Here's Some Footage Of A Young Matt Berry Exploring CeX's Dedicated Retro Shop 1
Image: DKTronics70

We've laboured this point a few times in the past, but it's important to remember that UK high-street retailer CeX didn't start out as the technological swap shop it is today – in the beginning, it was primarily concerned with imported games and hardware from Japan and North America, and was one of the leading venues when it came to sourcing the latest and great gaming gear.

Before it morphed into the repository of second-hand mobile phones and DVDs that we know and love today, CeX even had its own dedicated retro store – and, it's worth pointing out, this was towards the end of the 1990s, a time when retro was only just becoming recognised as a viable commercial sector of the market.

Here's Some Footage Of A Young Matt Berry Exploring CeX's Dedicated Retro Shop 1
An advertisement for the CeX Retro Store from 1999 — Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Based in Whitfield Street – where the first CeX had opened a few years beforehand – the retro shop was packed with delights. Your correspondent recalls visiting in the late '90s to pick up copies of Macross: Do You Remember Love on the Saturn, Aero Blasters on the Mega Drive and even a brand-new and boxed Sega Nomad (which the store seemed to have multiple units of, for some reason). On our first visit, we were informed that the week previously, Hideo Kojima himself had dropped by and kindly signed a bunch of Metal Gear titles.

Here's Some Footage Of A Young Matt Berry Exploring CeX's Dedicated Retro Shop 1
The location of CeX's long-dead retro store — Image: Google Maps

CeX's standalone retro store wasn't long for this world, sadly, and would soon be absorbed into the nearby Rathbone Place shop (it was in the basement at one point). Now, retro has become a large part of CeX's appeal, but it no longer sells imported items, sadly.

As we grow older our memories of the Whitfield Street unit are fading, so you can imagine how excited we were to stumble across this footage of the shop online – hosted by none other than a youthful-looking Matt Berry.

The segment is from a show called Game Over, which ran between 1998 and 2001. Berry, as we're sure you're all aware, has gone on to bigger and better things, such as Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, The Mighty Boosh, The IT Crowd, Toast of London and The Book of Boba Fett. Given his current stature, it's heartwarming to see him get all excited about the Virtual Boy and King of Fighters '98 on the Neo Geo CD – which, according to shop staffer Ash, was the hot item when this footage was captured.

It's amazing to see this legendary store captured on video, but even more amazing to discover that Berry is a secret hardcore gamer. You learn something new every day!