Our next Trading Card Spotlight features George Riley, who is displayed on card number 206, from the Superstars of 2012 Collection.  George is a widely know Donkey Kong 3 Champion.  His scores on M.A.M.E. and the arcade are number one on the Twin Galaxies scoreboard.   George is a big collector of Atari 2600 games.  George also holds some records on Galaxian and Donkey Kong Jr.  You can always see George and subscribe on his YouTube Channel. When not gaming George makes his living as  substitute teacher.

How does video game music influence games past and present?

Video game music adds flavor to a video game. It can also add a couple of notches to a video game.  The music to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series made the video game just as much as the graphics, and the gameplay.  As far as the Golden Age games it was important too.  Donkey Kong that came out in 1981 has a lot more music than most people realize, and it really does add to the experience.  Even Space Invaders with that da da da noise is something that’s an iconic memory.

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

Probably Donkey Kong 3.  I had to sell my DK3 machine a few years back, but I’d like to get another one eventually in my life.  That game has always given me the greatest reward for time invested.  It’s the only game where it’s feels like it’s an extension of me when I play it

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

The very first video game I remember playing might be Combat for the Atari 2600 in 1981.  I think the reason I liked video games at such a young age is being you are part of the experience.  You are not merely watching it.  You are fully immersed in it.

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

I am not into newer games at all.  I think it changed for me when I realized that video games started going away from the high score mode to story mode with no score.  I grew up where the high score was the end all and be all of video games.  For me it seemed like if you take away the score you take away the competition. I understand now though that many of these games are measured by speed running.  I am amazed at speed runs, but that’s not my style of play.

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

No way on earth I thought I would be on a video game trading card.  I mean, no one was on a video game trading card.  The concept of video game trading cards with game players on it was not even an idea in any formation.  I think it’s super cool that Walter Day thought I was worthy enough to be on not just one video game card, but two.  I can’t thank him enough for that.

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

I actually did receive some media coverage.  My hometown newspaper did a story on me.  They put me on the front page of their Sunday paper.  I was a minor celebrity in my home town for about a week.  It was really cool.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

Right now, I would say my favorite gaming device is MAME. It lets me play emulations of all the great Arcade games I enjoyed as a kid.  I enjoy the challenge that almost all of these games create.  Since the games were trying to get money from you they are almost all very hard.

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?

I enjoy P.C. MAME gaming over console gaming.  Console gaming is great, and there are some great games, but when you are talking about getting a high score it’s not nearly as challenging as MAME games.  The console games even in the 80s realized that they were best off making the game somewhat easy so that you would run to the store and buy another game.

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

I guess my favorite games are shooter games where you have to go around dodging all manner of things.  Two of my favorite games are Donkey Kong 3, and Moon Patrol.  Both are shoot and dodge type games that offer a variety of style.

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

I’m going to go with Sega Genesis.  I played Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and 3 to death back in the day.  A close second is Activision.  I love the selection of games they had like Pitfall 2, and H.E.R.O.  When it comes to Arcade it’s gotta be Nintendo.  It’s funny that I don’t really care to play their console games, but I love to play their Arcade games.

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

Video games for the main part today are aimed at the males from the ages of 12 to 34.  I do think a person of any age can enjoy video games.  If I am alive at the age of 90 I’ll be enjoying video games if I am able to.  Somewhere along the lines the video game companies lost female interest.  They were actually trying with some major games.  Centipede was made in soft pastel colors to women to play.  Ms. Pac-man was called Ms. Pac-man instead of Mrs. Pac-man.  Lady Bug had a special that you could get that would actually show a picture of a man and a woman getting married.   I am not too sure why it’s mainly a male thing today, but it is.

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

I don’t think video games lead to violence to be honest.  I’ve played Donkey Kong 3 a ton of times, but that doesn’t mean I want to go around looking for bugs to spray with insecticide.  You didn’t see people wanting to hit things with hammers after Donkey Kong came out.  Violence today is mainly due to our culture of how we are supposed to act when we feel someone disrespects us.  Instead of being taught to let it slide people are too often encouraged to push back on the person that disrespects us.  Soon we get people escalating something that was trivial at first into something that leads into the loss of life.  If we could teach people, especially youths that it’s OK to let things go, I’d think we’d be better off.

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

I definitely am someone who prefers to play against the computer.  The computer is the same to everyone.  No one is spared from its randomness.  I like that a score is the ultimate indicator of how good you are.  When it’s against someone else all of a sudden who is the best isn’t so clear.  It becomes a rock, paper, scissors type of situation when some go for rock, others for scissors, and others for paper, but in reality, both sides are pretty equally matched.

Which company makes the best games and why?

As far as companies today, I have no clue who makes the best games.   All time I feel that Activision, Sega, and Nintendo made some great games.

Do you learn anything from playing video games?

Video games are great for problem solving in a real time setting.  They also are good for hand eye coordination.

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

Hmm, first time I met Walter Day was probably at the Classic Arcade Expo in 2005 I believe.  I had no clue who Walter Day was, but it’s hard to forget the trademark beard and jersey he wore.  They had some kind of Donkey Kong competition.  I completely sucked.  I think I got 7k or something like that.  So bad that they didn’t even put the score in the database.

Are video games good for relieving stress?

People will have a certain amount of stress in their lives no matter the situation.  What video games do for the most part is give you a good type of stress.   So, you may have real world stress problems like problems in a relationship, financial problems, job problems, but video games can be cathartic in that they release the stress you had pent up.  It allows you to release all that stress you had stored up on a game that has no consequence for the most part in the real world.

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

I like and don’t like it.  I like it because it brings awareness and honors a game that you may be very fond of.  On the other hand, when you play some of these games a lot it’s like reading a book that’s adapted into a movie.  You have certain expectations that the story, and plot line will go a certain way.  So, when the story veers off in a different direction than you expect it can be disappointing at times.

What does it take to be a Video Game Journalist?

To be a decent video game journalist I think you have to be unbiased towards any side.  You need to be able to ask the hard questions and stick to the question if someone doesn’t answer the question.  Also, it’s good to show that you are not against them.  It’s OK to be friendly.  Lastly you should be well versed in whatever you are covering.  Having a lack of knowledge of the subject does no one any favors.

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

Old arcade games didn’t have much back story to the game characters, and because of that I’ll go with Sonic the Hedgehog.  The character was fearless and had a little bit of an attitude to match.  He was always on the go and had things to do.

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

Fun, High scores, competition, something that’s within your control.

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

It’s all about the game play.  If the game play stinks, it’s like dressing a pig.  You can put lipstick, fine clothes, a wig, and clean up a pig real nice, but at the end of the day it’s still a pig dressed up real nice.

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

To be honest I don’t really care for boss battles.  Most of the games I really like are games where you have to be always on your toes.  Most golden age arcade games that I enjoy, (1978-1985) have absolutely no boss battles.

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

Donkey Kong 3 is my favorite single player game.  As far as multi-player games I think I might go with Pong.  I know it’s super simple, but it’s surprisingly fun at a party.

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

I did have an idea for a video game at one time.  It was a knock off of breakout.  Instead of trying to knock out a brick at a time, you would defend the bricks from the ball where there would be two holes you needed to knock the ball through.  If you got the ball through one of the holes one of the bricks you were defending would turn into a ball and you would again try to get the ball through one of the two holes on the bottom of the game.  If a ball got through your paddle the ball would explode the brick and your man would die from the explosion.  You beat the level when all the bricks you are defending turn into balls and you have knocked them through holes at the bottom.  The character would be nothing special, just a paddle.  Again, for me, it’s all about gameplay.

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

Yeah, I’m still involved in gaming today.  I have been actively involved competitively since 2009.  My main role is being a gamer.  I try to participate in some kind of competition whatever it may be.

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

It seems to me that virtual reality games will be where it’s at in about 20 years.  Companies have done what they could with 2d and 3d gaming.  The only thing that still has loads of potential is virtual reality games.

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 (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.