.fr and we now have a dedicated office in France and we plan to open an office in Germany and then hopefully the USA. We get a lot of traffic from the USA and it’s somewhere with a HUGE history of retro gaming. We will be continuing to work with our exclusive partners and we welcome anyone out there with a cool idea to get in touch.
#11 Tell us where the community can find you? (Twitter, Facebook etc)
Retro Game Reviews. Mega Drive, Super Nintendo, Sega Dreamcast and more
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