Face Time: Mike St. Germain and Jen Jean — gamers who are all business

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When gamers Mike St. Germain and Jen Jean found themselves with so many video games they needed a storage unit just to house them, the husband and wife made a decision: It was time to open a store.

Last month, World Zero Video Games & Electronics was born.

The Park Street, Lewiston, shop sells DVDs and mobile electronics, but it’s probably best known for its new and retro games and game consoles.

Though when you’re the owner, it’s not all fun and games.

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Names: Mike St. Germain and Jennifer Jean

Ages: Mike, 32, and Jen, 35

Relationship: Married, parents of two daughters

How did you meet? Mike: We pretty much grew up together. She lived down the road from us and we hung out with the same crowd of friends.

Do you remember the first video game you played together?

Mike: The first game we played was “Need for Speed: Underground” for Xbox and was also the first console we bought together.

Jen: Before we had kids, we played “World of Warcraft” for hours and hours.

Who’s more cutthroat/competitive? Jen: I think I am. I always like to brag about how good I am at playing video games, even though I lose most of the time.

Why open a retro gaming shop? Mike: We have been wanting to open our own shop for a long time now. It got to the point that I needed a storage unit just for our video games, so we figured since we both enjoy video games and collecting video games and I also do a lot of computer repair, why not just combine the two and start a store? This way we have storage and a place for people to come.

Why the name “World Zero”? Mike: The name comes from the original Mario Bros. game. There was a trick to go to another world called “Minus World,” so it was based off that and also binary code of zeros and ones.

I imagine that you, as the owners, get to play all day. Am I right? Mike: Well that was my thought, but really there is so much to do that we don’t have the time to play everything. But when something fun comes through , we make the time. Our kids, though, benefit from it because they are testers.

Has anyone asked for a game you’ve never heard of? Jen: All the time. Mike is definitely more of a video game expert than I ever will be, but I’m always willing to research and find what a customer is asking for.

Oldest game in the shop right now? Mike: Hmm. I am not sure. I would have to say we have some Atari games, like “Popeye,” from 1983.

Best game in the shop right now? 

Mike: That would be my favorite game ever, “Contra” for the NES. I played the crap out of that game when I was a kid and feel it still holds up today.

Jen: I love “Dr. Mario” and “Donkey Kong Country.”

Favorite console ever? (And why)

Mike: This is a hard one for me because I am a huge NES collector, but I would have to go with Super Nintendo just because, overall, it has a better game library.

Jen: Super Nintendo. My brother had one and I would always sneak in his room when he wasn’t home to play “Super Mario World” and “Donkey Kong Country.”

If you could design your own game, what would it look like?

Mike: I was working on creating and designing my own NES game a while back. It was a side scroll, like “Mega Man,” and it was based off different things I have done or places I have gone. But it took a side burner when I realized the amount of coding and programming involved to program a 6502 chip. I was like, ahh, nope.

Jen: I would design an RPG (role playing game) featuring my girls solving mysteries.

Why is gaming awesome?

Mike: I enjoy gaming, especially retro games, because programmers and developers could only do so much of the graphics due to limitation of hardware, so I feel the mechanics and game play were more important in making a good game and involved a lot of memorizing of patterns. Games today, I think, lack this and are all about how pretty it is.

Jen: It’s fun. its a good stress reliever. I got into gaming because my brothers played. It’s like art that you can play.

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Mike St. Germain and Jen Jean show off some of the classic game controllers they have for sale at their new store, World Zero Video Games & Electronics on the corner of Park and Lisbon streets in Lewiston.
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