This RVG Exclusive Interview is a Celebrity Special as we talk to Dave Berry about his retro gaming memories and his love of gaming in general. For our readers from around the world, who may not be familiar with his background, Dave is a famous TV and Radio presenter in the United Kingdom. He began his radio career on Capital Radio in 2007 where he presented the Saturday afternoon show. Today you can tune to his “Dave Berry Breakfast Show” on Absolute Radio, weekdays from 6 to 10 PM.
What prompted me to want to interview Dave was my curiosity as to whether celebrities are hooked on gaming (retro gaming in particular) as much as we are. I spend much of my spare time creating retro gaming-related content for RVG and the question came to my mind about celebrities and their interest in retro gaming. This interview is the result of that curious question and it is the first of a series of Celebrity Interviews that you will be seeing here on RVG. Read on and enjoy!
Hi Dave, firstly thank you for agreeing to chat with us, can you tell you and your love of gaming?
The pleasure is all mine.
I get a lovely warming glow of nostalgia from retro video games. It’s strange actually because I often find a little video or screen grab of a game I remember from my youth has a much more transportive effect that even music or movies.
Nowadays, I mainly play FIFA on the PlayStation 4, but not online just on my own. Monday to Friday I host a live breakfast radio show as well as other projects, all of which I love due to their creative nature and the volume of ideas myself and the team come up with. Whatever somebody does for a living or the other challenges day to day life can present it’s sometimes nice to just sit and think of nothing but the game.
For me it’s putting the little ball in the back of the other teams net more times than they can mine, it is good for my mental well being to switch off in that way.
Can you tell us a bit about your gaming memories?
When I was very little I can recall my Dad trying to explain to me that he’d bought a video games machine and my young mind presumed he meant the ones I’d seen when we’d been in pubs on holiday and thinking to myself how amazing one would look in our front room…It transpires he was referring to an Atari 2600 bundle he had snapped up from a guy at work, I was probably the only kid in the World who was disheartened when an Atari came home in the 1980’s!
But true to form with both ‘PAC-MAN’ and ‘Space Invaders’ on offer I was soon over-joyed. I also remember Dad played it a lot more than me or my little sister ever did!
As fun as the 2600 was the pull of an arcade machine remained strong, most of my misspent secondary school lunch breaks were taken in ‘Johns Kebabs’ in Charlton, South-East London watching bigger kids duke it out on ‘Street Fighter 2’. I did get play one hallowed day and even made it through to a second opponent in front of all my school chums. Chun li defeated me, she gets me every time.
Do you still own any older systems these days?
I had managed to hold onto quite a few old favourites across something like seven different house moves. I had my Atari 2600, my little sisters Gameboy. A Mega Drive given to me by a friend as well as a NES given to me by a work colleague. The last two mentioned highlight a nice thing about retro gaming, people will more often than not have a favourite game and enthuse when talking about it, one such conversation resulted in a friend of mine at MTV bringing his boxed NES the following day, saying he’d dug it out for me as I was clearly into that kind of thing. It is with a heavy heart I must tell you that they were all stolen when my garage was broken into one night, those reading this, please do keep your retro beauties safe and sound. The only positive was that my SNES and all of it’s games were in the house so at least the bas*^rds didn’t get their hands on my Mario World!
What was your favourite computer including games?
Over the years I have had love affairs with a variety of different games across different consoles and systems. Early favourites were ‘Saboteur’ and ‘Chase HQ’ On the Spectrum 48K. I was playing both a few years after their original release dates due to the computer being given to us by a family friend who no longer wanted it and whilst I found both utterly engrossing I always knew the idea of ‘Having a quick game before school’ was a mere pipe dream due to the three month loading time of the Spectrum.
And favourite console plus games?
By far, the vast majority of my gaming favourites came courtesy of the SNES. I pined for it having played ‘Final Fight’ on my friends imported Famicom. I begged my parents for one, I saved my pocket money and eventually got one and to this day, it remains one of the wisest investments I have ever made.
It is true to say that ‘Mario Kart’ ‘Street Fighter 2’ and ‘Starwing’ are games I still revisit to this day and I can still remember the heart in the mouth moment I first played ‘Another World’ (Even though I was useless at it) The cinematography was simply mind blowing.
Later in life I’d spend hours on the slopes of ‘SSX’ and even more hours stealing cars in ‘Vice City’ on the PlayStation.
Are you shocked at the resurgence of retro gaming into the mainstream?
I am not surprised by the love for a things retro gaming as it’s human nature to enjoy that glow of nostalgia I mentioned. I think their is a simple equation here : Fond gaming memory + A little spare cash x Ebay = Warm glow.
Have you ever visited any of the gaming events popping up these days?
I recently went to the ‘Video Games’ exhibition at The V&A museum in Kensington and one part of it that I found particularly interesting was the idea of ‘Punk Arcade machines’. The idea being that programmers and artists are creating uniquely styled arcade cabinets that are springing up in unusual places. The point, so it said was to encourage people to play together, stood or sat side-by-side like the old days. I find it difficult to comprehend that online gaming has been going for so long now that there are young people pining for that bygone era of playing with somebody who is in the same room as you. I think this a wonderful!
A huge thank you to Dave for taking the time to chat with us, to say I am humbled is an understatement, thank you so much fella and keep on retroing.
I hope you enjoyed reading this opening celebrity interview, keep checking back for more in the near future.
Retro head and key holder of RVG.