Interview: A Gamer’s Paradise—Everything Games Builds Community, Provides Retro Game Nostalgia Fix for All

Retro video games are huge right now, and the collector’s market is booming. Whether you are looking for some good places to relive that childhood nostalgia or you’re just a purist who wants to play those old games the way they’re meant to be played you’ve probably looked through stacks of old games at garage sales and searched eBay to get your nostalgic retro fix. It can be fun hunting for retro treasure but there are some great local game shops that offer community and piles of awesome games. In this series we’re going to be featuring some of our favorite retro game shops from around the Chicagoland area and beyond.

One such location is Everything Games in Buffalo Grove. This shop has been around for ten years, and has expanded from a tiny 800 square foot space to a brand new 5,000 square foot space with enough room for tournaments, tabletop games, video games and more. We sat down with the Operations Manager and Co-Owner Cody Romano and talked to him about what sets Everything Games apart, and even makes it a great place to hang out.

Everything Games, Buffalo Grove, IL. Photo: Marielle Bokor

What's the origin story for Everything Games? I'd love to know more about how you got started!

Ten years ago, my father Perry and I decided to open up Everything Games after seeing a need for a game shop in the greater Buffalo Grove area. We wanted to give gamers of all ages a safe place to play and be gamers. 

Were you a gamer as a child? What types of games did you play?

I definitely have been and always will be a gamer. I grew up playing video games while also playing various trading card games like Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! I also played Warhammer, Dungeons and Dragons, and board games too!

In your opinion, how does Everything Games stand out from your competitors?

I think we stand out in quite a few ways. We are now in a location that's over 5000 square feet, offering a larger play area with quality events. We also try to not be looked at as 'just a trading card store', or video game store, or board game store. We are an overall game store that offers a large selection of many different kinds of games and titles for everyone to enjoy.

Everything Games, Buffalo Grove, IL. Photo: Marielle Bokor

What sort of events do you do?

We run events for various trading card games, like Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!,Digimon, Pokémon, Flesh and Blood --and will be adding more games to the line up. We also have a board game night every week on Wednesdays and offer Warhammer and other miniatures games that can be played here too. I recommend joining our Discord if you're interested in joining us for any of these events- we'd love to have you!

What is the most popular event? Why do you think it's the most popular?

Yu-Gi-Oh! is our most popular by far. We average between 35- 50 players every Saturday! I think it has to do with us having a welcoming environment--and we offer a quality event for everyone who plays.

Everything Games, Buffalo Grove, IL. Photo: Marielle Bokor

Back to the store side of things, what are some of your favorite things out on the shelves or that you'd like to highlight?

We have an amazing selection of Warhammer 40k merchandise and offer some of the best pricing, as well as our ever-growing video game and console selection. Plus, our Pokémon card selection is one of the best in the Midwest!

Everything Games, Buffalo Grove, IL. Photo: Marielle Bokor

So, I know that you also buy games - what is the craziest or most outlandish thing you had someone try to sell to you? What is the craziest thing you actually bought?

We have had pretty crazy stuff come through. I have had someone come in looking to sell two sealed starter decks of Magic: The Gathering's alpha set -- the first official set! I also had someone bring us sealed copies of Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow on the Gameboy. 

Everything Games, Buffalo Grove, IL. Photo: Marielle Bokor

What is the rarest thing you have in the store, for sale or not?

It's hard to pick just one thing but I will say I have some pretty crazy stuff, and still have a couple sealed Pokémon games.

What are some of your plans for the future for Everything Games? What other types of events would you like?

I can't get too much into detail with some of our plans, but what I will say that Everything Games is continuing to grow and will not stop being, in my opinion, the best game store in Chicagoland. Expect to see more events for trading card games and miniatures, but also: We do plan to expand to running events on the video game side of things as well. 

That sounds great! One last question: What would you say to someone who hasn’t visited? What do you think makes people want to visit Everything Games?

Every time someone comes to Everything Games for the first time, there is a look of awe, nostalgia and belonging.

It's amazing to see how excited people are when they come to the store for the first time, and even more exciting when someone comes to show someone else so they can feel the way they felt their fist time. 

Everything Games is a safe place for any gamer, where we want to make sure you can get the things you always wanted or give the games you don't use anymore a chance to bring joy to someone again.

If you'd like to know more about Everything Games, check out their website or visit them in person at 404 W Half Day Rd in Buffalo Grove, IL. If you're interested in tournaments and events, make sure to also join their Discord or follow them on Facebook!

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Antal Bokor

Antal is video game advocate, retro game collector, and video game historian. He is also a small streamer, occasional podcast guest, and writer.