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

I believe it would have been Astrosmash!  On the Intellivision. I know that the Intellivision was our first video game system when I was a kid and I have many memories playing games with my older brother and my friends. I just loved how the screen colors changed after you reached a certain amount of points and the game speed would gradually pick up.

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

I find there is too much focus on graphics and storyline. I hear many times that games today are too easy and it’s more or less just a story you are trying to get to the end of. As for me, I am not really into the 3D graphics, I would much rather play in the 2D platform games like Super Mario Bros.  and The Legend of Zelda. Another difference that I found is that modern games have too much going on and require in game tutorials to get through them, whereas classic games you could often figure them out on your own.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

If I have to say of all time, it would be the Gameboy Advance. There are so many great classic titles and the graphics were a huge improvement over the original. But as of lately I would have to say the Atari Flashback portable. I have always been a huge Atari fan and have forever wanted a portable device that would allow me to play classic Atari 2600 games.

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?

I have always preferred consoles. They look nicer and don’t require long boot ups or updating (Not including modern consoles of today of course). I also like how you just have to plug the cartridge in or the controller and there is no configuring of any kind. Physical media also looks nicer and you can collect and display them.

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

I play a wide range, but mostly classic arcade and Nintendo platform games. My favorite video game of all time is Donkey Kong and I have played it on many systems, and have done several videos about the game on my YouTube channel.

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

Donkey Kong for sure! It’s my favorite game going all the way back to the Intellivision. It was the one game I always would look for when I went into an arcade.

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

Intellivision. It was my first and I have so many memories. I still play it quite a bit today and was honored to have Tommy Tallarico (the current president of Intellivision Entertainment) on my show for a live chat about the new Intellivision system coming.

How does video game music influence games past and present?

I was fortunate to grow up with the 2 systems of the day that had the better sound chips (Intellivision and Commodore 64).  Music always played a part in the experience of the game and often people will site the soundtrack as being one of the best parts of the game. This is true also for the Nintendo NES, which I think has some of the more iconic and memorable soundtracks! Developers knew that music played an important role and would hire real musicians to develop songs that fit the gameplay.

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

Everyone! The best part about gaming is that there are games for all different ages and personalities. Even back in the Atari 2600 days, they made games for really young kids. Then if you look at the Nintendo Wii, you had Wii sports which attracted people who never played a video game in their lives.

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

When I look at the variety of modern games I would have to say yes to the part about being too violent, however, I do not think they play a role in the violence in America. This has been a stigma that has been going on for a long time and people are often trying to point the finger at a source. Before video games we had violent movies, comic books , TV, Role Playing Games, music and many other things that people would blame. If anything, video games keep people out of trouble!

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

I always liked playing with friends when I was a kid, but I find today it’s just a relaxing escape from the real world. I have never been an online player but as of recently I have been enjoying streaming my games live on YouTube and interacting with the chat while I play.

Which company makes the best games and why?

Because I am old school, I will be speaking of the past and that would be Activision. They made the best and most fun games on the Atari and other consoles of the day. Mainly because all the best programmers who had a passion for gaming built the company with the goal of creating better games.

Do you learn anything from playing video games?

I believe that video games help keep your mind active and help build hand eye coordination. As for learning new things, I must admit I have learned things like how to play Backgammon and Golf just from playing on the Intellivision and Nintendo.

Are video games good for relieving stress?

It depends on the type of player you are. If you are a casual gamer and play for fun then I would say yes. If you are a completive or compulsive player then probably not.

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

I think I prefer it when Hollywood makes a movie about video games (like the wizard, Cloak and dagger and Pixles). In a lot of cases it is tricky to translate a game into the big screen and often comes across as a cash grab. (Super Mario Bros is an example). However I must admit that I enjoyed Mortal Kombat!

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

It would have to be Mario as he started in my favorite game (known then as Jumpman) in Donkey Kong. Also the first 3 Super Mario Bros games on the NES are some of my favorites for the platform.

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

Many fond memories of playing and trading games with friends when I was a kid.

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

It would have to be gameplay. A lot of the games I play are blocky graphics and have very little storyline. I just like the simplicity of it and find that it’s not really necessary to know what the backstory is in order to have fun playing.

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

NO… I often find them the most stressful!  Especially the ones that kick you back to the beginning of the level if you don’t beat them.

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

I see a shift in the way people will be playing them. I don’t think new consoles will exist as the need for external media is disappearing. Retro will always be there and we will find new ways to continue playing favorites such as Atari and Nintendo. Perhaps VR will take its place like it did in the book Ready Player One.

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Todd Friedman Todd Friedman (394 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.