Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Jeff Waldron, who is displayed on card number 2499, from the Superstars of 2016 Collection. Jeff is a long time collector and restorer of classic arcade games. Some of Jeff’s collection includes Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Tron. Jeff believes that all arcade games should be restored and brought back to today’s generation of gamers. Jeff is also a member of the group H.A.C.K.S. (Hoosier Arcade Coin-Op Kollectors Society) which brings together local Indiana collectors for a fun conference and trade show. You can visit Jeff and his personal website www.jeffsgames.com.
Are arcades aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
Modern arcades mainly aim for children. I think with redemption gaming it really is a kids’ casino, playing on the same impulses that a real casino plays on for an adult. I like the trend of classic “barcades” that have been doing well, and hope that continues to develop into a sustainable market.
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘Arcade?
A dark room filled with fellow teenagers bouncing from one game to the next trying to outplay each other.
Do you prefer the original Arcade or MAME gaming and why?
Original arcade all the way! I like MAME for the opportunity to play games that I would never be able to play again, but original games are the best. I think arcade games are a work of art. Not just the gameplay and graphics, but the cabinet and controls as well. My head is full of memories of all the great classics. I remember the look and feel of almost all the games I played as a kid. It was a really important time in my life and set a huge impression to me. I now try to restore games back to their original look and feel to try to recapture the glory of the games.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video game Trading card?
Nope. I never thought there would be video game trading cards!
When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?
I first met Walter in Ottumwa at the Big Bang 2010 event. I had known of Walter since the days of the Twin Galaxies arcade but never had a chance to meet him. I followed arcade gaming through gaming magazines as a kid and was blown away by the scores that the world record holders were able to achieve. It didn’t seem possible!
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Promoter – Walter does an amazing job promoting anything he gets involved in. I really appreciate how he does this to bring glory to other people, and not to himself.
Do you remember your first arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
My first arcade game I ever played was a Space Invaders. I played it at a local festival when I was a kid. The festival had several carnival rides and carnival game booths. They hauled in a whole arcade under a tent. At first I didn’t want to play them because there was no chance to win a prize. Some friends finally talked me into playing, and I was hooked!
What are your opinions about today’s generation of arcade games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
There are too many redemption games. I don’t like the move towards scoring tickets instead of points. Some games remind me of older classic games, but generally only give one life to try to get tickets with. Other games are pretty impressive, such as what Raw Thrills has been putting out, but they don’t have the charm of the classics. The other thing I think that ruined arcade gaming is the “Continue” feature. Once you could pay-to-continue, it took all the incentive out of actually trying to play well.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
I’d have to say the original Gameboy. I had one in college and I used to play it to pass the time at work. I had a job that required me to sit in an office on-call and it was the perfect companion. I play more games now on my phone than anything else, but the Gameboy had the best variety of games and I really have fond memories of playing it.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I play the old classic arcade games mostly. I enjoy more modern adventures and some first person shooters, but most of my gaming is still the old arcade games.
If you could only have one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
It would have to be Donkey Kong. I find that I can come back to that machine time and time again and get a fresh challenge. It never feels old to me!
What does it take to be an Arcade owner?
Way too much time and money. It also takes a special kind of person who does it for the love of the arcade, because it will not make you rich!
Do you believe some Arcade games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
Absolutely not. Bad parenting and movies are more of a factor.
Do you prefer playing arcade games alone, against friends and why?
It is much more fun playing games with friends. Competing for high scores, or just talking games really adds to the experience.
Which company makes the best games and why?
This is of course a matter of personal opinion but I always liked the original Williams games. They just seemed more “hardcore” and challenging compared to other game companies’ games. All the “cool kids” played them!
Do you learn anything from playing arcade games?
I would imagine that playing arcade games gave me an appreciation for electronics and computers. I now work in the IT field, and I owe all of that to my exposure from arcade gaming.
Are arcade games good for relieving stress?
They are. I like to go into my game room and fire up a game to play to unwind and relax. I can get caught up in a game and forget any stress or burden from the day. Of course sometimes I’ll get in a crazy game of Joust or Donkey Kong and get my adrenaline pumping, which probably doesn’t help much!
Who is your favorite arcade game character and what makes that character special?
It would have to be Pac-Man. He was the first truly iconic video game character. He is also the first to have world-wide recognition in pop culture, licensing and memorabilia. He is also totally known and relevant to this day.
Do you find boss battles to be the best part of an arcade game?
No. I was never a boss battle era fan. My interests are more pre-jamma. Boss Battles seem to be developed to eat quarters.
What is your favorite arcade game of all time?
Donkey Kong; followed closely by Joust.
Where do you see Arcade games in the next 20 years?
I expect there will be a lot more multi-games and emulators. The PCBs and monitors will continue to age and fewer and fewer will function properly. CRT monitors are already no longer being made. Soon parts will run out. I really appreciate the aftermarket parts and graphics vendors and hope they continue offering items for years to come!
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.