Our next Trading Card Spotlight Features Eric Liddell who is displayed on card number 268, from the Superstars Collection of 2012. Eric holds the world record for the Arcade and MAME version of the game Solarquest. He also is a huge contender on many of the Williams arcade games, such as Defender and Joust. Eric collects classic arcade games and loves to try and break new records when he has time. He also is looking to marathon arcade games and his goal is to marathon Defender.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
I remember being a 10-year-old kid in 1978 living in Traverse City, Michigan when I first started seeing arcade games pop up around town, I was instantly obsessed. I would beg my parents for quarters everywhere we went so I could play games while they shopped. The first games I played were all the early classics starting with Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Galaxian, Asteroids, Defender, Star Castle, Centipede and a few others during that initial 78-81 boom time. Most places around town had some combination of those games. One of my favorite things was to be dropped off downtown at Papa J’s Pizza. They had a good selection of pinballs and a Defender. I’d go with 5 bucks to last the whole day and when it was gone that was it, time to go home.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
I think modern gaming has progressed into a total immersive entertainment experience. Games today are collaborative, strategic and the player is brought to the very edge of virtual reality… truly amazing. You can’t really compare modern games to the classics. The classics are more like puzzles with the focus being on scoring points. Modern games have done away with scores and points and replaced them with ‘completed missions’ and ‘fastest times’. For me the whole reason I play games is to improve my scores. That’s why I’ll always be a classic gamer.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video game Trading card?
I never in a million years thought that I’d be on a video game trading card, It’s a huge honor. Walter has always been so gracious and supportive of my participation at Twin Galaxies over the years, I can’t thank him enough. These cards are excellent and I’m very proud to be a part of them.
When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?
I remember exactly where and when I met Walter. It was at the 2007 CGE expo in Vegas. Walter and Todd Rogers had a booth and were promoting his 2nd edition score book. I had no idea who he was at that time but his knowledge of classic gaming was amazing… He knew scores and players, events and history, I was so impressed that I ended up purchasing a book from him and competed in his Robotron contest.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
If I could describe Walter in one word it would be Grand Puba. He truly is the exulted high ruler and Grand Puba of classic arcade gaming and the godfather of score keeping
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
My favorite games are the Williams games and Vectors. Defender, Stargate, Robotron, Joust, Joust 2 – Survival Of The Fittest, Asteroids, Tempest, Star Castle, Space Duel, Solar Quest, Tac/Scan, Star Trek and some other classics too like Dig-Dug, Pac-man, Centipede, Mario Bros, Crystal Castles, Tron, Track and Field, Donkey Kong, Punch Out!, Qix, Klax, Mr Do, Xevious, Street Fighter II (CE). I’m also a fan of classic pinball machines, my fav being the Williams machines again, F-14 Tomcat, T2 Judgement Day, Tales of The Arabian Knights. I play them in Virtual Pinball.
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
As an arcade collector, I have owned about 25 games in my life. I’ve had 2 Defenders, 2 Stargates, Robotron, Dig Dug, Joust, Tron, Donkey Kong, Star Trek, Space Invaders, Xevious, Crystal Castles, Street Fighter II and a 60-1 conversion cab. Today I currently only have a Joust but looking to acquire a Joust 2 -Survival of the Fittest. I f I could own a single game it would be a Joust 2 – Survival of the Fittest or a mint Defender again.
Which company makes the best games and why?
For me personally I’d have to say Williams Electronics. They were so far ahead of their time back in the day. Defender was the perfect sideways shooter, I can’t believe it came out in 1980 at the same year as Pac-man. The game is just as challenging today as it was when it first came out. I like many games but I’ll always be a Williams player first. My high scores on those games are 10,000,000 on Defender, Stargate, Robotron, Joust and 2,300,000 on Joust 2 – Survival of The Fittest.
Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from video games?
Sure, I thought Wreck it Ralph was great and I even liked Pixels. I was fortunate enough to be contacted to do some of the classic game play footage for Pixels. I sent the FX department some Defender and Joust footage and they ended up using it in the opening scenes, even got paid for it. Who said playing arcade games doesn’t pay?
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
I’ll always be involved in classic arcade gaming in some capacity. I grew up with these games and they will always be a part of me. I try to get out to most of the local events like California Extreme and SC3 and I’m a regular at my local arcade ‘2084’ in Anaheim. I also enjoy keeping my chops up by practicing in MAME regularly.
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.