Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Michael Massaro, “DKMikey77”, who is displayed on card number 3362, from the Superstars of 2020 Collection. Michael is a true fan of the game Super Punch Out. With a high score of 303,330, it makes him one of the highest scorers in the game in the record books. Recently, Michael did something more impressive, which is achieve the kill screen on the arcade game Donkey Kong, only a handful of gamers have achieved this feat. His final score after he hits the kill screen was 962,500, putting him at an impressive score on the leaderboard. He also has a big passion for games such as Galaga and Pac-Man.
What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer game?
Overall, Donkey Kong is probably my most favorite single player game now, since I have achieved a few high scores, including my new killscreen high score of 962,500 on August 26, 2021. If I was not doing any Donkey Kong high score attempts, I would decide Tetris being my most favorite single player game. As for multiplayer games, I think I enjoyed Halo 2 and Halo 3 the most when I did online multiplayer in the mid to late 2000s.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
There are some good things about the video games that are released today for the current generation consoles, such as Xbox and PlayStation. Game graphics and sound have definitely exceeded in gaming today where it almost looks and sounds real. As for the older classic games, many of them may not have outstanding graphics, but the game controls, replay value, and score is what makes a video game lasts longer, especially the classic ones that I grew up on.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
I have been close to winning some Nintendo tournaments in the early to mid-1990s, but I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that I would be on a trading card. It is quite an accomplishment for me!
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
I have not had a chance to meet Walter in person at this time. I was looking forward to meeting him that the grand opening of RAM Arcade in New Jersey, but plans were changed on Walter’s side last minute where he was unable to make it. Overall, I feel there will be another opportunity in the near future to meet Walter and talk to him about some gaming history from each of us.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Loyal, because he has been loyal to video games ever since he first opened up Twin Galaxies as an arcade in Iowa.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
I may not exactly remember what my first video were and arcade I ever played, but I can definitely mention a few games that could be the potential answer. When I was 3 years old in the year 1980, we had the Atari 2600 and I do remember playing the games, Bowling, Basketball, Asteroids, Space Invaders, and Superman. As for arcade games, I would maybe narrow it down to the games, Pac-Man, Tempest, and Phoenix.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
I did own a Gameboy when it first came out, but I was more dedicated to the 8-bit Nintendo since they had a larger library of game titles to choose from. Gameboy was in all, but if I had to choose my most favorite portable gaming device, I would have to give it to the Nintendo Switch because it gives you the ability to play portable or on your television and they have a great choice of games to choose from.
Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?
I have had some enjoyments on both Console gaming and PC Gaming, but I would lean more towards the console gaming side due to the costs and simplicity of loading up new games. There were quite a few good games I loved on the PC, but there are times when you have to keep upgrading your PC with a fast CPU, more memory, better graphics card, and it ends up where it does cost much more to have it done.
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
Overall, I own 15 arcade cabinets and 1 virtual pinball machine that I built. If I had to narrow it down to owning one arcade game … well … that is a tough one. For now, I will narrow it down to just 3 arcade games. It would be Donkey Kong, Star Wars, and Tron.
Which console company is your favorite and why? Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or Microsoft?
I have liked them all, but I would edge it out towards Nintendo. Nintendo, in my opinion, has had the most success in console launches, great choices of 1st and 3rd party games, and long-term hardware.
What does it take to be a video game journalist?
The display of passion and knowledge that you have as a gamer.
How does video game music influence games past and present?
Video game music is an absolute influence, because it gets your attention when you play that game for the first time, and then you decide to play it again and again. You tend to show a liking towards that sound effect or song while playing a game. It ends up at some point where you end up singing that song or mimicking that sound effect from time to time.
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
I see video games are aimed of people of all ages. Nowadays, it all depends on the content of the game to suit the best age group of gamers.
Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
There are a few games out there, such as GTA and Mortal Kombat, that took video game violence a step above no doubt, but I feel it does not all gamers. It all depends on that gamer’s intention and judgement on how they manage that video game. Video game violence started as early as the arcade game Death Race.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
When it comes to arcades, I am willing to play solo or with friends. If I do any online gaming today, it would be casual type games, such as Tetris 99. I have played Tetris ever since it first released on the GameBoy and that is one of my all-time favorite games. Tetris 99 for Nintendo Switch is outstanding with online play!
Which company makes the best games and why?
I can’t really narrow it down to one company, but I will definitely share a few that deserve this recognition. Nintendo, Capcom, Konami, TECMO, Midway, and Williams.
Do you learn anything from playing video games?
Sure thing! I learned how to insert a coin, start a game, play the game, and how to end a game … with my intials hahaha.
Are video games good for relieving stress?
100% absolutely! There are times when we can get stressed out due to personal reasons and work. Some video games can help you relieve that stress and build that happiness in you. Of course, there are a couple games I would not play while I am stressed out, such as Robotron 2084 hahaha. That game is outstanding, but tough and fast. I would play that game when I am well-balanced hahaha.
Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from the video game?
It all depends on how good the game was designed and its replay value.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
I would have to narrow it down to Mario from Nintendo, because his character plays many different roles and many expectations. It all started him being named “Jumpman” in Donkey Kong and then it led where he got a brother named “Luigi” in Mario Bros. However, it all kicked up a notch when Super Mario Bros came out and his character was enjoying and fun to be when being in a mushroom world trying to save a princess in a castle.
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘video games’?
The following words do spring to mind: Arcades, Retro, Nintendo, Atari, and Sega.
Of these five elements video games, which is the most important to you and why? Gameplay, Atmosphere, Music, Story, Art style
If you asked me this question when I was a kid, I would have chosen Art style (graphics). Gaming graphics always appealed to me when the NES was out. Every month I would get the new issue of Nintendo Power and fee future games like Nina Gaiden, Mega Man 2, and others with these incredible graphics being shown. That was the easiest thing that would have sold me to get that game when it was released.
Now, as an adult, I feel gameplay is the most important element in a game. Why play a game continuously where the controls are loose, sloppy, or inaccurate? Game controls and replay value make a video game earn long retention. There are times when I decide to play a game that I have not played in years. It narrows down to how the controls were tight, precise, and enjoying.
Do you find boss battles to be the best part of a video game?
When I was younger, I would say boss battles were maybe the best part of a video game. Nowadays, I enjoy achieving a high score on games that prove how much dedication you put into 1 single game attempt.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
I would like to design a few video games that are based on some movies that did not get a video game version made. A couple examples that come to mind would be Big Trouble in Little China (action) and Bloodsport (fighting).
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I mainly play a lot of the classic arcade games, since I do down 15 arcade cabinets in my home. Besides my arcade cabinets, I do play some casual gaming on the current generation consoles, and I do play some of the classic consoles like NES, SEGA Genesis, Super Nintendo. I guess it all comes down on what game I am in the mood to play.
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
Yes, I am still involved to gaming still to this day. I have been very dedicated to playing more of the classic video games that I grew up on and trying to reach high score arcade accomplishments on a few of them, such as Donkey Kong, Galaga, Punch Out, and Super Punch Out.
Where do you see video gaming in the next 20 years?
I would say more interactive in ways than just sitting in front of a TV / monitor. Virtual Reality has gotten better, and it still has ways to improve more and more.
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.