Friday, 23 February 2007

Genki Interview Exclusive

1. Tell me a little bit about the company. What can I find if I visit your store? was founded to bring more more exposure to the delightful Japanese exclusive titles that don't make it to the West. In a global world influences from other cultures cross pollinate across the internet and growing exposure to manga, anime and Akiba culture has meant bringing out Japanese games in Western markets is much more feasible. The situation has improved, but going back over the last decade we can see countless examples of fine games not being released outside Japan, particularly on machines that excelled in Japan such as the PC Engine and Saturn.

Genki launched properly on seven eleven (7th of November) 2005 (though we have no connection to the convenience store.) Genki genrally means "fine", and is frequently used to ask "How are you?" In Japan. The language translation software often brings this out as "Is it vigorous?" which is slightly more vague in the English language.... ;) Luckily certain members of the Genki team speak Japanese allowing us to avoid disturbing the harmony too much with our gruff Western ways on buying trips to Japan. And it also lets us get hold of titles not commonly available - but we always base our price on what we have paid for the game and not what we could potentially sell it for. Hopefully in doing so we are making import gaming less exclusive.

2. Do you have many customers from other countries than UK? Is it easy to order games, pay etc?

Our main customer base is in the UK, but we also export overseas around half of our games - mainly to North America and Western Europe. The site is rigged up with a cart system to WorldPay with its ultra safe system, but we accept other payment methods too.

3. Do you see any interesting trends in the import/retro world from your perspecive as an seller?

To be honest the beauty of the import market is the vast variety of genres and systems it has. Whilst there will always be the big titles on each system such as Taromaru, Crows and Dungeons and Dragons on the Saturn, or Kaze Kiri, Steam Hearts and Sapphire on the PC Engine, we get requests for train sims, pachinko titles, anime themed Famicom games, a bomb diffusal game on the PSX, war sims... Of course our staple market is the shoot em up and fighting titles with liberal lashings of platformers. But the real beauty lies in the diversity of titles out there. Such requests are always welcome through our "Customer Request" facility - it often alerts us to brilliant titles we may have missed and hopefully ends with another very satisfied customers...
We try to give as much coverage to various consoles as our customers will allow us: as such we are particularly well stocked on the Saturn, Dreamcast, PC Engine, Super Famicom, Mega Drive and Playstation. The Famicom, WonderSwan, XBox and PC FX tend to have less of a fan base so we have to go steady on our spending sprees there.

4. Do you play/collect games for yourself?

Yes. Personally my first import machine was a Super Famicom and unfortunately the folks
didn't see the warning signs then. :) Having beautiful box packaging added to the regret of selling them and was probably when I first realised I was a collector. Buying a Neo Geo and brand new carts probably wasn't the intented way to spend an eighteenth birthday £1k coming of age present. Nor was getting a PSX for £700 on release. But such misdemeanours are all part of import gamings rich tapestry. Luckily Genki would never charge such prices... :)

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