Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Joe Dearman who is displayed on card number 3954, from the Superstars of 2021 Collection.  Joe has been playing video games since the 1970’s. He has seen the industry from the beginning to now. Defender is the game that really captivated his interest in the gaming world. He decided to go for a world record on the game in 1982. In one of the attempts he acquired the record by playing over 26 hours on one credit. He broke his own record score sometime later with a score of 26 million points.  Joe is also very competitive at Asteroids, Tempest and Pac-Man.

Do you learn anything from playing video games?

Yes – an improvement in hand-eye coordination, focus and teamwork. As a team member, you have to play your unique roll properly for the team to succeed or else you’re TOAST! You can also learn about the lore of different “worlds” that you visit. For example, Lord of the Rings Online really improved my knowledge of Tolkien’s world.

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

Today’s games are so much more versatile. The sounds, graphics and of course the online interaction have raised the bar in so many ways. You can have so much fun with online team play, great VR experiences, and/or MMORPG, and that can foster friendships and competition. The classic games were typically one-player “shoot ‘em up games” that were groundbreaking for their time. Against a backdrop of no online gaming and no phone apps., they stood out like giants compared to the gaming systems and PCs of that time. Their innovations were amazing and led the way to today’s games.

What does it take to be a video game journalist?

First and foremost, you have to embrace being a nerd. Don’t fight it or run from it. Just give in and accept it. And a lot of the serious stuff too, great people skills, an ability to cultivate connections, great instincts and timing, and of course a flare for writing. Oh, and some might need to invest a little into their own gaming skills – you know who you are haha….

If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?

*Historian* – with all of the areas that he does for trading cards in addition to video games, he is preserving the knowledge of our heritage.

Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?

Not at all!! I never even considered it.

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

Even though I was a participant in the Twin Galaxies first event “California vs. North Carolina”, I did not meet him at the time. I think he was in NC while I was in CA. My friend that owns the arcade games at West County Lanes (in St. Louis) knows him and connected us together in late 2020.

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

My favorite genre are games like Defender, Stargate, Asteroids and Space Invaders. These were all favorites at one time or another. Now I am back at playing Defender and studying videos of the best players I can find for insights. I have also dabbled in Super Smash Bros. and may try Overwatch if I can find the time.

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

The first arcade I played at was the Electric Carousel in Bakersfield, CA. I remember all of the captivating sounds that would hit you as soon as you walked in, along with the lighting and flashes you could see on each game. Each one offered its own adventure of challenges and opportunities to be explored and conquered.

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

I would take a Defender/Stargate game to keep working on improving my skills. Robotron would also be a lot of fun.

Which console company is your favorite and why? 

Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or Microsoft? Nintendo is tops in our family for the last decade playing Mario, Zelda, Smash Bros. and more.

How does video game music influence games past and present?

My nephews Jordan and Elijah both play football, and after scoring a touchdown, they would immediately break out in an on-field celebration singing from Sea of Thieves, complete with air instruments. My son Paul played a piano piece from Undertale at the school talent show last year. Going forward, I can see the music from video games permeating our culture more and more.

Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?

Yes and no. Some of the modern-day games have real-world violent acts and crimes that you have to perform in order to get to the next level. In my opinion, this could potentially increase the chances of someone committing a crime in real life. On the other hand, at 18 years old you can join the military and have a real gun in your hand. Does it make sense to forbid all games with guns for teens? That might be an overreaction.

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

My go-to is playing alone to unwind after work. Over the years, playing with friends online would have been too time-consuming. Ideally, online play would be fantastic.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

The Nintendo Switch has good-quality games that are nice for long road trips, and periods of waiting.

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?

I prefer PC gaming. Raising a family and having a career have not left a lot of time for serious gaming. Relaxing with a game on my PC has been my preference.

Which company makes the best games and why?

Probably Nintendo because of the number of people that pay and play them.

Are video games good for relieving stress?

For me they are as long as I don’t get too carried away and stay up too late. Easier said than done!

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

Does Tron count? I am a “Golden Ager” ha-ha right? Generally, these types of movies have not held much interest for me. Rather than movies that come from video games, I prefer video games that come from movies e.g., Lord of the Rings.

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

Probably Pac-Man. It was so iconic, and I played that game a ton. And yes, I had Pac-Man fever!

What springs to mind when you hear the term “video games”?

I think of arcades, bowling alleys, old friends and family fun.

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

For me it is the game play. Let’s wipe out the enemy, and go to the next level! If you don’t have that, the game is not worth it to me to play.

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

Not normally, but sometimes it can be very satisfying to win those.

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

Defender is my favorite single-player game. Watching my son Paul play Overwatch is so much fun for me that it makes it my favorite multi-player game.

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

For this I am going to give you a parent’s answer. My son had a class where the teacher gave each student their own avatar and would sometimes reward the students for class work with points for cosmetics. Rather than create a brand-new game, I would like to see a system development that gives in-game rewards to players based on their real, academic performances. These would be incorporated into existing, popular games, and they would have to make it easy for school districts to integrate and use. The rewards would have to be meaningful to the students, and low maintenance for the teachers. I realize there are a lot of issues with this concept. They are going to play the games anyway so you might as well use it to benefit them if possible.

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

For the most part, I have been out of the gaming world for over three decades. The trading card is opening up some opportunities for me to represent the old school gamers and bring attention to the good old fun that so many of us enjoyed to a new generation. My most important roll though is as a father, and I encourage my son Paul as he plays in tournaments for fighting games of his own (as long as his grades are up).

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

I can envision gaming centers/sporting arenas with huge 3-D players and battlefields, where people pay to attend and watch it like a football game. Home play would have a lot more enhanced virtual reality

You are an accountant and CPA. Are you prouder of when you received your CPA, or when you achieved your Defender record?

My kneejerk reaction would be the Defender record haha…. I mean rarity alone would dictate Defender, right? Defender hasn’t put bread on the table, but it did help me to get on a Walter Day trading card. To put all of this in perspective, getting married, having three amazing children and getting saved are at the top of my list. Getting my CPA and Defender record are pretty high up there after that.

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 (397 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.