Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Eric Olofson who currently is displayed on card number 2472, from the Superstars of 2016 Collection. Eric has been playing video game since the late 1970’s. He has been trying to break records ever since. His first world records he achieved were in the early 1980’s on games like Alpine Ski, Star Trek, and Stargate. Eric once played Stargate for 19 hours on one quarter and scored around 18 million points. He was awarded this trading card honor at the Arcade Expo 2.0 in Banning, California in 2016.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I mainly play Rock Band 4 on the PlayStation 4. I have thousands of songs and love to jam out too few songs and play with a band sometimes. I also play some phone games like words with Friends and Candy Crush along with a couple golf games like Golf Clash and Golf Rivals. I just started playing a new game called Disc Golf Rivals and enjoy the physics in that one. I recently started playing Final Fantasy VII remake and passed it on normal mode and I am working on completing it on hard.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
My first video game experience was getting the Magnavox Odyssey 2 for Xmas in the late 70’s. It had all the sports games, and the graphics were dots and lines. We would play for hours and hours. My favorites were the Golf and Football game.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
I love watching the game industry evolve with new ideas and graphics and sound getting better and better as technology moves forward. From dots and lines in the beginning to worlds being built in the digital universe, it is incredible to see where things have gone. There isn’t enough time anymore to play every game. I would like to see VR go more mainstream and see that grow into a thriving industry.
I play some phone games that give you chests to upgrade and use power ups. I am not a fan of the pay to win systems that they have devised to make money on these games. I am old school from when you put a quarter in the game and played as far as you could go. I can remember some of the first consoles and seeing cheat codes. I tried them and just got bored with the game. For me there must be some challenge to a game. From my perspective if you spend money to get past a hard level, the high score for that almost becomes meaningless. To me the challenge is beating whatever task they throw at me without spending any money and that makes conquering it sweet.
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
I first met Walter Day on Facebook. I am not sure if I knew who Walter Day was before the internet. I kind of remember Twin Galaxies from back in the early 80’s. I was in a small arcade and the techs that worked there are the ones who knew about Twin Galaxies and Walter. It wasn’t until the internet came along and I searched my name and found it on the Twin Galaxies website with my name and high score still intact.
I first met Walter in person at Arcade Expo #1 in Banning, CA. This is when the younger arcade playing geek merged with the older console/PC gaming geek and everything was right with the world again. I now go back to the Museum of Pinball every chance I get and even volunteer as much as I can there.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Magnanimous, for his 70th birthday party he chose to talk about others and highlight them! Every time I have seen or met Walter; he is always looking for ways to help others.
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
I think very few people ever leave gaming. It changes and evolves as we do as humans. I have gone through periods of gaming for hours and hours to very little playing. Now I play phone games and I have a PlayStation and a PC. I used to play a lot of PC games and now I rarely do. I am now involved in an Arcade/ Museum and love seeing these games preserved and cared for and finally comeback around from the heyday of the 80’s. I worry about the pandemic and what it will do to the Arcades that have made a comeback or have been around for a long time. It is going to be difficult to keep these places safe and make a living.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
I guess that would be my phone. I play some of the match 3 games and a few golf games and some word games. I used to have a Gameboy and PlayStation portable but didn’t use them much since the cell phones came along.
Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?
I am not picky on playing games on anything. I have played PC games and console games, arcades games and phone games. If it is a game, I would play it no matter the system that delivers it.
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
It would be Williams Stargate. It is a difficult game with a lot of buttons and fast action. When I was young, I played it for 19 hours straight. I could not continue because my arms would no longer function anymore. I really did not plan that well at the time.
Which console company is your favorite and why? Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or Microsoft?
I like them all and they all have good and bad games. If I could afford it, I would probably have every system I could get my hands on along with all the games. It would be impossible to play every game ever made nowadays.
What does it take to be a video game journalist?
Writing skills. knowledge of video games and to be interested in Videos games of all types. Communication skills are a must. Passion is a plus and a good knowledge of games new and old. People skills and networking with people who make games and the ones that play them.
How does video game music influence games past and present?
Game music has a huge influence on games. Just like movies where music can make the movie, take the movie Halloween and take away the music and it would not have the same impact. look at the influence the music genre has had in the gaming industry. When I was playing Final Fantasy VII remake the music would still go through my head even when I was not playing. That is powerful and it brings me back to playing the original game.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video Game Trading card?
I don’t think I ever envisioned there being video game trading cards when I was younger. Video games were just coming into being when I was young, and I was just happy to play them!
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the Trading Card? If so, where?
None that I am aware of. I was interviewed by NPR going to the Desert Trip concert in the parking lot and I gave him my trading card. Don’t know if they ever aired it though. I think it is awesome that gamers are getting the recognition they deserve.
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
Some games are aimed at kids while others for older people. There is room for everyone and every age. There are games now being used to keep the older mind active. Games can teach as well as entertain. I learned a lot of my troubleshooting skills from playing video games. When you play a game, and something isn’t working you have to think out of the box and change what you need to do.
Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
No, if that were the case then it would not just be America. There would be violence in other countries also and the science just does not support the issue. Violence in the world is a lot more complicated than just blaming it on video games and movies. There was violence in the world long before video games or movies where invented.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
Depends on the game, some games are better played alone and others with friends or strangers. I love playing Rock Band will a full band but playing FF VII remake is a solo game.
Which company makes the best games and why?
Large companies make good and bad games and spend millions and millions and one person can make a great game and not spend much at all. It is more about the ideas and people then a company.
Do you learn anything from playing video games?
I have learned a lot from Video games. Troubleshooting and problem solving would be my top ones that I have learned. Video games force you to think and sometimes you must think outside the box to figure out how to move forward in a game. Timing is also very important in gaming. I bet a lot of musicians are good at gaming.
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Depends on the game. Some can take your mind away from the daily stresses of life and some games can stress you out when things are not going well.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
If I were to design a game, it would be an educational game and the person playing would be the main character. There is so many things that could be taught using the video game format and it would be fun as much as it is educational.
Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from the video game?
I do, I am looking forward to Ready Player 2 coming out some time in the future.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
Mario, I guess. First real game character that I played on an arcade cab. Spent many hours at the local 7/11.
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘video games’?
Some type of display where you have control over the things on the display.
Of these five elements video games, which is the most important to you and why? Gameplay, Atmosphere, Music, Story, Art style?
I think they are all important. Gameplay is probably the most important. If a game does not play well all the other parts would not make the game any better.
Do you find boss battles to be the best part of a video game?
Most games I play nowadays don’t have boss battles. I don’t find them to be the best part of the game anyways. It would be like going to a rock concert and only enjoying the last song of the encore. I enjoy the journey to get to the boss or beating a hard level.
What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer game?
Rock Band would be my favorite for single player or multiplayer.
Where do you see video gaming in the next 20 years?
I see video games in the future combining the past and present and with all genres old and new being played. I see a lot more happening in the VR area as we learn and explore what can be done.
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.