Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Brandi Ahmer who is displayed on card number 4292, from the Superstars of 2023 Collection. Brandi “Gamer Ahmer” has a passion for all things nostalgia. With a massive collection of video games, gaming kiosks, store displays, standees, action figures and vintage toys, she loves sharing her tips on collecting and being a YouTube personality. People have said Brandi has one of the most impressive retro gaming collections in the country. You can check out her YouTube Channel and also check out her live on the Game Junction Podcast.
What do you think is the main reason for the retro gaming interest and collecting?
I would say that gaming is such a large part of popular culture! Growing up in the 90’s there were video games everywhere. There were console wars, toys, movies, advertisements, and so much more! As things continue to grow people are remembering those simple days when they found time enjoying something they loved. That nostalgia takes over and drives this whole passion for the retro community.
What is your favorite item in your collection and what makes that one special?
My Jungle Green Nintendo 64 would have to be my favorite item in my collection. With a collection of thousands of items, this holds a special place in my heart. It’s one of the only gaming related items that I still have from my childhood and is what sparked that joy and passion when it comes to video games. That system to me is priceless.
When did you begin your podcast and what inspired you to do so?
I became a part of Game Junction at the end of 2022 when I was invited on the podcast for a “special guest” interview. Podcasts have always interested me because I have always wanted to educate and share things that I have learned with others in the gaming community. When Brandon invited me to become a part of the podcast as a team member, I was ecstatic!
What’s another podcast genre you are interested in and what would you like to see more of?
I love true crime podcasts! Something about trying to solve those older cold cases. It’s interesting to hear some takes on things with today’s technology! I’m also passionate about music, movies, and tv shows. So, a nice variety!
What does it take to run a good podcast?
I would say that it takes passion to run a good podcast. Passion in what you are talking about helps everything else run smoothly. You can have all of the equipment and be educated on certain topics, but people connect with someone who shares a common interest. That “spark” is what stands out and will keep people coming back to hear more.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
I remember playing Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) at my cousin’s house when I was much younger. This was my first experience playing video games and I was fascinated with the concept. We would take turns throughout the different levels, and I loved watching my family play on the system. I loved being able to advance through these worlds and felt accomplished when we would beat the game. It didn’t stop us though because we would go back and do it all over again.
My first Arcade experiences were Frenzy and Donkey Kong Jr. My uncle had a few arcade machines in his house and had his front room set up like a Mini Arcade. There was something about playing these games repeatedly trying to make it to the next stage. Oh, the memories of having to pull a stool up as I was too small to stand, staring at the screen as I was laser focused into the gameplay, and listening to the loud machines. The overall experience was addicting!
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
I love how video games have advanced over the years! Today’s generation of video games have some of the best storylines, cut scenes, character development, and overall best graphics. Sure, there are some things that I don’t like about games today but I could have never imaged video games being so far advanced from the 8-Bit era and even before. It’s insane to look back at the beginning and see such growth. Truly a time to be alive!
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
I never even imagined anything of the sort! This is such an honor, and I am thankful for you and everyone else who has had a part in making this happen!
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
I would describe him as an icon! He is someone who is so passionate about bringing people together and someone who has built this amazing community of people. He is such a staple in the gaming industry and an all-around amazing person!
What is your favorite game of all time and why is it special to you?
My favorite game of all time would have to be Super Mario Bros! This was the first game I played as a kid and remember taking turns with my cousins. We were so excited to play Mario and would try to make it through the game as fast as we could. We enjoyed each other’s company and would laugh for hours just having the time of our lives!
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I absolutely love fighting games! Mortal Kombat is one of my all-time favorite franchises to play. The amount of effort that goes into creating these realistic games, the sayings, the moves, the characters! It’s a staple and they bring back the days of playing these fighters in the arcades. I try to play a variety of fighting games as they are quick paced yet challenging.
Which console company is your favorite and why? Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or Microsoft?
Nintendo would have to be my favorite company. There are so many staples on the different systems that came out over the years and the Nintendo Entertainment System is the first system I ever played a game on. The first system I owned was a Nintendo 64 console. I fell in love with gaming on my Jungle Green Nintendo 64/ Donkey Kong 64 Bundle that I got for Christmas in the 90s.
Do you have a favorite arcade or pinball machine and what do you love about it?
My favorite arcade machines would have to be Frenzy and Donkey Kong Jr. My uncle had an arcade room in his house, and I spent so much time playing those machines. I thought it was the coolest thing having a home arcade and I spent my younger years becoming educated on the arcade and pinball scene because of him.
How does video game music influence games past and present?
Video game music really makes the games nowadays. We have come so far when it comes to a truly immersive game play experience and music really impacts that. There are so many music tracks that are recognizable instantly and it is due to the video games. So many staples come to mind with Mario, Zelda, Sonic, Etc.
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
Video games are aimed at different ages. Due to the rating system in video games, there are tons that hit a variety of people. Gaming isn’t just for kids anymore!
What advice would you give to a gamer who wants to start their own podcast?
I would say that you have to choose a topic that you have an interest in. Being a part of a podcast or even content creation in general should feel like it’s enjoyable. You should have fun and be proud of your passions. It’s never too late to start!
Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
I do not believe that video games are too violent. With the rating system in place, it is the consumer’s responsibility to abide by these rules. Parents should check what their kids are playing. Video games are for all audiences in 2023 and people have to understand that they are “games”. They are meant to enjoy and just like anything else they should be handled in moderation. There is a difference between real life and these games at the end of the day.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
I would have to say that my favorite portable gaming device currently is the Nintendo Switch. This system is super versatile, and I love how you can continue your games if you need to go on the move. I never thought anything like this could exist. It’s funny thinking back on the struggle of taking a Nintendo Gameboy with you on those long car rides.
What console has your most collected games and what is your ultimate goal with the collection?
I believe I have the most collected games for the PlayStation 2 at the moment. I have a few complete libraries of games but number-wise it is probably the PlayStation 2.
The ultimate goal would be to continue collecting and documenting my collecting journey on my YouTube channel “Gamer Ahmer”. Ultimately, I would like to give back to the gaming community and have my collection dedicated to an area where more people could enjoy it.
Which company makes the best games and why?
Nintendo makes the best games! They are always super enjoyable and creative. The best video game memories that I have come from playing these Nintendo games with friends and family. Nintendo is always innovative and is constantly creating different games!
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Absolutely! Video games are great for relieving stress. With everything going on in the world today it’s nice to kick back, relax, and spend time playing video games. There are so many different options when it comes to gaming and it’s great to just experience something different.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
Mario is my favorite video game character! There are just so many games with Mario. He is the first character I ever played as a kid and really connected with that nostalgia. He is such a staple in the gaming community!
What springs to mind when you hear the term “video games”?
When I hear the term video games, I am instantly happy! I think of all of the amazing memories playing these games and spending time with others while playing these games.
Do you find boss battles to be the best part of a video game?
There is something rewarding about those boss battles. Working your way through a difficult game and ending with defeating the boss is the ultimate satisfaction! Some can be frustrating but overall, it’s a great feeling of accomplishment when you can beat that final boss.
What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer game?
My favorite single player game would have to be any platformer style video game. Multiplayer would have to be fighting games. There is something about playing those games against friends and just having a more fun experience. Same with light gun games. I absolutely love playing those games at the arcades.
If you could design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
I would love to have a video game where I get to run around as myself and beat up the bad guy! That would be a fun game!
Where do you see video gaming in the next 10 years?
I see gaming continuing to become even more popular than it already is now. I see more technological advances in VR capabilities and hopefully some more creative steps. I’m excited to see what the future of gaming is and hoping physical media does not completely disappear!