Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Don Atreides, who is displayed on card number 2439, from the   Superstars of 2016 Collection.   Don is one of the top Tetris Players anywhere.   After maxing out NES Tetris at the age of 16, Don took some time off and came back 20 years later to smash as many records as he could.  With over 20 Tetris records to his name, Don has shifted to venues of games such as RPG titles. Time is limited for Don these days, but he is gearing up for setting more records in the next few years.

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

I decided to go back to school and get my doctorate, so my time right now is really limited. Mostly I limit myself to games where I can play and listen to lectures at the same time. “Diablo 3” is a good one for that. When I do have extra time I’m playing “Shadow of War” and “Civilization VI.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

I don’t really play on a portable. I thought the 3DS was an excellent device and the Nintendo Switch is nice, but the only game I really play “on the go” is chess on my phone.

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?

I’ve always been a PC gamer at heart. Consoles definitely have some advantages though especially in certain genres, but modern consoles are really just specialized PCs at this point. So, ultimately, yeah, PC. Plus, it’s fun to build your own gaming rig.

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

Pinball – Theatre of Magic. It’s a pin I fell in love with in my military days when I was stuck on base without a car. Monster Bash is a close second.

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

I first met Walter at an event in Banning, CA at the Museum of Pinball. It was great. We walked around the museum and talked about old pinball tables. It’s definitely something I’ll remember forever.

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

I would have to say “kind”.

How does video game music influence games past and present? 

Tremendously. I’d wager the vast majority of Americans can whistle at least one video game song. It’s hugely important for atmosphere and immersion. The triumphant score as you complete some milestone is always elating. It’s one of those important things you don’t notice unless it’s missing.

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

I’ve always preferred solo play because I like to immerse myself in introvert-land. Having said that, I’ve spent a great deal of time playing First-Person Shooters online.

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

Adolescents, although I think that demographic is shifting northward as the Nintendo generation ages.

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

Not at all. Some video games are too violent for me and I avoid them. But I don’t believe they cause violence. Like television before them, they’re an easy scapegoat for bigger societal issues.

Which company makes the best games and why?

I’d have to go with Blizzard as the current champion. Even though I don’t play many of their games, they seem to have a commitment to quality and a dedication to keeping their fans loyal.

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

Probably Nintendo. They focus on the fun of gaming and they’re always innovating.

Do you learn anything from playing video games?

Yes, definitely – especially regarding competition and all that entails. It takes a tremendous amount of dedication and self-discipline to compete at any high level of competition. Unlike any other sport, the internet allows you to compete with the best in the world across any distance. That can be both inspiring and humbling.

Are video games good for relieving stress?

Yes, although they’re also good for creating stress. Choose wisely.

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

I don’t think I have a favorite. My preference is for RPG-style character creation where I can create a persona and play as them. I find that to be more fun and I think it increases replay value.

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

Challenge. What I enjoy most about them is the thrill of the challenge they present.

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

It has to be gameplay. The other elements are nice, but gameplay is essential

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

Tough call. Skyrim was replaced by Fallout 4 which will likely be replaced by Shadow of War. Multiplayer, I’d go with the Battlefield series. 

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

 It would definitely be some type of RPG, like Skyrim set in the Lord of the Rings universe. I’d also like to see a Diabloesque, action-RPG set in the Star Wars universe.

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

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a good video game movie. It’s as if when producers sign the rights for a franchise they get flashed by that device from Men in Black that erases all knowledge they may have had about what makes a good movie. Then they make it anyway. It’s the only explanation.

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

Not really, at least not competitively. I still enjoy gaming when time permits, but my time is very limited right now.

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

VR (Virtual Reality). VR’s time has 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.

Todd Friedman Todd Friedman (396 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.