PORTLAND, Ore. — Let's go back to 1988. Picture a young Nina Mehlhaf. It's Christmas.
My only "want" in life was a Nintendo. My mom convinced me it wasn't happening. That morning, I opened all the presents, and it wasn't there. She and my dad left the living room and made coffee, signaling Christmas presents were over.
At least 20 minutes went by. An eternity.
Then I was called back into the living room. My mom points to a big, wrapped box, and I about lost my marbles tearing off the paper and find the classic Nintendo! This was that moment.
Now there's a place in Portland where you can relive Christmas 1988! Or 1982, or 1990.
You can play the original Nintendo, plus Super Nintendo, plus Nintendo 64 and the GameCube, along with over a dozen other systems for free, for hours.
Retro Game Bar on Northeast MLK Jr. Blvd. and Dekum Street in Portland opened in May and already has a cult following.
Married couple Jason and Shira Yovu opened it because of Jason's love of video games. Jason has over 1,000 games in his personal collection and 17 different gaming systems. He's brought about 250 games to the bar with plans to slowly introduce the rest, including the rare ones that he'll reserve for true gaming historians who ask for them by name.
Retro Game Bar has old school couches, just like you used to play on in your childhood basement or rec room, plus four large TVs embedded within the liquor cabinets above the bar, split into two, so you can watch or play up to eight options.
"They really bring out the nostalgia, that feeling of being a child again that feeling on Christmas when you really wanted a new system and you got it and you were just so excited," said Shira Yovu. "It was just a simpler time when you could play a game. You didn't have all these adult worries, and it's fun to be able to check out for a night and play some games that remind you of that time and be like, 'Yeah!'"
Most of the time, RGB is 21-and-up with playful cocktail names like the "Final Fanta" and "Majora's Mask", a play on an old Zelda game. They're also expanding their menu past all the different kinds of hot dogs they currently offer.
On weekends though, the kids can come for Saturday and Sunday morning cartoons from the old days playing on a large projector screen, choose from about six kinds of fun cereal and play video games from 11am-3pm.
Visit them: https://www.rgbpdx.com/