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Aaron Kraten

Alberto 'Kazuya'
The first interview in Gakkon is dedicated to a lover of the arcade world, the pcb and the shmup. Owner of an exceptional collection and reference of the sector, from Southern California the friend Aaron Kraten answers our questions.
Aaron Kraten

G: What was the first contact you had with a video game system?

The 1st first video game I remember playing was Death Race at a rollerskating rink.

G: Game / platform / and favorite genre.

Ibara Black Label / Arcade / Bullet Hell - Shooter - Shmups.

G: Choose 5 favorite items from your collection and explain the reason for the choice.

My top 5 favorite items are: 1. Megaman 2 (NES) I still absolutely love this game's art / music and racing. 2. Dracula X (PC Engine) There is so much about this game that is amazing and my favorite in the Castlevania series. 3. Esp Ra. De (Arcade) A very unique cyberpunk shmup from Cave. Took me a long time to find this pcb for sale and was worth the wait. The music is top notch, same with the art and difficulty. 4. Thunderforce 3 (Mega Drive) I bought this game when it was 1st released and is still one of my all time favorite shooters . Art and music are tops and the weapon system is also very fun. 5. Street Fighter 2 (Arcade) 1993 was a blur of Capcom pixels and pretty much that whole year was skateboarding and SF2. It seemed like everyone spent their days in a dark arcade playing SF2.

G: At what time do you decide to start collecting and why?

I started collecting video games in the late 90's - I lived in Huntington Beach southern California and every weekend the swap meets would have a large selection of vintage video games for a very cheap price. I started buying Nes, Snes, Genesis with a group of friends and next thing you know I had hundreds of carts in my small apartment. It was super fun to have people over and play games.

Parodius Da! - Sexy Parodius - Fantastic Journey original arcade boards.

G: Analyzing your collection, we see a preference for the world of PCB boards and shmup. In your opinion, what has been the best era of the genre in which you play?

Best era of shmups . As far as shmups the late 90's into 2010. The Cave era is so amazing. So many of Cave's games are spectacular. I play these games the most.

G: Cave / Toaplan / Irem / Taito / Konami. Simply choose one and the reasons.

Cave because the variety of shooters is unparalleled.

G: On Instagram you have more than 2500 followers and each photo is a dedication to the world of videogames and the collecting that surrounds it. What do you think about your influence when it comes to helping and guiding other users?

When I would meet people locally that are into video games, I found no one in my area really cared for Shmups or arcade games. So I thought since I had this collection, I should share it with people on the internet . I am stoked people have been so positive about my feed. I have met some really cool people via the internet that have come out and played shooters at my place for a weekend. I am glad to meet people in the hobby and help people out with advice.

Arcade game storage. Each box has a pcb in it stored in a static proof bag.

G: What is the best and the worst when starting in the collection of video games, especially the arcade world pcb?

The best thing about collecting arcade games is when you find a game that is amazing and it is inexpensive. There are so many hidden gems in the world of pcbs. The worst is when you buy a game and it doesn't work or it is a bootleg.

G: Have you ever thought about stopping collecting?

I honestly don't buy much in the way of arcade games these days but I do like looking forward to picking up a game here and there so I doubt I would ever stop.

G: Battle Garegga, Darius Burst Chronicle Saviors, Raiden V ... the genre Shmup lives a new opportunity among current developers now?

Yes! I am glad people are making shmups and I am looking forward to play new shooters.