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Gaming classics, contemporary

Owners Jason and Diane Matic stand in their new business, Games Then and Now, at 1308 Tower Ave. Monday. The store, which opened Friday, focuses on new and retro video games and gaming systems. The couple from Cambridge, Minn., moved to Superior Aug. 1 and opened the store Aug. 25. Jed Carlson/

The name says it all.

Whether you're looking for retro favorites like Ms. Pac-Man, Asteroids and Mario Brothers, or new releases like Madden 18, there's a good chance Games Then and Now carries it.

The new store at 1308 Tower Ave., which buys, sells and trades video games and gaming systems, opened Friday. Crowds were good over the weekend, said owners Jason and Diane Matic. The traffic even included some Duluth residents.

For Jason Matic, opening Games Then and Now is the fulfillment of a childhood dream. His earliest gaming memories were forged on an Atari 2600.

"My favorite game back then was Pac-Man," he said.

His wife traced her gaming journey back to arcade consoles.

"My hand-eye coordination wasn't that great," Diane Matic said. "I just enjoyed going to, like, 7-11 and playing Centipede."

When they became a couple, they shared a classic Nintendo Entertainment System.

Four kids and many gaming systems later, the Matics decided to make the move from the area of Cambridge, Minn., to Superior.

"We had family in the area and wanted to move closer to them," Diane Matic said. "We just thought this would be a great place to start a business."

He was a controls engineer; she was working in retail. They moved Aug. 1 to Superior and opened Games Then and Now 24 days later.

The Matics said they eyed sites in both Duluth and Superior for the business, but settled on the Tower Avenue location. It has high-visibility, is on the bus route and parking is available in the front and on side streets. The size was ideal, the couple said, and it even came with slat walls perfectly suited to holding games.

In some ways, the reconstruction of Tower Avenue helped spark their decision to bring the game store to Superior.

"A lot of improvements in the city that we're seeing," Jason Matic said. "I mean, three years ago if I were looking to open a business here I wouldn't do it. But in three years, we've seen the improvements coming up here just on vacations and stuff."

The couple said they aim to offer all the newest games and consoles, but will concentrate on games from days gone by.

"The new games you can get on Amazon or whatever," Diane Matic said. "The retro stuff is really hard to find."

They're eager to see what treasures local gamers are looking to part with.

"Whatever people bring in, we'll take a look at it," Jason Matic said.

If customers have an old title they're searching for, the couple can also keep an eye out for it.

The shop currently employs two.

"We'll start and see where we can go from there," Diane Matic said.

Games Then and Now is a few blocks away from two other Superior game shops, I play and Level Up. The Matics said they felt there was room for all the stores to flourish downtown.

The couple said they invite feedback from customers to help tailor their selections — from more board games or other merchandise to space for Pokemon card games.

Games Then and Now is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit the Games Then and Now Facebook page, or call (715) 901-3966.