Video game store 8-Bit Hall of Fame, a locally owned business filled with gaming memorabilia from every decade, is back in business after being destroyed by Hurricane Ian six months ago. The store, originally operating off of Bonita Beach Road, reopened March 24 in a new home in Gulf Coast Town Center.
Hurricane Ian was a devastating loss for 8-Bit Hall of Fame owner Jason Crosser. His entire inventory of retro games, consoles, pinball machines and more fell victim to water damage. Crosser, after losing his collection that he started as a child, wasn’t sure if reopening a store in Southwest Florida was the best decision. It was the overwhelming support from the local community that convinced him to bring 8-Bit Hall of Fame back to life.
“I got so many positive messages, that really helped out a lot,” Crosser said. “Everyone messaging and calling me, it was very humbling. It made me realize that I could start the business back up here.”
Crosser started receiving messages from people willing to sell part of their own accumulation of games and collectibles to help kickstart a new store. Crosser started buying off collectors in November with everything in the new 8-Bit Hall of Fame being mostly from four different collection purchases.
“There is [a collection] from Fort Myers, one from Naples, one from Tampa and then one from Chicago,” Crosser said. “I flew to Chicago and got a U-Haul truck, and the guy had a 2,900-square-foot basement that was just all video games, and it was amazing.”
When looking for a new space to open 8-Bit Hall of Fame, choosing the 3,000-square-foot unit in Gulf Coast Town Center was a decision Crosser made to limit the risk of water damage.
“I definitely wanted to get away from the water,” Crosser said. “I looked at Coconut Point and a lot of places but they’re still on 41 so it was still too close [to the water], they didn’t really get much water damage [from Ian] at all but it still scared me too much.”
Customers that are familiar with what 8-Bit Hall of Fame has to offer will notice a lot of similarities with what they’ll find in the new store. Not only does Crosser have cases full of games across many retro consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis, but he has games for newer systems like the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Those who visit also will find Nintendo World Championships guides from the ’90s and original Nintendo of America paperwork.
Since Crosser has just restarted his collection, he is relying on people willing to sell and trade items, a concept that was also part of his original store.
“I don’t have a ton of inventory, so I need people to sell me and trade in items,” Crosser said. “That’s what I’m really worried about, selling stuff and not having people bring in things to sell. I want to buy stuff from everybody or trade.”
With 8-Bit Hall of Fame officially open for video game lovers to visit and admire the variety of memorabilia, Crosser is grateful for the community’s encouragement to keep the business in Southwest Florida.
“It was a long, rough couple of months for sure,” Crosser said. “To everybody that helped out I give a big thanks, and thanks to the entire community here for the support.”
8-Bit Hall of Fame, 9903 Gulf Coast Main St., Suite G-135, is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.