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A daily look back at the toys, games, and objects that captured our attention as children and continue to fascinate us today.

The Friday Five: Nick Collins

When Nick Collins created a Blockbuster-inspired environment to showcase his personal VHS collection, he never imagined his DIY basement video store would resonate so powerfully with others. What started as a personal project has turned into a full-time pursuit for Collins. Here, he shares the origin of his unlikely hobby.

What was the inspiration behind the creation of Nostalgia Video?

Nostalgia Video is an homage to classic video rental stores. Almost everyone remembers picking out VHS tapes with family or friends. I remember renting Child’s Play 2 and Trolls 2. It was fun! I set up my basement in the image of Blockbuster to showcase my personal collection of VHS tapes. I want to recreate that feeling of my own video store, complete with candy! It’s a great feeling to see those covers again. My online video store was created so people with similar interests could buy physical copies of the movies they love. I wasn’t much of a social media guy but I set up an Instagram account to showcase the store. Interest has grown at a crazy rate!

The Friday Five

Where did your fondness of VHS tapes start? 

I collected retro video games with my brother, Ned. We were obsessive about it before we realized that getting every single video game was an unattainable goal. Ned lost interest and I started collecting wrestling and horror films on VHS. It felt like a natural next step. I’ve always had a working VCR and would fall asleep while watching classics like Home Alone. VHS collecting became an even bigger passion for me than retro video games. 

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What brings people back to VHS tapes in an era of digital content?

Stranger Things is a catalyst, for sure. American Horror Story, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy all have nostalgic references. Streaming has dumbed-down accessing content to convenience, but there’s more charm to physical media, something tangible. People seem to long for it.

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Do you have favourites within your collection?

I still love horror movies, wrestling, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Some of the Ninja Turtles tapes are hard to track down. I think it’s the thrill of the hunt that makes finally finding something special. I’ve used a lot of gas and time to find some of my tapes so I try to get as much as I can online. One of the tapes I consider most special is the 1987 movie The Monster Squad. I rented that movie so much as a kid that the video store actually gave it to me because no one else rented it. It sits on my shelf in a plastic protector. When I posted it on Instagram, a member of the cast commented on the post–that was pretty cool.

One of these days, I will get around to recording a complete inventory of the hundreds of tapes in my collection. Right now, it’s all in my head. 

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What has surprised you about the response to Nostalgia Video?

It’s definitely bewildering. I thought maybe a couple of hundred people would be interested. The Instagram account has almost 16,000 followers and millions of views. It’s really cool but I never envisioned this reaction. I’m happy to ride this out and see where it goes.

The Friday Five

Visit Nostalgia Video to peruse Collins’ collection of tapes and merchandise.

Five questions, one fascinating person (or team!) – look into the minds of movers and shakers in the nostalgia, game, play, or toy industry.