Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Neil Hernandez who is displayed on card number 2316, from the Superstars of 2015 Collection.  Neil is a masterful arcade technician who has come to the rescue for numerous arcades across the country.  His skills are praised by some of the biggest arcade owners around.  Based in Florida, Neil has a passion for collecting the arcade machines that have become historical in the gaming community.   His passion of gaming goes beyond fixing arcades as Neil holds arcade world records on such games as Crius’n USA and Off-Road Challenge.  He has many goals, but one is to break the Galaga – Fast Shot arcade record.  If you look hard during Billy Mitchell arcade streams, you may see Neil pop up and chat with the online gamers.

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

The games that I play today are typically arcades that resides in my home. Donkey Kong, Galaga, Ms. Pac-man, Monaco GP, Neo-Geo & Track & field. My favorite genre… fighting games. Mark of the wolves and King of Fighters 2002 are up on my list.

When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at? 

I met Walter Day in Freeplay Florida November 23, 2014. We’ve been friends ever since.

If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why? 

The word I would describe Walter as would be “Humble”. Just his personality has always been that since I’ve met him. I’ve never seen him change from that stance of character.

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

The 1st console I played on was an Atari 2600 my family had at the house. I have a vivid memory playing Berzerk, Defender & Yars’ Revenge for countless hours. I was approximately 3 years old.

The 1st arcade machine I played I can clearly say it was Donkey Kong at an arcade my grandfather took me to named “Fun-o-Rama” in Mall of America in Miami. I was small so my grandfather had to lift me up in order for me to play with the controllers. It’s a memory I cherish a lot.

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

Single player game. Super Mario World for the SNES. It was fun, had different options to get to the end, you could play it different ways and still not get bored of it.

Multiplayer game. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the Arcade game. What a better feeling to play that game with all of your friends just bashing the buttons.

What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? 

I noticed a lot of new generation games copy off retro titles from the golden era or from the 90’s. There hasn’t been a game that stands out that I would like to play yet.

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

Not in a million years. A cool dream come true.

Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the Trading Card?  If so, where?

Nope, no media coverage. Looks like no one cared for Off-Road Challenge and Cruis’n USA.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why? 

The SupaBoy is my favorite. I actually get to take my SNES cartridges with me traveling and keeps me entertained on the airplane

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why? 

Console gaming all the way. I need a controller to handle driving games. I can’t seem to steer and accelerate with a keyboard.

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

It would be a pinball. Specifically, Adams family. It’s just a classic fun game that I’ve always wanted as a kid.

Which consoles are your favorite and why?  

SNES & N64. Both of the systems had great graphics for the times. The library of games for these systems will keep you busy for countless hours

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

Depending on the game they are aimed to different groups. Grand Theft Auto as an example is for teenagers/ adults.  Lego batman on the Wii was for the younger children.

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

I played pong as a child for countless hours on the Atari 2600. I have yet to walk into an office and start throwing tennis balls randomly at people for no reason. I don’t believe today’s games lead to violence.

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

I prefer with friends is always better. There’s no better feeling than kicking your friends butt in Street fighter, King of Fighters, Mortal Kombat.

Which company makes the best games and why?

I think I would say Rare. They made countless fun titles. They are so memorable. Everything from the controlling of the character to the music to the graphics. They always did a great job with their titles.

Are video games good for relieving stress? 

I relieve stress every day by playing on my arcade games. Bashing buttons is always good.

Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from the video game? 

I wish they could put more effort into the storyline & actually doing a better job representing the game than what they’ve done in the past. They seem to all be big Misses except for Wreck-It Ralph.

Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?

I’d probably have to say Super Mario. As I grew older a lot of people started telling me that I look just like Super Mario. It’s always cool to receive a compliment like that. I never thought I would be dressed up as Super Mario on Billy Mitchell’s twitch stream… but yet here we are.

What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘Video Games’?

The first thing that comes to mind is an escape from reality. A stress reliever of sorts.

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

They are all important. All of those elements make what a memorable video game. If you’re missing one, the game will never be able to compete with the rest of the Memorable titles.

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

Yes of course, if you’re playing consecutively for eight hours trying to figure out a maze, trying to get to the end of the level, fighting the boss is simply knowing your pain and torture of 8 hours could possibly be over… If you beat it.

If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?

If I could make my own game, it would probably be a driving game. Maybe something in regards of driving / racing to work trying to beat the traffic / beat the clock. If I had to pick a main character, I’d probably be myself no particular reason.

What does it take to be a Video Game Journalist?

Be persistent & never give up. Just like you. You’ve probably sent me a good 10 emails, and finally I responded. As I’m typing this, I have a smile on my face.

Do you learn anything from playing video games? 

Yes of course, The princess is always in another castle. So, don’t get your hopes up.

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

I am still involved with gaming today. My actual job is an Arcade technician. I service / work with four locations throughout the state of Florida.

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

No clue, but I hope people still call arcade technicians to repair the old games.

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.

Todd Friedman Todd Friedman (402 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.