Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Mitch Meerman, who is displayed on card number 1587 from the Superstars of 2014 Collection.   An avid arcade player at Star Worlds Arcade in DeKalb, IL, Mitch is a true contender at the arcade games such as Avalanche and Nibbler.  He also competed on the portable stage with the Nintendo DS and Gameboy Color.  Another favorite game Mitch has been played in the past is Pokémon.   Mitch is a big collector of the Walter Day collection trading cards and can be seen at events getting autographs for his collection.   In 2011, Mitchell held a fundraiser for the International Video Game Hall of Fame by streaming some of his portable games online.

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

I’m currently focused on Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64. In addition to being the #3 ranked player in Wisconsin, I also essentially run the scene there and communicate with all of the other community leaders throughout North America. I also am a tournament organizer for a number of events, most notably for the Smash’N’Splash tournament series.  I also intend to return to arcade gaming at some point, as well as become a speedrunner. In any case, I don’t intend on quitting video gaming any time soon.

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

The first games I can remember playing were things like Chip’s Challenge, Hover! and other Windows 95-era games. I don’t recall playing on any arcade machines as a kid, but I did play Donkey Kong 64’s version of DK Arcade, which is very similar to the Japanese arcade version.  As for comparing the two, I feel that modern games are much longer and more forgiving than retro games. When I do play older games, I tend to play them much more in quick bursts.

Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video Game Trading card?

When I was younger, I wanted to be a professional baseball player and collected baseball cards. I would’ve thought that I’d actually end up on one of those instead!

Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?

No. I think that’s just a convenient excuse. Parents would much rather think that the “bad games” are the reason for their kids being bad and not for their own poor parenting.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

I get a lot of mileage out of my 3DS. I recently purchased the New 3DS and kept my old one around as a Streetpass machine. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to use the Switch as well.

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?

I somewhat prefer console gaming. For most games, I play, a controller is a superior control scheme. Not having to worry about connecting and configuring a controller is nice, and even when I can, I’m not really a fan of the controller I have (Xbox 360).

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

As I mentioned above, I’m currently heavily involved in the Super Smash Bros. (N64) community. Lately I’ve also been playing Pokémon Trading Card Game Online (PC), Mario’s Picross (GB), and Pokémon Art Academy (3DS).

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

Probably a Donkey Kong machine. It would give me reason to actually train towards achieving the kill screen, and it’s a game that guests would be able to play too.

How does video game music influence games past and present?

I think good music can add to a game and contribute to nostalgia, like how music by Grant Kirkhope still evokes the Banjo-Kazooie games, or Koji Kondo with The Legend of Zelda. However, I don’t think that there are really any ways that bad or even mediocre music influences games.

Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?

Games in general are things that anyone can enjoy. My grandpa was playing Tetris for NES until his hands couldn’t handle it anymore, and I know people who get their kids started on gaming when they’re just toddlers. And I’ve been playing them the majority of my life.

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

I think it depends on the game and my mood. If I want to just game by myself, then I can play alone. If I’m playing a game like Super Smash Bros., I’d try to play against people in person.

Are video games good for relieving stress?

Some are. It also depends on how you treat the game. For me, a competitive game would never be relaxing; in fact, I get most of my stress nowadays from Smash. Puzzle games are very relaxing. I doubt most people would find puzzle games relaxing!

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

Gameplay. If a game controls poorly, it usually isn’t worth playing, no matter how good the other things are.

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

Not necessarily. Some of my favorite games don’t even have boss battles, such as the Ace Attorney series.

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

I’m a fan of many current games, especially Nintendo games, though I regularly play games from all video game generations. I own systems from the NES to the Wii U, and the Game Gear to the 3DS. I’m planning on purchasing a Nintendo Switch on its release.

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

Favorite Single Player Game: Donkey Kong 64

Favorite Multiplayer Game: Super Smash Bros.

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 Star Fox game that used the Wii Remote like a joystick, so that you could control the Arwing like a real plane. It’s a shame Nintendo didn’t take advantage of that while they could.

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

I think that VR will become dominant, though I don’t think it will truly catch on until there is a wireless solution.

Todd Friedman Todd Friedman (391 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.