Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Hector Rodriguez who is displayed on card number 253, from the Superstars of 2012 Collection.  Hector is also displayed on cards 300F and 2134.  Hector is a true competitive gamer and has a very successful gaming resume.   He competed in the Nintendo World Championship in 1990.  In 2000, he won an all expensed paid trip to the X-Games and entered a Tony Hawk Pro Skater tournament where he finished 6th.  He won a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater tournament in 2001.  Hector has numerous world records on games of all kinds on such platforms as PlayStation, Nintendo GameCube and Sega Dreamcast to name a few.  He is also a record holder on arcade games such as Track & Field and Jail Break.   Hector is a serious weightlifter when he is not playing video games and working.

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

Well, I own 25 arcade games and 180+ PCBS, but if I had to be left with just one it would be a toss-up between Hyper Sports or Track and Field for 2 different reason. Track and Field is easy mindless play for me so I can zone out and just relax. If I want a challenge Hyper Sports is one that I have yet to master but it can become frustrating at times.  So, I think I’m leaning towards Track and Field.

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

I’m not 100% certain of what my first arcade game experience was, but I do remember that the home console version of Combat(Telstar) was my first Video Game that I ever played. It was similar to today’s plug and play games, but the sound actually came from the console, not the TV. There was nothing better than that dual stick controller either.

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

That all depends on which games you are talking about. Today’s games cover an extremely wide spectrum. If you ask me about the most popular modern games, I don’t really care for them. They are good for cinematics and story but lack replay value. They also seem to be missing the score elements that make classic games so fun for me.  Then there are the modern games that have the retro feel and style, but very flash graphics like Geometry Wars 3 and Darius Burst. These two games have taken up most of my game time for the past 2 years since they play just like the classics.

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

I am still very involved in gaming.  I mostly console game, which is what I’ve always done. I have numerous #1 scores on The PSN leaderboards on games such as Geometry Wars 3, Darius Burst, Gravity Rush, Super Stardust, Tony Hawk HD and Velocity Ultra to name a few.

I recently played in the Retro Nintendo Online Open and got 2nd place. It was a very distant 2nd but I was just hoping to be in the top 4 so I was happy. And about a year ago, I went to the Twin Galaxies Festival in Banning and had a nice payday in the console decathlons. $1250 for 1st on NES, $1250 for 1st on Intellivision and $250 for 3rd on Atari.  I also do some arcade gaming on occasion. I enjoy jumping into little online competitions such as IGBY, Yolympics and whatever else I might have time for.

I am also in the middle of gathering a group of players for a BOTA 2017 team (Battle of the Arcades). It will be Southern California’s first appearance in the tournament and we hope to have a strong showing.  A very strong showing.

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

I believe I met Walter in person for the first time at CAX 2008 (California Arcade Expo). Although He did call me in 2000 or 2001 regarding the Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2 contest that Twin Galaxies did. He called regarding my winnings and there being a delay in payment due to some sponsors pulling out. Walter said he ended up paying me out of pocket.

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

Of course, I never thought I would be on a Video Game Trading Card. The whole idea would have seemed silly, as it still does to me today.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

My PS Vita gets daily use. It has games that are cross save with the PS4 and PS3, so basically, it’s an extension of the consoles on the go or on the pot. Yes, I went there. I do all the time.

Growing up were you team Sega or Nintendo and why?

Nintendo all the way. All the Sega controllers were sluggish and sloppy. They made top play frustrating or impossible for me.

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

The games listed above would be some of my favorites. So looking at those, there are many different types; Platform, Shmups, Extreme Sports, Dual Stick Shooters. All favorites.

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

I like online leaderboard battles. I do it alone, but it’s against friends and the world at the same time. I play at my time, and you play at yours.

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

I don’t know if video gaming will still be mainstream like it is becoming now, but it will still be around. At least it will be in my house.

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.