Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Mike Lukianoff, who is displayed on card number 2591, from the Superstars of 2016. Mike is the winner for 3 years (2011,2013,2014) at ScrewAttack’s Ironman of Gaming tournament. In 2015, at the Southern Fried Gaming Expo, Mike won the “Beat Billy Mitchell” tournament in Pac-Man Battle Royale. Also, in 2015 and 2016 Mike won the Donkey Kong 2 and Ms. Pac-Man Turbo blindfolded tournaments at ReplaxFX, yes, he entered and won both arcade games where players were blindfolded. Originally from Michigan, Mike grew up playing Atari and the NES. His love for gaming grows as he is now trying his hands-on Pinball. He has a twitch channel which can be seen at www.twitch.tv/mcsirtuna.
When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?
I first met Walter in person at Magfest when he was there for the Nibbler World Record attempt. I’d been going to Magfest since 2005, so having him there was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. I found a time when he was free and approached him to have a small chat. It was awesome and he was everything I’d have imagined. Like many, I knew him from the multiple documentaries he has been in. Due to my appreciation for games of all kinds, I really have a deep appreciation for what he has done for gaming as a whole. It was an honor for me to get to chat with him for even a brief time.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video Game Trading card?
Never once would I have imagined this. Even when I first found out that Walter made trading cards based on video games, I’d still have never guessed I’d be one of my own.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Pure – From the experiences I’ve had with him and the media I’ve seen him in, he is a man that knows what he enjoys in life and has zero qualms about being himself.
Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?
I used to play both PC and console about even amounts until the mid-late 2000s. The simplicity of not having to upgrade my PC as often and sitting back on my couch and playing on the TV was something that pushed my console play about PC playing. I still make sure I have access to pretty much all means of playing games though. I prefer to make sure I play the best games regardless of the medium they release on so that I don’t miss any experiences.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
So, I have memories of playing an Apple II and Atari 2600 back as a kid. They belonged to our Aunt, but I recall us borrowing each of those and playing games on them before the NES was released. I remember playing Pac-Man and being able to set the number of ghosts playing and I think I was playing against 1 ghost and wasn’t dying. It was late and I had to go to bed, but I remember being able to play against one ghost endlessly. Outside of that, we got a Ms. Pacman cocktail arcade the same Christmas as we got the original NES with ROB when it came out. So, I played quite a bit of Ms. Pacman growing up. It was normal speed though, so I was never all that great at it. As for the NES, I have memories of playing SMB when it launched and waking up early in the morning to go downstairs to play it since I was too young to stay up late.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
I wouldn’t be good at designing my own game to be honest. But If I had to answer – I think I’d design a pinball game with an original theme based on gameplay around the idea of “Risk” or world domination. Building up an army and taking over various factions to rule the world. I think it would offer a good use of modes and risk vs. rewards to make a great game. It could also really push the objective concepts vs. high scoring to offer deep rules for the long game to be enjoyed as well.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
I love all games of all generations. I’ve never stopped playing games growing up so I’ve got an appreciation for the evolution of video games over time. Games have come full circle in embracing the growing technology to expand the ability to display the games as well as tell deeper stories. But we have gotten the point where we have started to level off the amount of power needed and instead of going forward, we can spend the time actually going backwards. Offering the ability for indie developers to make games allows for simpler games to be created that have the feel of nostalgia and live right alongside that of deeper games of our current technology. It’s a wonderful time where I feel there are games out there for anyone given they are able to be shown the right games for them. The selection is so vast now that we have more games than we can ever play. Certainly, a great problem to have.
What is your favorite singe player game and favorite multiplayer game?
Single player – Half-life 2 – Just a top to bottom amazing game and experience.
Multiplayer – Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory – Vs. Mode – The best 2v2 gameplay ever. Amazing balance between two difference gameplay styles. Amazing maps to work with and just the perfect feeling when a plan comes together with a partner to make a game work out. Really pushed teamwork and knowledge to make the best experiences.
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
If I could only own one – I’d have Ms. Pacman Turbo – cocktail (which I do have). If I had to pick one pinball machine, it would be Metallica Premium (which I also have).
Growing up were you team Sega or Nintendo and why?
We were a Nintendo family growing up. It’s mainly because that’s what we had. In 1985 we got a NES for Christmas and never turned back. We could really only afford one console as a family, so we kept with what we knew. Once I was old enough to be able to afford buying consoles for myself, I started to buy them all though. I didn’t want to miss out of certain experiences just because I only stuck with one console brand. That being said, I have a soft spot for Nintendo – but I have an appreciation for everything.
How does video game music influence games past and present?
Music is a key component to any great game. The best soundtracks and sounds are something that become a part of the experience when you don’t realize it. Hearing a soundtrack and being able to give a person the feel of a game is the ultimate goal for any video game music. The most interesting part of it to me is that the limited tools of the past allowed for the most influential scores to any game. Sometimes less is more when done right.
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents, or adults?
I think games are aimed at profit mostly now. Profit allows more games to be created after the current one is made. That being said, it’s not always a bad thing either. But as a whole I think games are targeted towards getting the most people to play regardless of age-group. I love the idea of getting more people to play games, one can only hope that when someone shows interest as a whole, that someone else can come by and help show them more games they might enjoy that they may have not realized. Find someone who like bejeweled, and maybe they will enjoy Puzzle Quest. Someone who likes a temple run, have them try out platformers (SMB).
Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
I don’t believe that is the case myself. I stand in the category that playing an aggressive / violent video game helps relieve aggression in a safe way rather than creates someone who thinks that these actions are OK to perform in the real world.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
I used to play more online against the world with friends, but now I tend to find myself mostly playing games alone. As time goes on, having the free time to play games isn’t as easy. Being able to play a single player adventure at my own pace seems to fit my lifestyle the best nowadays
Which company makes the best games and why?
There are a few companies I really enjoy – Nintendo of course – but Naughty Dog and Insomniac also make some amazing games as well. They make games that are either fun or are experiences. I know I use that word a lot, but that’s what I look for most in games today. The ability for the game to pull me into the world and make me simply enjoy my time with it.
Do you learn anything from playing video games?
Most definitely – playing pinball or Ms. Pacman turbo requires someone to learn patience. Being patient and assessing a situation will always provide the best outcome. Playing carelessly will result in a quick death. Learning patience is an important trait for all aspects of life.
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Very much so. Playing Ms. Pacman Turbo allows me to get “In the Zone” and more of less be in a Zen state while playing. For such a hectic game, it’s very relaxing.
Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from the video game?
I do when it’s enjoyable in the end and is respectful to the source material. I’d rather see people just make games for feel more like movies though – (Alan Wake I feel is a great example).
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
Gordan Freeman – Half-life series. The idea of a regular scientist taking of the role of becoming the ultimate bad-ass has always stuck with me. The game itself is one of my favorites of all time and although the main character is not seen nor heard, I always felt an impact from being in his role.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
I feel the Nintendo DS / 3DS (I’ll cheat and lump them as 1) is my overall favorite portable device. I feel that it really helped create and push new inputs to allow for newer gaming experiences. As someone who has been playing games for so long, one thing I really enjoy is anytime I can play something that feels new or different. Nintendo has certainly done their part in helping to push and create new experiences via their consoles and input controls over time (sometimes for better or worse).
Of these five elements video games, which is the most important to you and why? Gameplay, Atmosphere, Music, Story, Art style
Gameplay is the most important if I had to pick one. A game that just feels good to play will win me over any day regardless of the rest of the categories. Splinter Cell Conviction was one that I couldn’t get enough of due to the gameplay. It always felt SO good to play through that game that I played through everything it had to offer. I don’t normally play games to that extent, but when the gameplay is right, I can’t help myself.
Do you find boss battles to be the best part of a video game?
Only when the boss battles are presented in a way that they are the best part. A cheap answer, but this would be based on so many other parts of the game that it wouldn’t be fair to answer one way or the other. Shadow of the Colossus does a great job of using this idea and running with it. I also had a REALLY memorable time with the single player aspect of Splatoon and the final level / boss of the game I felt was really special and just a great way to have the game end. It was the right amount of challenge.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
Today I play a fair amount of pinball (based on which tables I own). I still play Ms. Pacman turbo (favorite arcade title) regularly as I own a cocktail arcade unit of my own. Outside of that I still play newer games on all consoles. I pretty much will play most every genre except for RPGs due to the amount of time they require. I prefer games with a start and end that I can finish in less than 12 hours so that I can enjoy a full story and experience and move on to play other games. I tend to enjoy action / platformers the most as they tend to use twitch reaction style gameplay which fits the feel of playing older arcade games for me at the same time.
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
I still play all types of games today and plan to continue for as long as I can. I have gotten more into pinball over the past 4-5 years and have even started collecting them as well. I stream on Twitch to share my love of games with more people as well. I stream video games on www.twitch.tv/mcsirtuna (my channel) and I stream live pinball on www.twitch.tv/buffalopinball (a partnered channel). My pinball streams caught the eye of buffalo pinball and they collaborated with me to help expand my audience. It’s been a great time to get to share games with people from my own home using the technology and trends of today.
Where do you see Video gaming in the next 20 years?
I hope to see gaming continue to exist of the next 20 years. Hopefully it becomes a medium that allows access to more people to use for storytelling experiences. Games like Firewatch are a great example of being able to offer someone a form of media you can’t get outside of video games. Simple, yet creates a feeling you can’t get otherwise. I hope we can continue to make great and new experiences without letting technology get in the way.
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.