Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Todd Rogers, who is displayed on card number 100, from the Superstars of 2011.  Also Todd can be found on card numbers 356, 397, 521, 551, 660, 1763, 1869, 2049, 2135 and 2516.  The Video Games first “Pro Gamer”, Todd has represented over 40 major software companies in his career.    Todd was inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame in 2010.    You can see Todd in various documentaries such as Chasing Ghosts, The King of Arcades and The King of Kong.  Todd holds over 300 world records on such games as Gorf, Dragster and Journey Escape.

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

The first memory that I have of a video game would have to be Pong (1972), and one of the first arcade game that I played would be Datsun 280 Zzzap (1976) what I remember about Pong was the idea of a game being played on your home TV and what an amazing experience that was as far as Datsun 280 Zzzap was the whole competitive side of that game as there were lines of people waiting to play to see who was the best.

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

The games of today offer more flash and less substance. It seems that the games of today have lost a lot of their imagination and thrill to play them and when cheat codes started to be programmed into these games the challenge factor was somewhat lost. Games of yesterday were programmed to lure you in and excite you with the idea of being new all the way around and fresh out of the box so to speak.

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

Never, as there were no such things presented back then. I was stunned when I was mentioned in a book and in newsletters, I could only imagine what I would have thought if I was to be placed on a trading card back then.

How many gaming teams have you been on throughout the years and what is your greatest achievement in gaming?

I’ve represented two video gaming teams in my entire life. The first was in 1986 with the U.S.National Video Game Team. I’m now a part of the legends roster with so many others as a commemoration towards my contribution to the whole competitive gaming scene, which we now call eSports. The other team is Empire Arcadia and I joined it back in 2008. I’m still active and a part of the team now.  My greatest achievement is being able to give back to the gaming community with all the charity work that we gamers do so often. This is not to undermine other achievements that I have but I believe that the significance of helping others is a far greater achievement than receiving;  However if you want to look at what I’ve received in achievements, then that would be what I have contributed in shaping the world of competitive gaming as it were then to now. We all contribute to the development of the scene and I’m just glad that I had the opportunity to throw my stones into the lake and help build the bridge that lead us to the way competitive gaming is now.  My life time gaming achievement will always the setting of my Guinness World Record “Man vs. Machine” which has stood for over 33 years and coming this September it will be 34 years and going. Guinness World Record commemorated the Man vs. Machine record with “The Longest Standing Video gaming Score” record.  It is a testament to my involvement in competitive gaming throughout the ages.

1982 WXYZ: EMP Todd Rogers on channel 7 Detroit

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

Game Play & Atmosphere because the Game Play has to be good to captivate your attention and the Atmosphere to keep you in the ambiance of the whole sensation that you’ll remember.

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

My favorite single player game would be – Robotron 2084, and my favorite multiplayer game would be – Conquer Online 2.0.

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

I’ve already started working on my own game, I ran into some programming issues back in 2003 and because of life’s obstacles it just fell by the way side. However to expound on that idea, the game was called “Delerium” and it would have been a newer and harder version of the classic arcade game Berzerk.

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

Entertainment through technology.

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

Yes several media sources in different states at the many gaming events that I’ve attended have interviewed me for appearing on multiple trading cards.

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

Yes I am still currently actively involved with competitive gaming scene and also the role that I Play is as a (mentor and consultant) in the competitive gaming team Empire Arcadia.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

I suppose an Android & Apple mobile phones for the portable apps because they are so convenient when you are on the move.

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?

I don’t think I have any preference between the two, although most of my records and background was primarily on Console, the PC’s offer a nice change to the static console way of gaming.

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

No not really but they do add an element of excitement and challenge to a game.

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

I play PC games such as the Facebook apps, online gaming such as Wizard101, Conquer Online and League of Legends…..as far as my favorite genre of gaming that would have to be racing.

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

Well let’s see I own 5 arcade games but the one game I really wished I could own would be Centaur Pinball game by Bally…simply because it is my most favorite pinball game to play, as it offers multi-ball in its play field.

Growing up were you team Sega or Nintendo and why?

God, it’s a very difficult decision to make since I’ve worked for both companies at various times in my life. What I can say is that I thought that the Sega’s graphics were better but Nintendo had the more variety of games to play.

What does it take to be a Video Game Journalist?

It takes a good knowledge base of game play of the games that you are reviewing. Not only has that but a journalist needed to have a neutral point of view to give the proper sides of what they are trying to convey to its reading public. Also most gaming companies relied on the reviews of their brands to be properly represented in which ever magazine that it was printed in.

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

I think these days they are aimed at all walks of life and all ages, simply because if the variety of games that are available, it’s not just one grouping of people anymore like it was years ago.

Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
I think most games have a bit of violence; it is how one perceives what is violent and what is not. A game cannot make someone kill another person; it is the person who decides his emotional reactions and what to do. I think people in America today are just use to getting things handed to them and have forgotten what it is like to work for something and to earn it. It is not the video games that is and has corrupted America it is the lack of obedience and upbringing that has led to violence in America these days

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

Depends on my mood, sometimes I prefer to play alone as not to engage in an argument about who is better or not and then I also embrace the social aspect of competitive gaming with friends or others around the world, I think each has it’s on finite elements of enjoyment.

Which company makes the best games and why?

Firstly the best games are in the eye of the beholder. What I think might be the best is not what other may think as being the best. I believe that the companies that have been in business for years have the advantage because they listen to the public to what they want otherwise they wouldn’t be in business for long. I also believe that it is the gaming public who shapes the direction of the way gaming is going and what they want to play and the depth of a game and its game play. So in short I believe the companies that listen to the gamers would make the best games.

Do you learn anything from playing video games?

I think the best thing that I’ve learned from playing video games was patience. I didn’t have much of that when i was younger.

Are video games good for relieving stress?

Absolutely, where hence the Wii-U, it offers an alternative to going to the gym in a minimal way because of its interactivity that the gamers have to rely on for the game play. Look at Carrie Swidecki, have you seen how much weight she has lost playing Just Dance for the Wii U? Exercise helps relieve stress and lose weight at the same time and the Guinness World Records she got from that has boosted her confidence so there is no question in my mind that video game aren’t good for relieving stress.

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

I am neutral about my feelings toward movies from video games. Hollywood has their own spin on what they create. It sometimes can be good and sometimes can be a disaster. The whole creativity aspect all depends on the producers and directors on what kind of a movie that you will end up with.

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

Alvin Atombender, ever since the first time I heard that game speak on the C-64 on the game called Impossible Mission.

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

Well I have always envisioned video games to always evolve on multiple fronts. From a technology stand point, I saw a holographic game back in the early 80’s that didn’t seem to go anywhere only because I do not think people were ready for that….but in the next 20 years I see gaming being something like the holo-deck on Star Trek. I mean they already have virtual gaming so why not bring it to the household so the masses can play or to live out life like simulations that they normally wouldn’t be able to do in real life like people with disabilities being able to climb Mt Everest. …think of the possibilities the future holds for us.
From an entertainment point of view I always knew that video games were going to go the route of sports. The natural competitive element of video games is just too rich for it not to be cultivated into some sort of sport. I knew this back in the early 70’s. I took that initiative to play games competitively because I wanted to be ready for the age when video games would have an infrastructure that would turn the competitive aspect of gaming into a sport. When I heard about what Walter created in Twin Galaxies, automatically I thought in my mind, “The first infrastructure has been created; now we have a foundation to expand on.”  It was only a matter of time before it would get to the level you see sports today. So far, a lot has happen between 1981 and 2016. We’ve come a long way but we still have a long way to go but we can’t deny the progress eSports has made over three decades. I’m just glad that I can say I was there in the beginning and am still here to see it evolve to the next level through Empire Arcadia.

Todd Rogers

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.