Y’all! A Black woman was named the winner of not one but two world records for having the largest collection of LCD and playable gaming systems and my mind is alight with joy.
By the numbers, Linda Guillory’s two world records come from her collection of 1,599 LCD gaming systems and 2,430 playable gaming systems. And today, Guinness World Records announced Guillory of Richardson, Texas earned the two achievements for her massive collection of thousands of handheld, tabletop, and even watch-based gaming systems.
These aren’t gaming systems as we might think of consoles and handhelds now, rather they’re more like the Tiger Electronic handhelds of yore. Guilllory’s collection also includes traditional video games. In Guinness’ profile video, Guillory shows off a massive cabinet of old video games, saying that she owns every game Nintendo released in North America.
According to Guinness, Guillory started collecting games when she was eight years old, finding a broken a 1979 Red Conic basketball game. In the video, she said she took apart the handheld and fixed it herself so she could play again. She amassed a small collection of games until a house fire claimed some of them. Later, after a chat with her brother over who was the better player, she decided to look up some of the old games she once owned to see if any were still around. She found and purchased her beloved Pac-Man tabletop machine, and from there, her collection began to grow.
“I wanted to see if I still could beat my high score,” Guillory said to Guinness. “As I searched, I saw dozens of games I always wanted as a child but never had.”
I felt that. There were often times in the rare occasions I was allowed over a friend’s house, when I would press my face to their Nintendo 64 consoles to bask in awe of something that was outside my reach. I would look in envy at their collections of games knowing that I only had one or two for the systems I was allowed to have. I missed out on so many of the games that players today would deem “required playing,” so when I read Guillory talking about the games she missed out on but desired, my heart lurched in sympathy.
That she is also a Black woman makes my appreciation of her so much stronger. Black women in gaming are sometimes treated as a novelty, the result of the relatively recent push for more diversity and inclusion. We get excited when “new” Black women enter the space because we are so very rare, but we hardly know of the people who were here before us. As is true for a lot of Black female gamers (and female gamers of a certain age in general), the few video game “elders” I had were men. I am 33 years old. I know of only one Black woman older than me who plays video games. I know there are more. I just don’t know them. Finding Ms. Guillory is like discovering a hidden treasure, something long sought but rarely found. I would love to know more of her story.
Guillory, an electrical engineer, wants to share her enthusiasm for gaming with children and teach them how to create gaming systems of their own. She also hopes to preserve her collection in a museum.
What impressed me most is that many of Guillory’s games, though old, seem to be in working order. And she knows how to play them. I always imagined, because of the fragile and rare nature of collections like these, that the items are for show not to use. But in the video, she casually plucked a Toytronic football game out of a box then started to play, wondering aloud if she still “had it.” She did.