Our next Trading Card Spotlight features John Pompa who currently is displayed on card number 143, from the Superstars of 2011 Collection.  With over 100 World Records on various video games, John is a true video game enthusiast.  Some of the games he holds world records in are Daytona USA 2001 for the Sega Saturn, Widget for the NES and The New Tetris for the N64.  Not only does he play video games, he is an avid collector of them as well.   John loves challenges and feels video gaming is a great way to get through challenges in life as well.  John is a supporter of Autism Awareness and feels that video games can help people with Autism in many ways.

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

I mean when it comes to graphics and stories there’s no comparison really, the newer generation has it there, but I always prefer the older “retro” stuff.  When it comes to replay value, the older classics is where it’s at for me.  I will never get sick of playing Super Mario Bros. 3, but something like Watch Dogs would be a beat once and done.

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

I remember playing all the classic arcade games and pinball tables growing up, going to the arcade on the weekends was something our family did for years.  So, I can’t remember off hand what was the first of them, but I fondly remember Pac-Man being one of the firsts.  As for home consoles, Stampede on the Atari 2600, but it was Super Mario Bros. on the NES that really took things to the next level for me.

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

Well I actually do own one, and its Guerilla War.  But if I could go out and buy anymore it would be Donkey Kong, Tron, or a Class of ’81: Ms. Pac-man and Galaga

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

I met Walter at the 2012 Philly Non-Sports Card Show.

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

Only one word…hmmm.  Is that even possible lol.  Walter is by far one of the nicest, friendliest, warmest, most humble people I have ever met in the gaming world.  I remember walking up to him at the card show before everything opened, I introduced myself, and he just gave me a huge hug, like he had known me for years.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

That’s a good question, I grew up on all the Tiger handhelds and the original Gameboy.  I still own all of them to this day.  As of right now I’d have to say Nintendo’s Switch.

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?

Console hands down for me.  Mainly because I have never owned a real gaming PC to get the full effect.

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

I like all kinds, mainly platformers and puzzle games.

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

Nintendo, when it comes to gaming, I bleed Nintendo.

What does it take to be a Video Game Journalist?

Well, I couldn’t tell you honestly because I’ve never done it, but I would think it would take someone who is very passionate about gaming, the players, and the culture that has been created because of it.

How does video game music influence games past and present?

Music can be a character itself in a game or movie.  When you play a Mario or Zelda game or are watching a Star Wars movie, you almost wait for the familiar songs from the past to show up.

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

I honestly never did, I always associated them with sports growing up.  I was never into sports, while the other guys were collecting baseball or football cards, I was obsessed with Garbage Pail Kids lol.

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

Actually yes, I was interviewed by local tv/radio stations where it was brought up.  It is actually brought up in the movie Nintendo Quest that I was very fortunate to be part of.

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

I would think that every age has a market at some point.  EVERYONE plays some sort of electronic game, be it console, PC, smart phones/tablets, TVs, I know a few grandmothers who love playing Candy Crush.  So I think these gaming companies probably aim at as many age groups as possible.

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

You can look at this one in many different ways, I presently do not feel this is true.

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

Alone, I’m not into the whole multi-player world.

Which company makes the best games and why?

I love Nintendo as a company, I love the classic eras of Capcom and Konami also.

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

I’ve thought about this one before, and the game would not be for me, but for my son Donovan, he’s special needs and diagnosed with Autism, so I would love to make a huge ,endless free roam world filled with all of the things he loves.  All the characters from his favorite shows and movies, all his favorite songs, and foods, just everything he enjoys, it would be massive!

Do you learn anything from playing video games?

I feel that one can develop certain skills from playing them moderately.

Are video games good for relieving stress?

They can be, it’s nice to escape by jumping into a game for a little bit.

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

If done right lol, I’ve enjoyed most of them, but there are a few out there that weren’t that great.

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

Mario, the character just takes me back to my childhood.

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

I’m a huge collector of all games and consoles, so I kind of just think of everything I personally have and the fun times I have playing them.

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

Gameplay, I grew up in the Atari days, so graphics/art doesn’t matter, as long as its fun to play is the make or break for me.

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

Depends on the game really.  Fighting Bowser in a Mario game is nothing like a battle in Resident Evil or Doom.  The best part of a game for me is completing it, and if it’s a Metroid Vania style then getting 100% of everything is the ultimate reward.

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

Super Mario Bros. on the NES.  That game literally has it all.  The characters, music/sounds, challenges, secrets, scare moments.  It never gets old for me.

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

I try my hardest to support gaming when I can.  There are lots of really great things happening out there now.  Lots of different charities and what not, it’s really helped with breaking the old gamer stereotypes.    I’ve grown a lot since I first had the card made, between my job and family there isn’t much time for me to compete or chase scores anymore.

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

It’s hard to say, I’d like to see it all go in a very positive way.  It’s grown so much since it has all started.  With many ups and downs along the way. But with E-sports and everyone streaming currently, I’m very excited to see what the future could possibly hold.

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 (402 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.