Inside Retro-Sect The UK’s Hidden Gem Retro Games Store

retro-sect shop

Here in the UK, retro game stores are dwindling in numbers. The majority have shut down over the years due to high rent costs, scalpers inflating the prices, and collectors keeping everything they can. However, there are still some that are just about surviving, and I want to create a new YouTube show and original features dedicated to these incredible places – The Retroad Show.

Today I make my way to a lesser-known store called Retro-Sect, hidden in the middle of the UK in a small town called Tewkesbury just off of the M5 north of Cheltenham. This store is renowned for vintage car meetups, but the owner Ben also has a soft spot for retro video games and vintage toys, so much so that the car showroom has now evolved into a nostalgic hub for collectors and those interested in anything made between the early 80’s and early 2000’s.

So Ben, What Made You Create This Incredible Store?

Ben: I originally wanted to create a retro car showroom, then some circumstances changed and I started buying more and more stuff such as game consoles that I wanted customers to play on, interesting things that weren’t just cars in a storage unit. The more games stuff I bought, the more I realised this was an entire shop’s worth of products.

And this was made very clear as soon as I walked into the door; I was greeted with large Super Mario figures, classic Coca-Cola toys, vintage CRT TVs playing Sonic The Hedgehog, and boxed classic PC video games that I remember playing as a child in the 90’s.

I turned the corner to then see the kiosk filled with rare boxed games for the SEGA Mega Drive and even pristine condition boxed Pokemon games from 1999 that I wanted for my own collection. It’s clear that Ben either has great taste or a severe collecting problem… or maybe both.

inside retrosect game shop

Ben doesn’t just sell video games either; although that is a large portion of the shop, he also sells vintage toys such as Micro Machines, Hot Wheels, Scalectrix, Star Wars toys, rare trading cards, and many more from the 90s era that made me instantly feel like a kid in a candy shop.

What Are The Rarest Items In Your Store Right Now?

Ben: There’s the R.O.B. Robot NES Deluxe Set which is pretty rare (priced at £650), there’s a Tiger Electronic Pink Panther game that was launched in Italy, which I didn’t realise how rare it was. I have a very rare SEGA watch that was from a SEGA Master System Pre-order bonus.

I have C3PO and R2D2 Star Wars figures that are some of the rarest around and are £600 a piece. When I bought them from a customer, I immediately thought these two figures were fake because they looked off, but a friend came around and quickly informed me that they are some of the rarest Star Wars figures on earth, featured in the 80s “Droid Comics”.

How Do You Source Your Products?

Ben: When I first opened, I was on eBay 20 hours a day, on Facebook Marketplace trying to look for particular things, going around to people’s houses, a bit of word of mouth stuff too. Now that I have been open for more than 6 months, I get an awful amount of people bringing trade-ins, and I will trade anything I have in the shop.

What Games/Products Did You Adore As A Kid?

Ben: I have a lot of things behind the counter from my childhood. Ben’s collection featured his very own cartridge of Tetris, a boxed Zelda: Link’s Awakening on Game Boy, a video game soundtrack of The Legend of Zelda, and boxed PC games such as Sim City 2000 and the original Quake.

There were also lots of nods to cars, such as the Stand Crab RC Car, Matchbox, Hot Wheels, and more Micro Machines.

Ben: One thing I didn’t have as a child that I really wanted was the Nintendo Super Mario Bros. watches, i remember being insanely jealous of a friend who did have one, so when I opened the shop and customers had some to sell, I massively overcompensated for it and now have loads in my shop.

What Are You Seeing Grow Swiftly In Popularity These Days?

Ben: VHS continues to surprise me. When I first planned the shop I didn’t even plan a section for VHS, but once I started looking into it, I started feeling nostalgic about it myself, so I quickly realised that there is a place for it in people’s collections, even if it’s not necessarily what they are watching. Many customers who buy VHS don’t even own a VHS player, they just want their childhood VHS that they remember.

Ben must have had over 100 VHS tapes in his store, from classic Disney movies to Transformers, to Space Jam, all in great condition. He even sells VHS players too, with some CRT TVs with built-in VHS players. This is in Ben’s electronics section which also features old school radios and cassette players.

Let’s Talk About The Cars… The Big Ones That Is.

fiat 126 retrosect garage

Ben: Many who come into the store are surprised that I sell cars, even though it was originally planned, cars have been my love for many years, and my father worked at Car magazine back in the day. I have always wanted all of the things I like in this store, including the cars which weren’t going to be second fiddle.

Ben couldn’t help but mention that he also has a Nissan GTR in his collection, after asking what variant he replied with “1984 Skyline DR30 RS-X Turbo C Iron Mask“. For a second I thought he was having a fit, but in fact this is the real name that might mean something to you car nerds, but to a gaming nerd like me it just sounded like one of ANBERNIC’s new handhelds that I always review.

It’s very obvious that Ben is in love with cars, and it spills over into this game collection too. He was working on an old Fiat 126 that I fell in love with; a dream car of mine has been a classic Fiat 500, but this was close enough, with the Italian flag and everything.

Ben often puts on car meets and combines them with gaming sessions as he has a dual-screen CRT setup with retro consoles and fighting sticks set up just feet away from the garage, it’s an incredibly cool spot to hand with buds and work on cars.

What’s The Future Of Retro-sect?

ben retrosect

I want to share with you my opinions of what I think Retro-sect will become, from someone who has explored Ben’s shop for a day, listening to him and understanding his deep passion for nostalgia.

The future of Retro-sect is bright, niche, and community-driven. It’s a calm place filled with memories at every corner, taking you down a lane that will overwhelm you with an array of incredibly enjoyable emotions and nostalgia.

It’s a collector’s dream hideaway, filled with products that you know a lot about, but many more that you have probably never heard of, and Ben is there to fill you in with as much information as possible. There are some things he knows little about and simply wants in the shop because they look awesome too; he’s only human, after all!

And that’s personally what I respect about Ben; he is organic, open, honest, and wants to give customers a fair deal while being able to keep the store open for as long as possible and not lose it to the evil conglomerates that have consumed the many incredible retro game shops this country once had.

He’s building a haven of nostalgia mixed with his passion for cars. The cars have a much higher ROI and although he does sell A LOT of retro items, the car sales can keep the lights on. It’s a mutual relationship between car sales and retro sales working in unison to survive the high rent fees and the never-ending increasing prices of collectibles.

Ben is building a hub that I love and I know other collectors and retro gamers will also thoroughly enjoy. He is genuinely happy when anyone walks through the door, even if it’s to learn, play games, look at cars, and then leave again. Bringing happiness to his customers is at his core, and for that reason, I adore what he is building and I would love it if you could visit Retro-sect when you’re in the UK. It’s one of this country’s last pure retro gaming stores built with experience at the forefront of the visit.

The country needs more retro game shops like this; visit Ben’s official Retro-sect website to learn more.

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