Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Steve Grunberger who is displayed on card number 906, from the Superstars of 2014 Collection. Steve, who lives in Australia, is a passionate gamer who grew up in the early 80s and lived the arcade boom as well as the fall. His real love came when he found a game called Dragon’s Lair. This game changed his whole life. He has one of the largest collectors in the world of Dragon’s Lair items. He is also a collector of arcade games and has 15 machines currently in his home. Steve co-owns Arcade Fever International Magazine which is a free online magazine for gamers. He also is involved in MAME events online and competes regularly.
Who is your favorite arcade game character and what makes that character special?
Dexter from Space Ace (Also Borf), Dirk from Dragon’s Lair. I just connected with them. Space Ace is the reason I believe I now work in IT. Just that ‘future’ aspect from the game. Oh, Discs of Tron was a favorite too. So, Tron.
Do you remember your first arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
The first game I played that really stuck with me was Dragon’s Lair. The graphics and sound blew me away back in 83 when I was 12 years’ old.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video Game Trading card?
Never in a million years. Still shocked by it today. Especially since I live in Australia.
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the Trading Card? If so, where?
Not here in Oz the gaming scene is not like it is in the USA.
When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?
I have not met him in person (yet) but we have spoken on the phone and via Facebook messenger.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Awesome, one of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure to speak to. Can’t wait to meet him and give him a hug. He is the ‘grandfather’ of the gaming scene.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
Hmmm, not too sure on this one. I loved the handheld PC engine (the GT) and the Lynx and even the PSP.
Do you prefer the original Arcade or MAME gaming and why?
Arcade for the originality, MAME if I can’t find a gameboard to use. I do use MAME to test games I might want to buy or if they are rare and so on.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I have a collection of machines that I play. MAME sometimes but I don’t own any current gen machines. I think they don’t have ‘playability’ like the older games. I mean you can complete a game in a day, unlimited lives and save points. Show me that in an old-school game.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of arcade games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
Most games in the arcade are the puzzle and redemption games. While I LOVE Daytona (the first one) and Out Run 2 I am looking forward to the follow ups to them both in 2017.
If you could only have one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
A dedicated Space Ace machines (and I have one) and a Theatre of Magic Pinball (and I ‘will’ have one) Space Ace is my all-time favorite game. Just the fun you have when playing. Plus, the music and the speech (for the time) was great. Theatre of Magic is all about fun too and that’s why I like it.
What does it take to be an Arcade publisher?
Money and an idea. But anything can be done. I made a magazine with my good buddy Todd Lalonde (he is in Canada) I always wanted to make an Arcade magazine and we did (for free too)
How does Arcade music influence games past and present?
Sound is a VERY important part of a game. This is why I like Space Ace over Dragon’s Lair. The sound helps draw you in to the game.
Are arcades aimed mainly at children, adolescents, or adults?
All ages, but some are more aimed at the above target audience.
Do you believe some Arcade games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
No, I like violent video games and movies and I don’t go around killing and the like. It’s a mental state of mind. If you want to be a violent person, then nothing will influence you to do so. You already know. Do you blame water for drowning? Car makers for car accidents? The list goes on. The world is becoming soft and trying to tell people what the can and can’t like.
Do you prefer playing arcade games alone, against friends and why?
Both, I like to go into my home arcade and turn all the games on and just listen. It takes me back to a happy place. With friends, multi-player games are great for this
Which company makes the best arcade games and why?
For me, Atari, and Sega. Games like, Marble Madness, Gauntlet, Outrun, Space Harrier and so on are classics. Capcom is up there for me too.
Do you learn anything from playing arcade games?
Yeah, skill. Hand eye coordination is one thing. Timing. Patience and a lot more. Oh and making ‘good friends’ too.
Are arcade games good for relieving stress?
Not so much the newer gen games, but old school ones for sure. A bad day at work, come home and play a few games and you’re in a good mood (well for me anyway)
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘Arcade?
Fun and more fun and let’s go.
Do you find boss battles to be the best part of an arcade game?
Depends on the game, but yes. That was the reason to play some games. To always reach the end.
What is your favorite arcade game of all time?
Space Ace and Environmental Discs of Tron are my two favorites.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
No idea. As I like a lot of different genres I have no clue. But be most likely a driving game like Daytona/Outrun/Super Sprint.
Where do you see Arcade games in the next 20 years?
All in my collection (lol) but I don’t know. I hope they continue to make them, I hope the older ones still work. Barcades and home collections is bigger now than it ever was.
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