Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Paul Drury, who is displayed on card number 2771, from the Superstars of 2017. Paul has been a writer for Retro Gamer (UK) since 2004. He has interviewed over 150 programmers, designers and artists of games such as Nolan Bushnell, Eugene Jarvis, Warren Davis and Ralph Baer. He also reviews games for his local paper, The Nottingham Post. Paul has bridged the gap between the USA and Europe for Video Game culture. Using his knowledge and talent Paul has paved the way for current writers and enthusiasts across the UK and America.
How early in your life did you know you would be a writer?
Writing is just a lovely sideline for me – I trained to be a teacher after leaving university and have always worked with children and adults with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, teaching in various special schools and colleges and running residential homes for disabled adults. I’m now a Senior Lecturer in Special Educational Needs and Inclusion at Nottingham Trent University. Since 2002, I’ve been writing about videogames both old and new, first in the pages of my local paper the Nottingham Post and then in 2004 I started writing every month for Retro Gamer magazine… and still do both to this day.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a trading card?
A very definite NO. Trading cards aren’t really a ‘thing’ in England though I am very flattered and feel very undeserving to be on a card alongside true British icons like Sir Clive Sinclair and Jeff Minter.
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the trading Card? If so, where?
The series ‘Legendary Gamers of the United Kingdom’ came about after I’d interviewed Walter about his trading cards for Retro Gamer magazine. I commented at the end of the interview that us Brits weren’t much represented so we agreed to change that – I ran a poll for readers of Retro Gamer to vote for their ‘Top British Gaming Icons’ and sent the results to Walter. With a bunch of mates, we wrote the text, sourced the images, I sent over $100 and Walter did the rest. I was shocked and surprised at Free Play Florida 2017 that when Walter revealed the set of cards, he had also produced a card with me on. My mate Tony Temple, Missile Command champ, made that happen. Cheers boys!
When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?
At Funspot in 2006 during the ACAM tournament. He was waving his hands around a lot, like he was trying to fight off an invisible swarm of bees from taking shelter in his beard. I liked him instantly.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Esoteric. The dictionary explains why.
What are your favorite type of books and why?
Novels, if you want a one-word answer. I will never tire of stories.
What are your favorite hobbies today?
It’s been music, football, and videogames since I was 7 and I can’t see it changing anytime soon.
How has your involvement in the writing profession been important to you?
Because it’s not my main job, writing about games has always been an utter pleasure and a fantastic distraction from any stresses in my ‘proper’ job. Plus getting to interview the people who made the games that defined my childhood has been a real honor – Scott Adams, Nolan Bushnell, Ralph Baer, Ed Logg, Matthew Smith, Eugene Jarvis, Howard Scott Warshaw, Warren Davis, Dave Theurer, Al Alcorn… this list could go on for a long time.
What does it take to be a professional writer today?
Persistence, humility and another source of income.
What do you think about electronic books that you can download versus the actual physical hard copy?
What are your favorite books past and present?
My favorite ever book is the marvelous Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry. I listen to a lot of audio books while I’m walking to work these days – in 2017 my highlights were Moby Dick, Tolstoy’s Resurrection and for some light relief, Howard Jacobson’s The Finkler Question – anything he writes is funny.
Who is your favorite celebrity and what makes that person special?
Jeff Minter for keeping true to his heart. And what a big fluffy heart it is.
Did you play Video games growing up and what were some of your favorites?
Of course! My desert island games would be Sheep in Space, Jump Bug, Vib Ribbon, Super Monkey Ball, The Count, Warlords, Pokémon Red and Dancing Stage.
If you can design your own video game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
You’re a bird. Everyone dreams about flying.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games?
I’m privileged to have been born the year before Computer Space came out and been able to watch games go from primitive pixels to the immersive worlds we have today. It’s a medium that is ever improving.
Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
Do you believe inequality, injustice, poverty, prejudice, warmongering and the proliferation of weapons, both government owned and privately held, leads to violence in America today? Let’s talk about it over a beer, eh?
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
Bride of Pinbot, please. A thing of beauty.
What do you see yourself doing in the next 10 years?
Still gaming, watching footy and falling in love with bands. Still holding hands with my wife and making tea for my kids, too
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.