Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Jon Stoodley who currently is displayed on card number 56, from the Superstars of 2011 Collection. He is also featured on cards 1782 and 2209. There are only a handful of people who have achieved the perfect Pac-Man score of 3,333,360 and Jon is one of those gamers. Jon, who lives in the UK, loves to come to the states to compete in Pac-Man tournaments. He also has raised money for charity over the last few years playing Pac-Man which benefits Cancer research and the British Heart Foundation.
Arcade Club link : https://www.arcadeclub.co.uk/
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
In my experience, most definitely everyone. That’s the beauty of video gaming. In the early years, it was mostly targeting males with space shooting games etc. But with the creation of Pac-Man in 1980, it broadened the appeal to females of all ages. Character based games became household names and dominated the arcade scene.
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
I first met Walter Day at Funspot in 2009. He was still a referee at the tournament then and we spoke about gaming, my then recent inclusion into the Twin Galaxies database, and my future gaming intentions with Pac-Man. My 1984 score was grandfathered into the database and I wanted to play live at Funspot to show what I could do. It’s an honor to be associated with Walter and we remain good friends today.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Visionary. Having the insight to create an official scoring database at the peak of the golden age of video games was a stroke of genius. It was monumental, but Walter managed to compile an incredible list of scores and achievements nobody could have imagined possible. That legacy remains.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I still play Pac Man, but have a keen interest in Track and Field, Space Invaders, Berzerk and 1942. I don’t have a specific genre, but don’t play any ‘beat em ups’.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
My first experience of video games was in 1978. I vividly remember Space Invaders of course and Tail Gunner. I was only about 10 years old at the time and it was like being on another planet. Star Wars was huge in the cinema and anything ‘space’ related was so cool as a kid. The arcade was so magical.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
I think the modern gamer has so much technical wizardry at their disposal, in some way I feel that this distracts from the magic of what the retro gamer experienced. With modern games, everything looks real and completely lifelike, which is great, but with retro classic games, the gamer used much more imagination to paint their very own picture.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
Absolutely not. In the UK, there was little opportunity to be part of an official gaming scoreboard. We’d not really heard of Twin Galaxies, so if we had a score or gaming achievement appear in a computer magazine, we felt like rock stars!
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the trading card? If so, where?
I’ve had a plenty of social media interest and my local newspaper did a story about my perfect quest some years back.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
This will make people laugh, but because of my age, my favorite portable game was called ‘Astro Wars’ by a company called ‘Grandstand’ in 1981. The screen was a magnified circle and the game was based on Galaxians. It was full color too with great sound effects.
Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?
I like console gaming because I was brought up with the likes of the Atari 2600 and Intellivision. PC gaming in the early 80’s was good, but the load times on data cassettes was crazy slow… The consoles offered remakes of the original games, licensed and had games cassettes that were ready to play in seconds.
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
It has to be Pac Man of course. It’s not just my favorite, but the icon that changed the world of video games. Across 40 years, it’s remained very relevant in the gaming world and joined the sexes together in the arcade.
Which console company is your favorite and why? Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or Microsoft?
My favorite console would have to be the Sony PlayStation. I remember playing for many hours on the PS1 and the PS2. They had such incredible games for the time and reinvented the games console.
How does video game music influence games past and present?
The influence video game music has had is incredible. From the ‘death march’ of Space Invaders, the siren of Pac Man can even be heard in the modern movies of today. Pixels was a great example of retro games and music being fused together within a film. The music and sound effects from retro or modern games will undoubtedly live on and influence future games and designers.
Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
Absolutely. Without question. Regardless of the way in which these ‘games’ are censored, the content is sometimes very macabre and gruesome. Video games are meant to be enjoyable. I see none of this appeal in this genre and to be honest, it’s ruining what it was originally all about. Good old-fashioned FUN.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
Because I always played live in the arcades, that’s how I feel most comfortable playing today. I’ll sometimes stream live on Twitch for example, so I don’t prefer playing alone. I used to play Pac Man in front of a crowd at my local arcade in Liverpool England. I thrive on the energy and expectations of an audience and there’s nothing better in my experience than playing live.
Which company makes the best games and why?
Probably Williams Electronics in the 80’s. They were incredible at producing high energy, very fast and addictive classic games like Defender, Robotron 2084, Joust and Sinistar. The sound effects were incredible for the day and they still amaze me what was possible with very limited memory and processing power. Those guys were genius!
Do you learn anything from playing video games?
To broaden your imagination, have determination and goals and to stay social with my friends. I also learnt the power of nostalgia too. Amazing memories from an amazing time and hobby.
Are video games good for relieving stress?
I guess they are initially, as you have fun with friends and family. Competitive gaming is a different matter though. It can be sometimes stressful trying to achieve the perceived impossible score or stage.
Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from the video game?
Absolutely. They’ve had such a huge impact on our popular culture that it seems inevitable that they should remind all of us the importance of gaming to the world.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
It has to be Pac Man once again. It broke down the sexes barrier and was incredibly basic in its design but appealed to everyone. Who would have ever thought that a yellow circle with a piece cut out would go on to dominate the gaming world for 40 years? Absolutely incredible.
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘video games’?
Space Invaders. The grandfather of them all. Quite simply a legend.
Of these five elements video games, which is the most important to you and why? Gameplay, Atmosphere, Music, Story, Art style
Although all 5 are important, without genuine gameplay, the rest can’t get together as a great game. I’ve seen and played some great looking games with nice cabinets, controls and sounds, but have had little or no decent gameplay.
Do you find boss battles to be the best part of a video game?
No, they’re great, but often the lead up to them makes the overall game more appealing.
What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer game?
Single player is Pac Man, multiplayer would be Pac Man ‘Battle Royale’ , Ha.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
I’d like to see a game based on competitive classic gaming. Walter Day would be the main character and he would be running from room to room, adjudicating gamers before the time runs out…. Or something like that.
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
Yes. I still play the Retro classic games and enjoy visiting new ‘barcades’ that appear around the UK. I like to represent the UK on the global stage, so I visit the US as often as possible to take part in gaming events. I have raised thousands of pounds for charity over the last few years playing for perfection on Pac Man. Cancer research and the British Heart Foundation have been close to me personally.
Where do you see video gaming in the next 20 years?
Hopefully where it is at the moment, world leaders in entertainment and enjoyment for all ages. Virtual Reality will no doubt be at the forefront of future technology, but I really hope that there’s still time to play the originals in museums and arcades like Funspot.
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.