Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Phil Day who is displayed on card number 124, from the Superstars of 2011 Collection.  Phil is one of the best Galaga players in the world.  From the land down under, Phil resides from Australia and is an avid gamer, author and documentarian.   In 2009, Phil captured the Galaga world title in the “5-Man only” Tournament settings.   Phil is in the process of creating a documentary called “Bonus Life: Extended Play” which is still in production.  Phil has also written a graphic novel called “The Short lived life of a Galaga Pilot” which has not yet been released to the public.  Phil is currently has the 2nd highest recorded score in Galaga with 3,275,720.

Do you learn anything from playing video games?

Some people learn how to play the game better. While others discover something about themselves. After getting the Galaga WR I had no desire to try for another WR. I feel it is best to do these things once. Whereas many other classic arcade champs have a want to regain their WRs – I think this is a mistake. Rarely is anything as much fun the second time.

Which company makes the best games and why?

Williams. Their golden age of video games – Defender, Joust and Robotron – had the right amount of learning curve and play (and they made pinballs).

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

I sold my Galaga machine after getting the WR. I don’t own a console, and I have no games on my computer. I only ever play games when I visit a friend. Today’s game are much more varied, some are very like arcade games (Flappy Bird), but then there’s Pokémon Go, which has a behavior of play unlike any other video game.

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

I first met Walter in Ottumwa, Iowa. It was 2010, the year of the Big Bang. I was living in Toronto at the time; he invited me down for the event.

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


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

No. But Fitzroy’s hippest café (in Melbourne) – The black Cat – has a Galaga machine with the trading card slipped under the glass.

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?

When I do play games (which is rare), I quite like the social ‘bean-bag’ culture of console games

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

I haven’t really played any games since getting the Galaga WR. But I do like any game that is a skill tester.

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

I bought a Robotron circuit board when I was living in NY. I’d like to fit it into a cabinet one day. I genuinely believe it is the greatest arcade game ever. A master piece of gaming.

Growing up were you team Sega or Nintendo and why?

Nintendo because of Super Mario World!

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

Space Invaders was the first game I saw. I watched my older brother and his friend play it. It was a bewildering experience. I remember the illustrated decals, the fuzzy monster ‘invaders’ and sci fi space ships, floating over a lunar landscape. I could see all that on the screen being played out in animate illuminate battle. I guess I didn’t see it so much as a game, but as an extension of TV – a TV program you were transported into.

What does it take to be a Video Game Journalist?

I think gamers are very passionate about their games, which means they have a huge blind spot. Game Journalist can’t afford to have that problem. They need to remain critical.  The Nintendo Nerd was very good at this, so is the ABC TV (Australia) program Good Game.

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

I’d imagine both – but usually independently

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

I think many video games trivialize historic violent events, but I don’t believe they lead to violence.  I think violence and video games is a USA concern which is more to do with gun ownership than video games.

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

With friends. I prefer games to be a social activity.

Are video games good for relieving stress?

Provided you play them for fun, like most things.

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

I’m yet to see an interesting film from a video game. Maybe Hollywood is picking the wrong games, I don’t know. But some games certainly offer the material for a film – Halo for one.

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

Evil Otto (from Berzerk). He is a pixel tragedy/comedy. The final say in the emoji world.

What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘video games’?

A piece of my child hood: Galaga, 1942, Dragon’s Lair, Rygar, Jackal, BMX bikes, 20 cent pieces. Potato scallops. That sort of thing.

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

Single player:  Robotron

Multiplayer:  Jackal

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

Not sure. I think NetHack has never received the attention it deserves. Perhaps a game somewhat similar to that.

Of these five elements video games, which is the most important to you and why?

I think a feeling of weight in the game – a sense of physics. When a character jumps, or a projectile is fired, it needs to ‘feel’ like he character is pushing away from the ground and then falling back to it, and the projectile needs to ‘feel’ like a hit or miss.

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

Bosses are tedious. Galaga had the right idea – two shots and the big guys are down.

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

I enjoy witnessing gaming change and grow. Michael Sroka and I started making a documentary film about the social history of video games in 2010. We filmed all over the place: Berlin, Cuba, NY, Paris, and many more locations. And interviewed various gamers, including Nolan Bushnell. We hope to finish it one day.

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

At a guess – soon a computer will pass the Turing Test, and this will allow enemies in games to behave like the player.

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 (386 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.