Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Eugene Jarvis, who is displayed on card number 144 from the Superstars of 2011 Collection. Eugene is also featured on cards 654, 654A, 714 and 1681. Eugene, who started his career in the pinball world has created some of the most memorable games in history. After leaving Atari early in his career, he joined forces with Williams and began creating such games as Defender, Robotron:2084 and Stargate. Eugene still works today creating arcade games for family entertainment centers like Dave & Busters and Chuck E. Cheese. Eugene is president of Raw Thrills (http://rawthrills.com/), a company based in Illinois, designing games for the future and keeping arcade games alive today.. Check out the new 2021 documentary “Insert Coin” to see more of Eugene and his days at Midway games and the popular arcades he help create
What is your favorite game you have worked on in your career?
At the end of the day it’s a lot more fun playing than developing them. But the pain and struggle to create a great title sometimes pays off. My favorite creation is ROBOTRON: 2084. The intensity of the player experience and sheer body count is unprecedented. The randomness is beautiful and every game is different. The sound sublime. You ride the hero – shithead roller coaster as you move from agony to ecstasy, fighting for human survival in the cyber age. The challenge is never ending – You can play it forever! And I love the story – but I hope I’m wrong. (It’s not looking good for the home team right now…)
What does it take to be a Video Game creator, and what advice would you give a person today who would like to get into the industry?
All you need is an idea and the passion never to quit until your dream is realized. A little talent and a lot of luck might not hurt either!
When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?
I met Walter when he was officiating a video game tournament in New Orleans back in the late ‘80s in his referee suit. Walter has been such a legendary figure in E-Sports – really the founding father of video game competition. I can’t envision Walter without the referee suit. Kind of like Steve Jobs and the black turtleneck. Walter stands for love of gaming and competition, and you can’t have competition and real records without accurate scoring and proper adjudicating. That’s why the referee suit is such a part of Walter and E-Sports. I can’t really remember true competitive gaming and record keeping before Walter and Twin Galaxies.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Unstoppable! He sees the future and makes it happen, yielding to nothing!
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video game Trading card?
Never – who could of thunk it? Hell, now you can even get a PHD in video games! Definitely a sign of the End-Times.
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the Trading Card? If so, where?
Most definitely – what do you think this interview is?
Do you remember when you created your first video game or arcade and what do you remember about the experience?
My first video game was Defender in 1980. It was an incredibly humbling experience. I realized that every game that actually works is a true miracle! You really have to give all your heart and soul, and at least your best 100 cool ideas to bring a cold, dead, dark TV screen to life.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
I don’t think there ever has been better games than today. The level of graphics, action, special FX, and game play is insane! There is such a cornucopia of genres such as FPS, RPG, MMO’s, RTS, Sims, E-Sports, puzzle games, word games, platformers etc. Compared to the classic games of the past, today’s games are much more complex and flashy, but below the eye-candy there is still the same foundation of game play principles dating back to the golden age of classic gaming.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
Nothing is a sweeter gaming rig than the IPad – but if you’re traveling light you got to go with the IPhone for sheer convenience.
Do you prefer Arcade or Console gaming and why?
I love arcade gaming because it is so easy to get into. You don’t have to dedicate your life to it. Just have fun! Arcade games have a physical and emotional intensity that just isn’t present in other forms of gaming.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I love arcade games and my favorite right now is The Walking Dead. It just sucked me in and I can’t stop till I beat it!
Are video games today aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
Everyone is in on the game these days – they are just too much fun!
Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
Not at all. No one was ever killed by a joystick. Gamers are very non-violent types. Any violent emotions are dissipated into the virtual realm.
Which company today, in your opinion, makes the best games and why?
Nobody has a monopoly on excitement! There are a zillion great games by a gazillion companies.
Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from the video game?
Sadly it’s often just for a quick cash-in on a hot title. You really have to have a passion for the game, really be a player to feel the emotions, live the story for a few months. Then maybe you are qualified to think about making the movie.
Who is your favorite video game character of all time and what makes that character special?
You got to go with that ubiquitous plumber, Mario. He’s the Mickey Mouse of gaming, the first real fully formed character, and still the best. Thanks goodness we’ll never see his plumber’s crack. That would ruin the fantasy!
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
I’m the President at Raw Thrills – an arcade video game developer. We’re keeping the arcade genre alive so future generations will be able to feel the love and joy of real arcade games!
Where do you see Video gaming in the next 20 years?
If I knew that I’d already be doing it!
By then we’re probably talking direct brain interface full frontal VR. Resolution, frame rate, etc. will approximate real life – as much as your eye and brain can take. Reality may be optional. We could all be wired brains in a jar. No more bodies and flesh – maybe even we’re all sucked up into the cloud. A lot more efficient and environmentally responsible form of living. No more SUV’s, McMansions, and Monsanto. Clothing optional – no pixels would be harmed.
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.