We spoke to The Last Gamer & Guinness World Record holder Joel Hopkins - aka The Last Gamer about his story so far and his experience of owning the largest videogames collection in the World.
The early years...
GYL: What's your most nostalgic game from childhood in your collection and why?
The Last Ninja Commodore 64 - My mum bought it for me for Christmas in 1987 and its one game I still play a couple of times a year. I absolutely love it, the music, the graphics and the playability are amazing. The game has such soul.
GYL: What are your favourite consoles from your childhood and why do they mean so much to you?
Atari 2600 - It was where I started and it was my first Console and I loved playing Pac- Man, Aseroids and Space Invaders, but my all time favourite is the Sega Mega Drive even thought I was a teen. I Also as a kid had a Sega Master System which I treasured, I loved it mainly because I could play Sega Arcade Games at home.
GYL: What was life like in Australia playing games in the 80s?
By far the Best! I think those overseas would think Australia was very absent from video games but its quite the opposite. We had the best of everything, Arcades were amazing in Australia. Nintendo and Sega flourished and like Europe Commodore 64 and Amiga defined video games in Australia.
GYL: Tell us about your experience of playing the arcades growing up?
When I think about growing up with arcades I don’t know how I played so much in such back then. I remember my first arcade being space invaders and then going to a local milk bar between my house and my grandmothers house. Every month there would be a new game, but nothing beats the arcade centre Flashback which was located in Melbourne CBD. I'm currently trying to recreate Flashback in my very own house.
The current collection
GYL: What's your favourite complete set of games in your collection and why (i.e full set of Japanese Mega Drive etc)?
I'll pick 3. First would be the Japanese Sega Mega Drive Collection because of the beautiful colours of the spines and awesome art work.
Second would be the Japanese Sega Saturn with 1274 titles because Saturn is such an underrated console and to have the full set is an achievement.
Third would be the NES because it was fun collecting it and I never had one growing also because of the artwork and the nostalgia.
GYL: What brands gaming evoke the most amount of nostalgia for you?
- publishers Activision
- developers Capcom
- hardware manufacturers Sega
GYL: What arcade game / cabinet do you love the most?
Space Harrier because it screams 1980’s and is Sega at its peak.
GYL: What arcade cabinet would you love to own (and you don't have) and are still are looking to own?
There is only one left and that is Street Fighter 1 with punch pads and on an outside second would be Ninja Warriors with the 3 screens.
GYL: What motivated you to start such a big collection and then go on to aim for the Guinness Record?
I am truely obsessed by video games I love everything about them from the music to the art to the playability, and basically live and breath them.
Having a YouTube channel “The Last Gamer” I felt I have a lot of knowledge and contacts that I like to share with the world. Having an already big collection I decided to go for the Guinness Book of Records as its been a dream of mine since my 20’s.
GYL: Do your friends often come around to play the games in your huge gaming area?
Yes usually on Friday nights and we usually have BIG catch ups every now and then, but id like to do it more however I’m so busy with Last Gamer.
GYL: Who else helps you with the channel and what is their role?
I currently do everything on the Channel from directing, editing and writing but I have Jess and my wife Mandy helping me in the background and Jess as Co-Host in Last Gamer.
Other than games what other collections / passions do you have?
I have a fairly decent sized Star Wars collection that I have been collecting for over 25 years and yes heaps of Tamiya radio controlled cars around 50.
I used to collect real cars such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche etc but have called back on that purely to pursue games.
GYL: What jobs have you had in the gaming industry?
I used to own a shop in 1991 called Australian Vision Games that was open for almost 3 years. I was importing Japanese version of Mega Drive, Super Famicom, PC Engine and Neo Geo just to name a few.
After my shop I worked for Flash Amusements serving and repairing Arcade machines, I now own the name for my own arcade business.
GYL: What projects do you have coming up in 2017?
I have heaps coming up in 2017 all to do with Last Gamer and making the channel come to life with more content and better production. I'm hoping to make it a full time job.
GYL: Tell us about the movie you are creating - any insights into what you'll be doing for it?
The movie is a story from me as a child, up until now. It shows the high’s and low’s of my life and how my every day life is made up of buying, playing and restoring games and also a family in the mix.
Its going to be very raw and confrontational.
GYL: Any new exciting things coming up for the Last Gamer Channel too?
I plan to have 2 new segments. Rare Ware and Story Mode. I plan to do game reviews that will go from 20 mins to half an hour which will be a thorough and in depth look into certain games on all platforms.
GYL: Thanks for your time Joel!
You’re Welcome :)
To see more about Joel and his adventures as The Last Gamer check out the links below: