THERE is no such thing as a typical customer at Pete Holmes’ shop.

Customers of the business, which operates at Holmes Music in Faringdon Road, are drawn from all age groups and walks of life.

“It’s a complete and utter mix. I get 15-year-old kids coming to add to their retro games collections, and I get people in their sixties coming to add to their retro games collections. You just never know.

“Somebody will walk in the door and you’ll think, ‘Oh, they’re going to look at vinyl,’ and they come and look at video games.

“I get people who come in and they’ll be looking for a music book.

“They’ll turn round and you can see the big grin come up on their face. It’s a kid-in-a-sweetshop moment.

“The amount of people who’ve come in for a music book and walked out with a Super Nintendo and a couple of games is quite astounding, really.

“You get their stories: ‘I used to have that as a kid!’”

Having played for the best part of 40 years, Pete has a strong idea as to why retro gaming is popular.

“The majority of it is that it takes them back to being a kid again.

“They were the happy, irresponsible days of their youth, when they didn’t have anything to worry about other than going to school and playing video games, I think!

“I’ve been playing since I was 12 and I’m 50 next year, so that’s 38 years. I switch it on and it brings back all those senses and all those feelings of being that kid again.”

Recent surveys suggest the average gamer is about 30. More than half of people aged 35-50 play, while about a fifth of those aged between 50 and 65 do so.

Pete is anything but surprised.

“It’s a pastime that everybody seems to be involved with – children, women, men.

“It’s something that people from all walks of life can get involved with, and it’s a family thing as well. People do play video games as families as opposed to board games nowadays.”

As the earliest examples of what might be called video games consoles were released in the 1970s, there is plenty of scope for nostalgia.

“The very earliest were your basic Pong machine, basically bat and ball - and which, graphically, weren’t fantastic. But they were great to play.

“From there it progressed to the Atari 2600, which is what I grew up on in the Seventies.

“You had games like Space Invaders, Pacman and Outlaw; it was really Atari that brought home consoles to the market in a mass-produced way.”

Another measure of how long console gaming has been with us is the emergence of video game folklore.

The Atari 2600, for example, was arguably killed off by a game based on Spielberg film ET, which was so bad that unsold copies were famously buried in New Mexico landfill.

Some were unearthed in 2013, with this new take on archaeology being filmed for a documentary.

Then there was Adventure, another Atari Game, which was the first to contain a so-called Easter Egg - a secret waiting to be uncovered by particularly determined players.

The one in Adventure was a key part of the plot in Spielberg’s Ready Player One, released last year.

“I know many people who’ve gone and played that game just so they can find this one thing at the end of it.”

Pete cautions against seeing vintage games as a lucrative investment as prices can fluctuate.

“I don’t encourage people to collect for the money side of things; I encourage people to collect to play.

“It doesn’t matter if you’ve got an expensive game in your collection as long as you enjoy playing it.”

Pete’s website is