Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Jack Gale, displayed on card number 103, from the Superstars of 2011. Jack is also on card numbers 929 and 2155. Jack was one of 22 gamers of the 1985 Twin Galaxies Coronation Day tournament held in Los Angeles, CA. Jack has held records in such arcade games as Karate Champ, Zoo Keeper and Hogan’s Alley. Jack attends events both locally and throughout the US while acting as a spokesperson to help promote the positive aspects of the gaming culture of yesterday and today.
Do you find boss battles to be the best part of a video game?
Generally no. I don’t like most boss battles because they seem contrived. Compare the original Deus Ex with Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Human Revolution is an excellent game but the boss battles seem like forced spectacles; whereas the original Deus Ex has the boss battles so smoothly integrated into the gameplay they don’t feel like boss battles at all but carry just as much significance.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
The first video game I ever played was Pong at the Hollywood Mall in Hollywood, Florida around 1975 or so. They placed the machine just past the main entry doors and against a wall so it was in a high traffic area and got a lot of attention.
The first arcade I ever visited was Cloverleaf Miniature Golf in North Miami Beach, FL in the ‘70s. I set a bunch of world records there including Tapper (1984 VG Master’s Tournament), Dragon’s Lair, and Enduro Racer. Cloverleaf is also where I met Billy Mitchell, Steve Harris, and Chris Ayra for the first time. Sadly, Cloverleaf was razed and is now a gas station.
When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?
I first met Walter in January of 1985 at the Captain Video arcade in Westwood, CA for the 1985 Player of the Year Tournament (card #929). His first words to me were “Nice to meet you Jack but I don’t believe you can finish Karate Champ.” This is despite Billy Mitchell (correctly) telling Walter that I would. Walter had a healthy skepticism that made him the perfect referee—then and now.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
What does it take to be a Video Game Journalist?
In addition to having passion for gaming and writing you have to have a fascination for the myriad of personalities that populate the culture and a profound understanding of human nature. Perhaps a solid grounding in Shakespearean tragedies, comedies, and histories should be a prerequisite for the serious video game journalist. Interest in the gamers themselves is only going keep growing.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
Mario because my kids love him.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video game Trading card?
As a kid I always dreamed of being on a trading card since I collected baseball, football, and Star Wars cards but never thought it would be for gaming. Thankfully, Walter Day had that vision!
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the Trading Cards? If so, where?
There’s been media coverage at the trading card events I’ve attended and it’s just a matter of time before the popularity of the cards brings even wider coverage.
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘video games’?
A Golden Age arcade with all the lights, sounds, people, games, and high scores.
Of these five elements in video games, which is the most important to you and why? Gameplay, Atmosphere, Music, Story, Art style
For Console and PC RPG’s it’s Story. For most Arcade titles it’s Gameplay.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
First I have to distinguish among the arcade games, the PC games, and console games.
For me the arcade games of today aren’t of much interest. For example, when I visit a place like Taito Station in Japan I admire the interior decorations and the overall atmosphere but outside of a few simulation games I just walk through pretty quickly. I just can’t get my heart into the ‘90s – ‘10s arcade releases.
To the contrary, I think many of the PC and console games of today are superb. I did own most of the classic console systems from the Atari 2600 through the mid ‘80s consoles but couldn’t stand the controllers and often did my gaming in the arcades. My low point with console controllers came in 1990 during the Nintendo World Championships and I didn’t buy another console (the PS3) until 2011.
What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer game?
Staying away from the arcades (too hard to choose) I’d say my favorite single player game was the original Deus Ex (PC) with Red Dead Redemption (PS3) in a near tie. I can’t choose a multiplayer.
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
I still enjoy playing arcade, console, and PC games and am fortunate to live within driving distance of the 2084 Arcade in Anaheim, CA. I also try to attend gaming related events both locally and throughout the US while acting as a spokesperson to help promote the positive aspects of the gaming culture of yesterday and today.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
Probably my Japanese PSP with its Japanese train simulation games.
Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?
I think they’re both excellent but probably play more on the consoles due to the cost of high-end PC gaming.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I still enjoy playing the arcade classics. Outside of the arcade games, I love the Deus Ex series and am waiting for the follow up to Red Dead Redemption. There’s a lot of others such as the Dragon Age and Elder Scrolls series but there just isn’t enough time to play them all.
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
Track and Field. There’s just something magical about the sound of perfectly manipulating the buttons and running at a blistering pace.
Growing up were you team Sega or Nintendo and why?
I really wasn’t into the consoles back then but did own an NES and never owned anything from Sega.
How does video game music influence games past and present?
Music adds atmosphere and can greatly influence the mood and emotions of the player.
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
I think most quality titles have a wide-ranging appeal to all ages, except perhaps some younger children. And, interestingly, many of the Wii U games aimed at younger children are often very playable by persons of all ages.
Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
Video games don’t lead to violence. People who are predisposed to violence are going to commit acts of violence whether or not they play video games. That being said, I don’t really care for games with gratuitous violence and won’t play certain games in front of my 8 year-old kids.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
My number one preference is to play arcade games in the social atmosphere of a video arcade. After that, I enjoy some PC or console gaming when it’s quiet at home.
Which company makes the best games and why?
There are many companies that make many great titles in their own unique way. I really can’t choose just one.
Do you learn anything from playing video games?
I think video games can help enhance focus and problem solving skills. In addition, mastering a video game involves managing stress and dealing with many failures so patience and dedication to your goal are constantly tested and you find out whether you have what it takes.
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Not for me usually, but you have to pay your dues if you want to be the best at something. I do though enjoy the process of mastering a game which along with the pain includes a great sense of accomplishment and earning respect from fellow gamers and non-gamers alike.
Sometimes I just play for fun, however, and suppose that is good for relieving stress.
Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from a video game?
Yes, I like video games to get that sort of attention and it helps them integrate into popular culture. Video game movies, like films about anything else, are hit and miss so I don’t worry whether they’ll be critical successes or not.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
It would be a conspiracy theory fueled action RPG that takes place mostly in Tokyo with a Toshiro Mifune inspired main character.
Where do you see video gaming in the next 20 years?
I think there will be a 24 hour video game channel in the US like there is now in South Korea. EGaming PC competitions will continue to grow in interest and console gaming will follow. The Golden Age arcade classics will maintain their popularity and there will be a huge market for video game trading cards covering arcade, console, and PC gaming. It’s going to become more and more about the gamers themselves.
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.