Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Jon Klinkel, who is displayed on card number 66, from the Superstars of 2011 Collection.  Jon is also featured on cards 2916 for Galaga Forum and soon-to-be-released 2918 in a Score Wars group picture. Current Administrator of Galaga Forum, Jon is very passionate about Galaga. In 2010 Jon broke many Galaga World Records at that time. Jon is a true Retro Gamer as he has played on most of the systems created since the early 1980’s. He also plays PC games as well when he finds time.  Jon is currently on the committee with the International Video Game Hall of Fame.

If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?

I’ve actually come up with several ideas for video games.  A very in-depth MMORPG that I wouldn’t be able to describe in less than several pages, a persistent world based on the original Bard’s Tale, a battle royale game, a game similar to Clash of Clans based on hillbillies – with appropriate units, gear and weaponry, sports simulators – among many other ideas I tend to have.

Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?

The first arcade game I ever played was Galaga at a local grocery store in my hometown of Albion, Michigan.  That was one of the only places you could find an arcade cabinet in the area at that time.  I was 12 years old and I was hooked for life. I’ve been a gamer since the early 1980’s.  At some point in time, I’ve owned almost every console system you could think of.  I was very big on computer gaming, as well.

What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games?  How do you compare them to older, classic games?

The difference in games from then to now is staggering.  I’ve never really stopped gaming so I’ve played everything from Pong to Wizardry to The Bard’s Tale: Tales of the Unknown to EverQuest to World of Warcraft to League of Legends – and most everything in between.  More recently, I’ve played Fortnite and Overwatch….and, of course, most arcade games.  I still like the old games today just as much (and in many cases, more) as the newer ones.  Every now and again, I’ll sit down and play some Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, Wizardry, Might & Magic II or one of many others.

Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video Game Trading card? 

When I was younger, I thought it would be pretty cool if I ended up on an NFL, MLB or NBA trading card.  I never would have imagined back then that there might be video game trading cards or that some people might eventually be able to make a pretty good living playing video games.

Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the Trading Card?  If so, where?

I’ve received media coverage and included the card as part of my “about me”, if that counts.  Some of the media coverage I’ve received:

New Galaga World Record Coming Soon


Battle Creek Gamer takes 3rd Place in Galaga Championship

Holder of Galaga World Record

‘Extra Life’ for Old School Games and Finalists

Anything prior to those (and some in between) are lost to time, I’m afraid…. unless they resurface someday.

When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?

believe I first met Walter Day in Ottumwa, Iowa quite a few years ago.  I believe that was before another event we both attended at Star Worlds in Dekalb, Illinois.  They were somewhat close together and I can’t remember which came first at this point.

If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?

Trying to limit a description of Walter to one word is difficult, at best.  I would have to say “Sage”.  I believe Walter to be a very wise and knowledgeable person.  A great man.  Any time I see him it’s a warm greeting and, likely, a story or two.  Walter has some great stories and I always look forward to them.  He truly exemplifies what the gaming community SHOULD be.

If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why? 

If I could own one (and only one) game, I’d have to go with Bosconian.  I’ve always wanted to put a record score up on it but haven’t been able to play it nearly as much as I’d like.

Which console company is your favorite and why?  Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or Microsoft?

Favorite console…. you’re getting tough on me with that one.  I’ve got a soft spot for the Sega Master System but there are just so many I really liked.  Turbo Grafx-16, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Odyssey 2, Colecovision, Intellivision, NES, Genesis, Super Nintendo, Atari Jaguar…crazy long list.  I like them all, for the most part.

How does video game music influence games past and present?

There are some great soundtracks for games going way back.  Of course, even the crude bits of music in the oldest games had their charm (the Bard’s Tale think is going through my head now).  I think, in the past, music (sounds) is what drew people to the games and made them want to play.  They just had to check out what was making that noise.  Today’s games have very well put-together music tracks, which would indicate music is a very critical component of games.  Music hasn’t really played as much of a role for me, as I am more interested in the actual game play.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

My favorite portable gaming device (right now) is one of my two main tablets, as I use them for Clash of Clans.  I run one of the oldest U.S.-based clans (I created it several years ago).

Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?

I think games are aimed at all age groups, with individual games tailored more specifically to particular age ranges.  I think you have a much wider participation in gaming (from all ages) than you did 20-30 years ago.  E-sports events fill entire arenas and are heavily watched online.  Gaming is worldwide and is non-discriminatory.

Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?

I don’t believe that games are too violent at all.  There were some gory games in the past – I’ve played a lot of them.  I haven’t gone out and killed anyone or stolen cars, etc.  I think the bigger problem is the lack of morality in the world today.  The lack of parenting.  Something (other than playing a game) has to lead people to do things without knowing or understanding them to be wrong.  I do believe SOME games (just as some music) go a bit overboard and PROMOTE that sort of behavior.  In those cases, yes – I believe there is a problem.  I just don’t think it’s necessarily based on the actual violence in the game.  It’s more the acceptance by many that these sorts of things are ok – or even “cool”.

Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?

Playing games with/against others or solo?  All of the above.  I’m very competitive so I love playing against others – or with them in co-op games.  I also enjoy just sitting down and playing games by myself at times.

Which company makes the best games and why?

I don’t know that I could pick one specific company.  They are almost all great in some regard. Interplay was huge.  The Bard’s Tale I, II and III.  Fallout, Baldur’s Gate, Blood & Magic, Dragon Wars, Forgotten Realms.  Sir-Tech had the Wizardry series.  Midway/Namco had Galaga.  Sierra had the Ultima series.  Sports Mogul mad Baseball Mogul – probably my favorite baseball sim of all time.  NC Soft created one of my favorite games (Dungeon Runners).  Verant Interactive created what I consider to be the best MMORPG of all time – EverQuest.  Blizzard came up with World of Warcraft, Diablo II: Lords of Destruction and OverWatch.  Riot created League of Legends.  Epic has Fortnite.  Electronic Arts had The Bard’s Tale series (Interplay), Boulder Dash, Diablo, Dragon Age, all the EA Sports games, King’s Bounty, Might & Magic II: Gates to Another World, Rock Band, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri (and Alien Crossfire), Star Wars: The Old Republic, Ultima Oline and now, Apex Legends (which I still need to check out).  Strategic Simulations – Allied General, Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday, Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed, Curse of the Azure Bonds, Dragons of Flame, Dungeon Hack, Fantasy General, Gateway to the Savage Frontier, Neverwinter Nights, Pacific General, Panzer General, People’s General, Phantasie, Phantasie II, Phantasie III, Pool of Radiance, Pools of Darkness, Star General, Stronghold, Tony LaRussa Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball II and Treasures of the Savage Frontier.  I could probably fill a page on this with several others but, if I had to pick just one, I guess I’d have to go with Electronic Arts.

Do you learn anything from playing video games?

Video games can definitely teach (or at least help) you hand-eye coordination, the concept of working together (on multiplayer games) and definitely strategy.  You can also learn some unwanted lessons in the pvp games.

Are video games good for relieving stress?

I think games can be a way to reduce stress.  It’s great to be able to sit down and play a game (or several) at your leisure.  They can also create stress if you’re a competitive gamer or part of a committed gaming community.  You may have to be willing to drop what you’re doing and get on a game in order to achieve something at particular times.  That was something I encountered with EverQuest in some cases.  You didn’t want to miss out on something or take a chance someone else might get it and then you’d have to wait hours or days for the next and hope someone else didn’t cut in again.

Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from the video game?

I think movies based on games are great!  I also think it would be great to be in a movie (like Pixels or some of the others that have come out).  I’m not as big a fan of the Wreck-It Ralph type movies but I do watch them.

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?

would probably say I prefer pc gaming if I had to make a choice but love both console and arcade, as well.

Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?

My favorite character(s) is a Half-Elf Ranger I played on EverQuest.  I named him after a character in my favorite series of books (The DragonLance Chronicles).  I actually named quite a few after characters in those books.  I started playing EQ in March of 1999, when it was released.  At one point, I was working around 45 hours a week and playing EQ around 70, including many all-night marathon sessions.  Eat, sleep, work, EverQuest.  I was in two of the most popular guilds in the game (and also ran a few of my own) and participated in many raids but I really enjoyed playing solo, as well.  That game was amazing when it came out.  I still log in every now and then to see if my characters are still there.

What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘video games’?

When I hear the term “video games”, my first thought is usually of arcades, such as Galloping Ghost in Brookfield, Illinois or Tappers in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Klassic Arcade in Gobles, Michigan is the closest dedicated arcade to me and a great place to spend some time gaming and hanging out – especially since they added a downtown location with ice cream.  They already had over 100 different soda pops on hand.  Imagine all the floats!  There’s a nice arcade in Traverse City, Michigan called The Coin Slot.  Another great place to play some games.  Stella’s Lounge in Grand Rapids owned by Mark Sellers (who also started Hop Cat) is a great place to grab some food and play some games.

Of these five elements video games, which is the most important to you and why?  Gameplay, Atmosphere, Music, Story, Art style

Of those 5 elements, I’d say game play is most important to me.  If I weren’t having fun playing the game, I wouldn’t likely be as interested in it.  A very close second would be atmosphere, as that can sometimes overcome not-so-great game play.  I very much enjoy hanging out with other gamers and enjoying myself with the gaming and the company.  Score Wars was a great example of that.  I was able to get together with old friends (Phil Day, Donald Hayes, Tim McVey, John McAllister, Mark Schult) and meet some new friends for the first time, such as Armando Gonzalez, Andrew Barrow, Mike Thompson, Tanner Rousseau, Hector & Sylvia Rodriguez, Keith Swanson, Sherman Peterson, Daniel Rodriguez and all the other participants and staff (Vince, Adam, Sophie, Peter, Chadney, etc.) at the event.

Do you find boss battles to be the best part of a video game?

As far as boss battles go, I think it depends on the game.  Some boss battles are epic encounters that greatly enhance the gaming experience, while others are just a monotonous distraction from the game, itself.

What does it take to be a Video Game Journalist?

I know several video game journalists.  I think it’s really an individual thing.  A skill in writing would be a good start, along with some knowledge of gaming, the industry and community.  Being a gamer would also likely help but would definitely not be a necessity.  Dedication and motivation – desire – would be the two biggest things, I think.

What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer game?

My favorite single-player game will always be The Bard’s Tale: Tales of the Unknown on PC.  For arcade, I’d say Galaga and for console, I’d say Megamania.  My favorite multiplayer game of all time is EverQuest.  Beyond that, I like World of Warcraft, Fortnite, OverWatch, Clash of Clans and many others.  I have played many (most?) MMORPG’s and love them.

Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?

As mentioned above, I’ve been a lifelong gamer.  More recently, I co-founded (and am the current Administrator of) Galaga Forum (www.galagaforum.com) with Phil Day (our current Off-Field Referee).in order to track the best scores from around the world.  We have come to be known as the recognized authority.  The top players usually submit to us prior to (or instead of) submitting their scores elsewhere.  Our current staff consists of myself, Robert Fawcett (Indiana, USA, Head Ref and #2 in the organization, presently), Joseph Piscitelli (Illinois, USA, Head Ref), Armando Gonzalez (California, USA, Galaga Forum and TG World Record holder for both 5-man and marathon tracks, the only person to ever hold both jointly), Tanner Rousseau (Missouri, USA and Score Wars competitor), Colton Blanchard (Indiana, USA), Brian Alford (Indiana, USA – Gaming Journalist), Hector Rodriguez (California, USA – very well-known gamer and World Record holder) and Tanya Lowe (Brisbane, AUS, owner of Pincadia Arcade Bar).  We have adjudicated a fair number of scores now and seem to be the only one doing that for Galaga.  That said, I have also registered Gaming Feats, Inc. and am in the process of building a comprehensive leader board for games, somewhat similar to what Walter started so long ago.  Just as with Galaga Forum, we will have our own referees who can adjudicate scores live, in person.  I am also on a committee with the International Video Game Hall of Fame, along with Todd Friedman, Warren Davis, Michael Klug and Lonnie McDonald.  I still play Galaga and finished 3rd place at Score Wars (www.scorewars.com), hosted by Meow Wolf (www.meowwolf.com), in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  My final game (for 3rd) was against Andrew Laidlaw.  Fortunately, I was able to have a bit better luck and came out on top.  All that after having played maybe two games of Galaga in the previous five years leading up to qualifying for the event.  Something similar with Phil Day – we both got our games back fairly quickly and were, at least, competitive.

What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?

Newer games I play are Fortnite, OverWatch, League of Legends and anything else that looks interesting.  I even play Sporcle – if you consider online trivia a video game.  My favorite genre is RPG (or MMORPG) but I play most anything.

Where do you see Video gaming in the next 20 years?

I’m almost afraid VR will become like a drug.  People will use it to escape the real world, much like they have been doing with games the past few decades, but in a much different way.  A lot of things that seem like fantasy now will likely be reality in the not-too-distant future.  I do hope the arcade community continues to thrive and grow.  One of my many desires is to start an arcade to go along with Gaming Feats so people can just walk in and play games that will count as official (as they will all be on the appropriate settings) for the leader boards.  I would also host annual tournaments to crown new world champions on various titles, much like Score Wars did for Galaga and the Kong Off does for Donkey Kong.


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.

Todd Friedman Todd Friedman (391 Posts)

Todd Friedman is heavily involved in the retro gaming community and has co-promoted the Video Game Summit in Chicago, IL for the past 16 years. He also has published 2 books and written for various different gaming magazines including Old School Gamer.