This weekend the International Video Game Hall of Fame will be inducting its new members into the Class of 2019.  One of these inductees is Donald Hayes.  Donald has been on the scene since the early 1980’s.  Today he will be part of the Class of 2019 in Ottumwa, Iowa.  for information, go to

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Donald Hayes who is displayed on card number 17, from the Superstars of 2011 Collection.   Donald is a highly recognized retro game player who has held and holds many world records on classic games.  Some of his games he currently holds records on are Centipede, Dig Dug and Joust.  In 2005, Donald was named player of the year by Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard.  He has also been named player of the year numerous times at the arcade “Funspot” in New Hampshire.   Most recently, Donald participated in the Battle of the Arcades event and finished first overall individually and his team finished second out of the five arcades that were involved.

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

I’ve really not played much of recent video games and prefer to stick with the older classic games. The graphics today are obviously better, but it seems like a lot of modern games are so similar to each other in terms of game play. There seemed to be a lot more variety in the 80’s when new games were coming out.

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

I just have a vague memory of playing Space Invaders at some type of store near my home town. It was me and a couple friends and we had never see anything like it before.

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

It never really crossed my mind when I was younger that there would be video game trading cards. I collected baseball cards for a short time and knew other sports had cards but didn’t realize there were trading cards for things other than the popular sports.

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

I don’t recall any specific media coverage for my trading card, but I do know my card has been given out at some tournaments in the past.

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

My first meeting with Walter was at the second Funspot event around May/June 2000. He saw me playing Millipede and commented about how well I was playing. I then told him that I was better at Centipede and proceeded to score 3.7 million. Walter then encouraged me to go after the world record which I surpassed on November 5th, 2000.

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

It’s hard to pick one word for Walter, but I’d probably go with “passionate”. From the first time I met him, he just had an obvious passion for the games in general and for tracking the high scores.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

I don’t really have a favorite. A full-sized arcade cab isn’t portable.

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?

Between the two, I would probably go with console gaming. Unless you count playing on MAME as PC gaming.

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

Most definitely the classic games from the 80’s.

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

Well, I own about 15 arcade games already, but if I could only keep one it would be Centipede since that’s always been my favorite game.

What does it take to be a Video Game Journalist?

I would say having a broad knowledge of the various eras and genres of games would be key.

How does video game music influence games past and present?

For older games, the music was probably used to lure players in. In newer games, I’d say it’s to add to the overall experience of playing the game.

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

There are games targeted for all different ages, but my guess would be adolescents would be the main target since if they get hooked on a game then there’s a good chance they’ll continue to play as adults.

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

There are games that most people would consider to be too violent. It’s possible that those games could contribute to violent behavior by some people but it’s not the only cause.

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

I mostly play on my own although I do enjoy playing with friends in an arcade setting too.

Which company makes the best games and why?

Well, Atari made Centipede so since that’s my favorite game the easy choice would be them

Do you learn anything from playing video games?

In general, I feel playing video games has helped me to think more logically and also to improve my problem-solving skills.

Are video games good for relieving stress?

They can be. I like telling people who watch me playing Centipede that I find it relaxing, even though it may look very frantic to the person watching me play.

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

It all depends on whether they really incorporate the original spirit of the game into the movie. For example, I thought Wreck it Ralph did a good job of that.

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

To me, that brings me back to my youth and spending time in the arcades.

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

For me, it’s game play. That contributes most to how much I enjoy a particular game.

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

No, most of the games I like don’t even have boss battles.

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

Obviously, Centipede for single player. For multi-player, I don’t really have one.

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

I do still play games today mostly concentrating on the classic games. I actually just participated in the Battle of the Arcades event and finished first overall individually and our team finished second out of the five arcades that were involved.

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

I hear a lot about some of the tournaments with modern games and pro gamer leagues, so I imagine that will still continue for some time. As for classic games, there do seem to be a fair number of old-style arcades popping up here and there along with the combination bar/arcade places.

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

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.