Retro Game Champion: An Origin Story

Lil' Hatter, stylin' and profilin'

MadHatter? Yup, that’s me! I was raised in a small town in Kansas, a few hours away from where my ancestors (the Dalton Gang) met their end robbing two banks in a row in the Old West.

Constantly being around computers and other electronic playthings, I quickly grew to adore them. Even as early as four years old, I was punching in code to make primitive Squot graphics with my family’s TRS-80 computer and was getting high scores on our Atari 2600. A few years later, I became an early pioneer of oldschool gaming, finding myself completely immersed in the Nintendo Entertainment System and the IBM PC.

Since being spawned on Earth, I’ve devoted a massive amount of time, money, and heart into various videogame consoles and sweaty, smoky, neon-lit arcades, experiencing a staggering amount of titles. I didn’t just simply play them, though – they became my calling.

Inside my head lives a ridiculous amount of retro gaming knowledge and obscure trivia. I spent more than a decade performing my game-related Hip-Hop music live. I’ve helped to raise a few thousand dollars for the Extra Life charity drives. Not a single day goes by that I don’t play games for at least a couple hours.

I was obsessed with videogame music from a young age. I used to record the title screens of Nintendo games on my Fisher-Price tape recorder, jam it onto my bike’s handlebars, and then roll around town blasting it for everyone to hear.

Not long after, I was able to hook up to BBSes via screeching vintage modems, and I was a shareware and door game junkie. Yes, I was always waiting for Midnight to roll around in various parts of the world so I could advance my Legend of the Red Dragon characters.

In particular, I’m most invested in fighting games, shmups, and RPGs. Some of my absolute favorite titles include Chrono Trigger, U.N. Squadron, Kid Niki: Radical Ninja, and series such as Street Fighter, Fallout, Metal Slug, and The King of Fighters. My most beloved systems are the NES, SNES, Dreamcast, and above all else... the mighty, mighty Neo Geo.

I’ve created Retro Game Champion mainly to preserve the classic gaming experience as much as I can through stories, images, features, archived files, and streamed gameplay to ensure that these titles live on for future generations to enjoy, never to be forgotten. These games are a major part of our lives and our very history, and I’ll be damned if I will let them disappear.

A step later, Microsoft Windows and the early Internet went hand-in-hand. Our Tandy Sensation that we bought from Radio Shack ushered me into the CD-ROM era.

Several more years beyond that, you would have caught me spending my college Pell Grant on a brand new, freshly launched Sega Dreamcast and nearly every game released at the time instead of food.

These are just a small handful of memories along the timeline of my history with gaming, but these events were surely factors in what drove me to become what I am today: A great, big nerd.

Aside from all of this videogame stuff, I’m also a tabletop gaming fanatic and a decorated aficionado of comic books, '80s and '90s toys and memorabilia, cheeseburgers, and pinball machines. I have an absolutely beautiful partner and kiddos that somehow put up with all of my ridiculous bullshit.