Leo says that any kind of old audio or video tapes don't age well. The iron oxide will flake off and the tape becomes brittle. Loren will want to get that data off as quickly as he can, and he may only get one chance at it before they break. He'll need a player, and then he'll need to be able to connect them to a computer.
Leo suggests using a Sony Walkman or an old stereo component cassette player. He can plug it into the audio in or microphone jack of the computer and then he can use something like Audacity to capture it. For video, he'll need to get a capture device like the Grass Valley DV100, connect his VCR to it and then into the computer. Another option is a product from Amazon called the Portable Cassette Tape to MP3 Converter Digital USB Cassette Audio Music Player. It's only $18. Or he can send them to a service like ScanCafe.