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A new adventure: Irwin man sells massive Nintendo collection to start business

Aaron Aupperlee
| Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, 10:36 a.m.
Nick Rodriguez and his son, Maximus Rodriguez, 3, browses some of his dad's games inside his home in Irwin on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Nick Rodriguez and his son, Maximus Rodriguez, 3, browses some of his dad's games inside his home in Irwin on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
Nick Rodriguez's game room inside his home in Irwin on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Nick Rodriguez's game room inside his home in Irwin on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

A massive and nearly 100 percent complete original Nintendo collection is up for sale.

Nick Rodriguez, the 33-year-old collector, who kept a Nintendo collection worth thousands in a closet in his Irwin home decided this week to sell it all to Warp Zone, a video game store in Greensburg.

"I was sad to see it go, but if I could build a strong future for my family, it's worth it," Rodriguez told me via text message this morning.

Warp Zone posted a video on Facebook Wednesday morning about acquiring the collection. In it, Carey Williams, the shop's owner, said pieces of the collection would be up sale at the store.

"Nick is deciding to pass along the torch of this collection to Warp Zone for us to divide out into the world, basically," Williams said in the video, shot in front of a wall of games inside Rodriguez's recently renovated collection closet.

"I had a lot of fun collecting everything, a full NES set, a damn near full N64 set, but I've reached the point where I'm trying to do more," Rodriguez said in the video. "I started a business, and I needed to invest so this — even though it was fun, and I do still love it; I didn't lose interest — is going to go to Warp Zone. Like he said, he is going to try to get it out there to you guys so hopefully some of you guys get to own a piece of my of old collection and I hope you guys enjoy it."

Williams and Warp Zone helped out Rodriguez tremendously on his quest to acquire all 677 officially licensed games released in North America for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. He got close, only missing the North American version of Stadium Events, a holy grail among game collectors that sells for thousands, sometimes more than $10,000 on Ebay. About 200 were sold and far less remain. Rodriguez does have a European version, which sells for just under a $1,000.

Williams even sold Rodriguez games from his personal collection to help him.

A complete collection could be worth $10,000 to $20,000 or more. Rodriguez can't begin to add up what he spent on his collection. He would not say how for how much he sold his collection to Warp Zone.

Rodriguez had been working for a towing company in the Pittsburgh area. About three weeks ago, he quit that job and bought a car to use to do roadside assistance calls, like jump-starts, unlocking doors, delivering gas and changing tires. He was doing OK with the new gig but wanted to do more.

"If I'm going to do this, I want to go hard like I do everything else in life," Rodriguez said. "I usually go ahead first, which sometimes it's a mistake, but it's the only thing I know how to do."

Rodriguez said he wants to buy a tow truck and add that to his business. He decided three days ago that if someone agreed to buy the entire collection, all his NES games, his N64 games and his Super Nintendo games, he would part with it. Rodriguez and Williams had a serious talk about two days ago. Williams showed up with the money to buy it on Tuesday.

Carey Williams, 36, owner of Warp Zone in South Greensburg, in his shop. | Photo by Dan Speicher

Williams said he is happy to help Rodriguez launch his new business.

"I can relate," Williams said in the Facebook video. "When we started Warp Zone, same kind of thing, I sold many pieces out of my own personal collection to just keep building the store and my own business."

It should come as no surprise that Rodriguez decided to part ways with his collection to help his family. Collecting games has always been about his family — his wife and young sons Nicholes Jr., Yandel and Maximus. He started collecting in order to share his love of Nintendo with his family. Collecting then turned into a family affair with weekend trips to game stores and flea markets together.

Now Rodriguez hopes the collection turns into a future for his family.

"They still have all their systems and handhelds, so gaming will never stop, but all my personal stuff was worth letting go to make a family business. My kids show interest in towing. I'd want them to take over in 10-15 years or at least start to take steps into it," Rodriguez said.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at aaupperlee@tribweb.com, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

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