Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Keith Swanson, who is displayed on card number 60, from the Superstars of 2011. Keith is also featured on cards 972 and 1825. Keith is the world record holder of the arcade game Gorf (3 ships). His score of 1,129,660 was set in 2011. Keith also is currently in second place for the Gorf (6 Ships). Also, known as the “Arcade Doctor”, Keith owns his own arcade and pinball repair business in the Orlando, FL area. He enjoys keeping the games of yesterday and today running for gamers all over to enjoy. Keith’s next big project is to open up a video game bar in Florida.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
If I designed a game it would be named after my business “Arcade Doctor”. The game would be made similar to Donkey Kong instead of a plumber as Mario, it would be an arcade technician as a character and have similar but different levels such as in Donkey Kong. Maybe I will do that sometime in the future.
When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?
The first time I met Walter in person was at Billy Mitchell’s King of Kong Arcade (no longer there) in the Orlando airport in 2011.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Brilliant. Just for the many things he has done in his life. The founder of Twin Galaxies the official video game world record scoreboard, the many tournaments he has run. He is always full of ideas.
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the Trading Card? If so, where?
Video arcade and pinball show (Free Play Florida) Orlando, Fla.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
My first video game played was pong on a home console system. My first arcade game played was Space Invaders when I was 10 or 11 years old. My parents used to own a vacation home which we lived in during the summer months. Great place as it was a lake front property, learned to swim and waterski there. I used to ride my bike to a camping grounds nearby that had an arcade. It had a lot of EM pinball and EM shooter games and no video games at the time. I was going there regularly to play those games and then one day Space Invaders arrived, I remember a crowd of people surrounding that machine and the loud thumping noise that game made. I think I had to wait a week before I got the chance to play as it was always being played by someone. It was an exciting time as I never quite seen a game like that before. Ever since then I got hooked on video games.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
I like the video games of today also but many of them have too much of a story line script and not enough game play. I like the old games better because of the instant action and the simplicity of them. If you are going to be any good at many of the older games you need have great hand eye coordination, fast reflexes, and amazing concentration.
Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?
Console. Because many of the games are made for that specific system and hardware limitations. With Pc if you do not have a great gaming pc you cannot run many of the games smoothly.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
My favorite games to play today are still the classics. Robotron, Missile Command, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Pac-man,etc.
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
I own many classic arcade games but if I could only own one it would be GORF. Have it handy just in case someone beats my world record on it.
Growing up were you team Sega or Nintendo and why?
I liked both about equally. Both put out some amazing games.
What does it take to be an arcade repairman?
For one thing Patience, a lot of learning of the different systems and how they work, a good knowledge in electronics, and you must have a love for it. Otherwise it will drive you nuts.
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents, or adults?
I think they are aimed at all ages.
Do you believe some arcades are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
A lot of games are violent but do not believe they lead to violence any more than anything else.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
I like playing games against friends, more fun, more competitive, more smack talk. Just having a great time.
Which company makes the best games and why?
I think the best company that made games was Williams. The quality and game play of the Arcade Video and Pinball games they made surpasses everyone thus far.
Do you learn anything from playing video games?
Yes you can learn from playing games. Such racing simulators you learn a lot about different car set ups, and what you need to do to make a faster run. You can learn about history as many games are based on past events.
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Yes playing the games for fun is very stress relieving I find. If playing them to accomplish a world record that is another story. “Very stressful”
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
Mario I would have to say. Started way back in Donkey Kong and is still in games today.
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘video games’?
Of these five elements video games, which is the most important to you and why? Gameplay, Atmosphere, Music, Story, Art style
Gameplay for sure. The harder and more challenging the game is the more I like to play them.
I am very competitive and enjoy the challenge.
Do you find boss battles to be the best part of a video game?
I do not know if it is the best part but it gives you a determination to strive to reach the boss levels
What is your favorite singe player game and favorite multiplayer game?
Robotron and Guantlet
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
Gaming is my life. I own my own business “Arcade Doctor” which is a Video game and Pinball repair service. Every day I am traveling around the Orlando area repairing broken games. I am responsible for keeping many of these older games alive today. I am also in the process of opening a Video Game Bar. I wish I had more time to play the games but most of the time is spent fixing them.
Where do you see Video gaming in the next 20 years?
I think most Video games will be virtual reality base games in the future. Video gaming will always be around in some form or another.
For more infromation on Keith’s business, visit arcadedoctor.com
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.