Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Zachary Hendrix who currently is displayed on card number 3067, from the Superstars of 2019 Collection. Zachary is a true Nintendo Champion. He placed first in 2010 Wii Games Summer National Championships. Zach has a few world records, and in competitive games like Injustice mobile he has reached top 100 on the season leaderboards many times. In the 2017 Nintendo World Championship, Zach got a 42 overall score. Zach’s dream is to ‘voice’ a game for Nintendo and to be an E-Sports commentator for a major network. From his company, Zach Hendrix Voice Over, he also gets to follow his dream of providing motion-capture work for movies and games. Follow Zach on his YouTube page, click here.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
I would design a 2D fighter. It would be a completely different type of fighter, you would control your character’s limbs individually, and you would have to switch between using the limbs for offense or defense. There would also be two health bars for each character, I can’t go into more details because it’s something I’ve been working on for a while, and I would love to bring it to life someday.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
I actually don’t. When I was born in 1994, we already had an NES, an SNES, and a Sega Genesis. I was probably playing them before I could speak. I don’t really remember playing the Sega Genesis much, but my earliest gaming memories are playing the three Mario Bros games and Duck Hunt on the NES, and lots of Super Mario World, Kirby’s Dream Course, and Super Godzilla on the SNES. I have no memory of being introduced to those games and learning how to play them, I just remember playing them daily, so I had to be pretty young when I first started.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
My favorite video game character is Sora, from the Kingdom Hearts series. Kingdom Hearts had an instrumental role in me becoming the gamer that I am. Kingdom Hearts came out right after I turned 8 years old, and it was the first true RPG that I think I ever played. I’m the type of person who goes all in on everything I do and doesn’t do anything without being completely invested in it. So, all the other games I played had enough story for me to be invested and happy. “I got to save Peach and stop Bowser? Let’s do it.” “I got to fight all these dudes because it’s a fight tournament? That’s all I need, I’m in!” With my investment level, and imagination, simple premises were enough for me to have the time of my life and feel like the game worlds were larger than life. But Kingdom Hearts had a story that was big before I added my imagination to the mix. There were cutscenes with drama, and actual voice acting. The game didn’t just take over my life because of the story, but the collectibles, and secret bosses, and high difficulty modes. I was a completionist before I ever heard the term. Kingdom Hearts was a game that allowed little 8-year-old me to be invested like no game before. Sora will always be my favorite game character, because of that, and I really hope he gets into Smash.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
I absolutely love the direction that games have gone. I think modern games, at least single player ones, are sorely missing the difficulty. Comparing them to classic games is so interesting, because we have so many new buttons and gameplay mechanics, games have gotten more complicated for sure; but while they are more complex than they used to be, I feel that they are easier as a whole if that makes sense.
I always find it funny that Nintendo has this stigma nowadays for having cute, simple, child-friendly games, while back in the day, the term “Nintendo Hard” existed to describe the most difficult a game could be.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
Absolutely not. I didn’t even know something like this existed, until I met Walter after a Nintendo Champions panel, I was on at a convention. I knew who Walter was, but I didn’t know about the trading cards. I still think it’s the coolest thing ever.
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the trading card? If so, where?
I haven’t received media coverage for being on the card, but I am on the card partially because of the media coverage that I’ve received. I showed Walter the issue of Nintendo Power and USA Today that I was in and he said, “We got to get you on a card.”
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
I met Walter in April 2018 at the Midwest Gaming Classic.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Iconic. He has done so much for gaming, and his branding is on point. The man is larger than life, and an absolute legend. Also, he’s a super nice guy which is more important than all of that other stuff.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
I absolutely love my Switch. I’ve gotten so much mileage out of it, and probably play 50/50 between docked and on the go. However, I’ve just been accepted into Microsoft’s game streaming program, and turning my phone into a full-fledged game system has been amazing so far.
Do you prefer PC or console gaming and why?
I’m indifferent. Right now, I, maybe, lean towards console a little more, because I have more friend’s playing the games I play on them, but if they moved more to PC, so would I. However, whenever a game that I want is available on the Switch and other platforms, I will always pick it up on the Switch over the others; the portability will (almost) always be the deciding factor for me.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I’m big into all games. But I firmly believe that there will be a Nintendo World Championships 30th anniversary competition, and so I’m dedicating most of my game time towards Nintendo games this year. I don’t think I have a favorite type of game, if I like a game, I like that game, and I like most games. I always love playing Spider-Man games.
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
I would have to have the Nintendo VS system. As a major Nintendo fan, it just holds a super special place in my heart, and owning one would be absolutely legendary!
Which console company is your favorite and why? Nintendo, Sony, Sega or Microsoft?
Nintendo. I love all of them, and have all current gen game consoles, along with doing some pc gaming, but my best gaming memories are all with Nintendo. After all, Sony or Microsoft didn’t fly me across the country to compete in a real Video Armageddon, and then give me a golden controller for a trophy, all at the ripe age of 16. Nintendo will always be my favorite.
What does it take to be a video game journalist?
Honestly, not much anymore other than the desire to do it, and actually put the work in. There are more websites to write for every day, and more access to news and information than ever. The opportunity is there for anybody who wants to give it a shot. Of course, proper grammar is helpful too.
How does video game music influence games past and present?
In an extremely heavy way. Music can leave a much heavier impression than a logo, and because of that, a game’s soundtrack is not just important for setting the mood, but for helping a game be memorable.
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
Nowadays I think it is pretty equal, and that’s something that I love. No matter who you are, there’s a game out there that you can enjoy.
Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
Absolutely not. Every major study conducted have proven, time and time again, that there is no correlation. However, I will say for the future, one thing that worries me, is how realistic games are becoming. Even the games with the best graphics have a way to go before passing the uncanny valley, but one day when they do become indistinguishable from reality, the impact that they may have on people with developing brains does concern me. But games do have ratings for a reason, so even then, if parents are smart, I think we’ll be fine.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
I have no preference, it depends on my mood more than anything else.
Which company makes the best games and why?
Nintendo. They have been lagging behind in the power department for a long time but manage to stay relevant due to pushing the envelope, and consistently producing crazy good games. Also, while these are people and not companies, I think Hideo Kojima and Shigeru Miyamoto could very well be the greatest game makers of all time.
Do you learn anything from playing video games?
I try to learn from every experience in my life, even the little ones like playing video games.
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Yes. Even when the game itself is a stressful experience, it somehow manages to relax me over all. It just is a nice time playing games no matter what, even if I’m getting owned, and want to rage, it’s not like real world rage, it’s a competitive thing, and I enjoy the whole experience.
Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from the video game?
I like it when Hollywood makes a good movie about video games. So thankfully people who grew up playing these games are getting to the age where they are the ones making movies, because more and more we are seeing actual good video game moves. Congrats Sonic on just having the biggest opening week!!
Of these five elements video games, which is the most important to you and why? Gameplay, Atmosphere, Music, Story or Art style
I think Gameplay and Story are equally important, because they are the only ones that can carry a game on their own. While I like the gameplay of Kingdom Hearts, even if you completely changed how it plays it’d still be one of my all-time favorites because I love the story so much. Where on the flip side you have a game like Breath of the Wild with one of the barest bone’s stories ever, but because of the gameplay I believe it is uncontested as the greatest game of all time.
Do you find boss battles to be the best part of a video game?
It depends on the game. I think Boss Battles should always, at the very least, be some of the highlights of the game.
What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer game?
My favorite single player game is series is Kingdom Hearts, as of right now Kingdom Hearts 2 is sitting at the top for me. My favorite multiplayer game right now is probably Destiny 2, followed super closely by Smash Bros Ultimate. Honorable mentions to the multiplayer mode in the Nintendo 64s Kirby and the Crystals Shards, that was the go-to multiplayer of my childhood.
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
I run a pop-culture / entertainment (gaming, movies, tv shows, comics) YouTube channel with one of my best friends. While the gaming isn’t exclusively Nintendo, it is very Nintendo-centric, and we have over 10,500 subscribers. (You can subscribe here). I go to every Nintendo event, whether that be tournaments or marketing events, whenever one pops up, to the point where the event staff already know me from years of seeing each other. I’ll be attending my second E3 this year. I also am hoping to become a Nintendo brand ambassador soon as well, so fingers crossed.
Where do you see video gaming in the next 20 years?
I don’t know. Hopefully full of my voice, because without gaming I would never have become a full time voice actor, so I’d love to actually be in tons of games over the next 20 year.
Seriously though, with the rise in computing power, and augmented/virtual reality probably being perfected by then, I have no clue what the future holds, but I’m super excited for it. My one major fear is that game consoles will disappear completely.
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.