Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Niklas Nylund who works for the Finnish Museum of Games, displayed on card number 2723, from the Twin Galaxies Superstars Collection of 2017. As part of a fundraiser in 2015, this history of Finland gaming is located in Tampere, Finland. Opened in January of 2017, the vision of having the history of gaming in Finland came true. As the Museum curator, Niklas tries to collect and preserve the history of gaming and keep it fresh for people to visit and remember. You can find additional info on the Museum in English at vapriikki.fi/en/pelimuseo/. When Niklas has some time to spare he will play video games to keep himself busy.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
There are many more types of games to choose from nowadays. I especially enjoy the proliferation of indie games, since they seem to focus more on gameplay than on the graphics and production values. Still, there is a time and space for all kinds of games, everything from AAA game titles with great production values to informal mobile games played on the way to and from work.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would have a Video Game Museum on a trading card?
Well, I didn’t have any sort of clue what a trading card is before well in my teens. I wasn’t really into collecting, so the trading card “buzz” didn’t concern me that much. So, no, I didn’t really think our museum would end up on a card. Still, it is truly an honor to be part of the Walter Day Collection!
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the Trading Card? If so, where?
The card for the Finnish Museum of Games is seen as very interesting and a huge honor by the community that has formed around the museum. But, the museum hasn’t had any actual media coverage from appearing on the card. At least until now, that is!
When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?
I had the pleasure of meeting Walter Day at Worldcon 2017 in Helsinki, Finland.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
I would describe Walter as a gentle and serene man, since he takes his fellow human beings into consideration and is concerned for their wellbeing.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
The first video game I played was a Pong clone at my aunt’s summer house in the early 80s. I must have been four or five, and truly taken by the game, although my memories are a bit vague.
The second video game I played came a year or two later, and I remember it much better. It was Wizard of Wor on a Commodore 64 at my second cousins’ house in rural Finland. I remember it being winter and very dark outside. The excitement and screaming of us half a dozen little kids crowded into a little room upstairs was a strange contrast to the serene winter night. I also remember being mesmerized by the sounds and graphics of the game, since I’d never seen anything like it. Truly an amazing game and even better as an arcade version!
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
The Nintendo Game Boy was quite an achievement back in the day and I have fond memories of playing Tetris on it, for example. I have also enjoyed more current portable devices from Nintendo.
Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?
Nowadays I play more on the PC, since it has a better supply of indie games. Still, some games are best enjoyed on a console, especially retro titles.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I play quite a lot of tabletop roleplaying games, but also enjoy a great deal of indie titles on the PC, retro games on various consoles, and different kinds of social games over the internet.
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
I would like own either Wizard of Wor by Midway or Bubble Bobble by Taito, since those are games that can provide a challenge even after hundreds of games. I also have very fond memories of both!
Which console company is your favorite and why? Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or Microsoft?
The answer is Nintendo, since they seem to be able to re-invent gaming in different decades.
What does it take to be a Video Game Journalist?
I hope game journalists would adopt a more critical stance, for example by contextualizing new titles in various ways. It would be really interesting if game journalists covered historical changes of video games or analyzed video games in a historical light.
How does video game music influence games past and present?
Game companies are focusing more energy on game music. Music is becoming more and more cinematic in big production games and it already does influence the flow of gameplay.
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
There are many different kinds of games and almost any demographic group can nowadays find games tailored especially for them.
Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
It’s a very controversial issue, but I would go with the research that indicates the opposite. Still, we have to remember that for some individuals playing violent games can lead to antisocial behavior. All in all, the connection between violence in games and violence in real life is very complicated.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
I do enjoy the occasional strategic game by myself, but gaming is nowadays a very social experience for me. I enjoy meeting friends over games, talking about tactics and going through all kinds of stuff while gaming.
Which company makes the best games and why?
There are so many excellent game companies nowadays that I would be hard pressed to make a choice. Let’s just say I enjoy indie games the most!
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Absolutely, at least if the game isn’t frustratingly hard!
Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from the video game?
It doesn’t really concern me that much, but a first-rate tie in to a good blockbuster movie can deepen the movie watching experience.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
I would say I like the green dragon Bub from Bubble Bobble the most!
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘video games’?
As a museum professional, I mostly associate the term with cultural heritage nowadays.
Of these five elements video games, which is the most important to you and why? Gameplay, Atmosphere, Music, Story, Art style
What is your favorite singe player game and favorite multiplayer game?
My favorite single player game is probably the Civilization franchise. My favorite multiplayer game is Dungeons & Dragons the tabletop game.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
Hmm, I would be interested in designing a cross-genre game, which would combine elements from different games and genres. It would most definitely focus on time travel or finding a new world!
Do you learn anything from playing video games?
Games are an excellent way to learn many skills, anything from exercising reflexes and cognitive abilities to very demanding social and organizing skills that are required in running a successful MMO clan, for example. And of course, educational games are becoming more and more important.
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
I work as a museum curator of game culture, so they are a big part of my professional life. In my spare time, I like to play many different kinds of games.
Where do you see Video gaming in the next 20 years?
Video games are becoming more and more intertwined with life in general, so I’m quite sure we will see numerous games tailored for education or work. People will play more and more, but the difference between leisure and work will probably become vaguer. I suppose communities forming around games will have an even bigger effect on our society, so we could very well end up in a thoroughly gamified world!
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.