Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Bill McEvoy who is displayed on card number 2116, from the Superstars of 2015 Collection. Bill is the main editor of an online magazine called “Arcade Culture”. Bill and his wife Stephanie reside in Ontario Canada and together have produced over 60 issues. Their unique spin on the magazine focus more on the cover of the magazine than the article and pictures. They explain it as a parody of magazines. For the past 6 years Bill has also been travelling across the U.S. attending tournaments and events to photograph the players and the machines. His work has been published in magazines as well as Guinness. You can view his work at http://arcade.photography. Bill can be found regularly on twin galaxies websites in forums and tournaments held.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of arcade games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
Today’s arcade games are a mixed bag. I played the big money suckers like Jurassic Park. They are fun, but you end up spending 8 bucks to finish it. Not compelling. I also played a supremely cool game at the Kong Off 5 called VEC9. It was a vector game meant to look like an old Soviet game. The controls were real military controls (I believe they came from a tank), the music was very loud and epic. If you have never played on a new vector monitor, you have no idea how bright they can be. This game was incredible. Talk about a time warp!
What is your favorite arcade game of all time?
1943: The Battle of Midway. It is historic, it has a great soundtrack, is extremely hard but if you play enough you learn to zone out and become one with the machine. Unfortunately, after a 30-minute game you are left feeling pretty drained.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video game Trading card?
Nope. I still find it hard to believe. Many of my photos are on trading cards, as I have travelled to many events since 2010, doing group photos, portraits, candid’s, awards ceremonies, etc. That is a real honor for me to see my work in print. Then to see my own face, wow. It truly is an honor.
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the Trading Card? If so, where?
No I have not. I try to keep a low profile due to the nature of my work, believe it or not.
When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?
I met Walter Day at the Kong Off 3 in Denver Colorado. He was talking with a bunch of people, and I did not want to intrude at all. Joel West took me and my wife over to him and introduced us. It was a real treat, almost surreal.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Do you remember your first arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
The first video game I remember playing was X and O’s on some sort of weird mainframe thing at a science fair. The first Arcade machine I played was Boot Hill. It was neat, but not compelling. The first video game I kept dropping quarters in was Phoenix. I loved the music in it, and the sparkling of the stars. The version I played had strange bird chirp sounds when you hit them. I like that.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
Game Boy, the original. I never had one, but I do have a SuperBoy for my SNES that lets me play GameBoy carts. I really enjoy Zelda, especially with the movie theatre borders.
Do you prefer the original Arcade or MAME gaming and why?
I enjoy playing all games, but I prefer the sheer size and intimidation factor of an actual Arcade Cabinet. When you play Tron for example, your head is in a semi-private zone filled with blue light and music. The game is personal at that point. Man vs Machine. MAME on the other hand allows me to play games that simply are too hard to find in arcades. MAME is a great way to preserve the games.
I am building a MAME machine that will plug directly into a big 6-way Neo Geo MVS with a huge CRT. I’ll install 2.1 sound system and even have a feed going to a big LCD on the wall so other people can see what is going on. I’ll be able to play thousands of games with all their CRT glory, but still use original hardware whenever I want. Best of both worlds.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
1943 is my all-time favorite game. I played that when it first came out. There was an arcade just down the street from the military base where I was doing my infantry training.
I enjoy playing games on Steam (various Pac-Man games, Pinball, Shadows of Mordor, etc.). I usually buy a big game once every 2 years and play it to death. I played Battlefield 1942 for 2 years straight.
If you could only have one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
I would love that VEC9 game. They are custom jobs, only 3 exist. I already have 1943 PCB, just working on getting it into a cabinet with the right controls. If I could have one pinball machine it would be Diner. I love the sounds, and it is a great table.
What does it take to be an Arcade publisher?
Cash, creativity, perseverance, and then some more cash.
Are arcades aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
Arcade machines were targeted at anyone with cash.
Do you believe some Arcade games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
Not arcade games. Violence in America is due to the breakdown of the family unit, in my opinion. Also kids should NOT be playing games like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto
Do you prefer playing arcade games alone, against friends and why?
I prefer the atmosphere of friends playing, beating each other’s cores. Arcades were meant to be busy places with a fun atmosphere. Competitive games like Joust are hilarious.
Which company makes the best arcade games and why?
There are too many to choose from, but I have always loved Williams games, especially their pinball tables.
Do you learn anything from playing arcade games?
I learned about the importance of having a job at a young age to feed the addiction. Babysitting for $1 an hour while watching Superchannel at some ladies’ house gave me plenty of money to spend on Crazy Kong at the bowling alley the next day.
Are arcade games good for relieving stress?
It depends on your mood. If you want to smash and blow up stuff, then yes. If you are trying for a high score, then no.
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘Arcade?
A dark room filled with glowing machines, with rumbles bleeps and bloops.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
Actually, I would like to design a multi-player pinball machine with a huge playfield. It would be an interactive battlefield. Your flippers and pinballs would be artillery, with plenty of places to score points and take out enemy forces.
Where do you see Arcade games in the next 20 years?
I see people still collecting them and playing them. I hope there is a rebirth, like there is with Pinball. If I had $50,000,000 I could do it. I would make cabinets that are light, good looking, connected to the web, and easily upgradable. The technology is here and powerful as well. The problem is making games fun and compelling. Maybe if some big publishers got behind it, they would release their back catalogues.
You can view his magazine at https://www.facebook.com/ArcadeCulture.
You can view his work at http://arcade.photography.
This is one of an ongoing series of articles based on the Walter Day Collection of e-sports/video gaming trading cards – check out more information at thewalterdaycollection.com.