Our next Trading Card Spotlight features “ZapCristal” Cristal Laboy, who is displayed on card number 3968, from the Superstars of 2021 Collection.  Cristal is host of her own YouTube Channel with over 6,000 subscribers and counting. Her passion for video games is refreshing and her goal to show female presence in the gaming community is important to Cristal. By creating a safe environment for the gamers on her channel, it motivates her to be a spokesperson for all ages of gamers.

When did you begin your YouTube channel and what inspired you to do so?

I started YouTube 6 years ago and it was with the goal of creating more family friendly content, in which I would involve my entire family in the video creation itself. At first it was more entertainment geared, later on it went into a more educational phase, in which I was homeschooling my son and then we entered into a major rebranding phase. That is how it ended up being a gaming/journalism channel.

What is your favorite YouTube episode you have done so far, and what makes it special?

Well, I might break the rules here, but I actually have 2 favorite episodes. One is titled: “Doing Retro Collection Tour The Right Way” This one was all about breaking stereotypes when it comes to what makes you a collector and about how size doesn’t always matter because at the end of the day, it’s more about the story it tells about you and what you are into. My 2nd favorite episode is titled: “Arcade1up/ULTIMATE ROOM TOUR Of 2021!!” This is a very special project that I started in my own home and how to bring that arcade ambience into our personal spaces. It was a great experience and currently still under construction, so stay tuned for it.

What other topics for your channel are you interested in and what would you like to see more of?

I love to bring more female representation to my channel to help define more how retro gaming once started to how it is seen in modern age. I love to bring educational topics to my channel that are hard to tackle while adding the entertainment factor into it.

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

Yes, I do actually, it all started off with obviously Super Mario Bros and Ms. Pacman. I grew up in a family of gamers, so gaming was a big deal for us as we assimilate it with good family quality time.

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

I think that every era has something special to offer overall to the history of gaming that is still relatively young (to be exact, around 50yrs or so) It wouldn’t be fair to compare it to classic games due to when gaming was born into existence, techs and developers were still learning how to even make games playable. Nowadays with a structure finally being put in place, developers can focus now more on creating more immersive, story driven and even impactful games. I’ve been thrilled by seeing the evolution of companies and video games while seeing how different eras respond to the same.

Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?

Never in my life hahaha, I always was a big fan of baseball cards back in the day and found it inspiring to see people who I identified with on these cards. It was a special and personal item for me. I’m glad to see how much of an impact I can make upon people’s lives and how I can make someone’s day a little bit better. Happiness is everything for me, especially when I’m doing something that I love.

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

Special because it is paving a road to preserve and honor those who, no matter how big or small their communities might be; are leaving a legacy for future generations to enjoy.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

I would have to go with the Nintendo Switch. It is a perfect hybrid between playing games you love while on the go. There’s a great library of games that till this day, I’m impressed with being able to play these in handheld mode.

Do you prefer arcade or console gaming and why?

I would say both cause each one has their own place in the videogame world. Arcades for me is a time where I can play with family and friends while not taking it too seriously because my focus would not be entirely on the game. Meanwhile, console gaming for me is more of a time where I can relax and play on my own. So, it is a perfect balance between both.

Which console company is your favorite and why?  Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or Microsoft?

Both Nintendo and Microsoft have been my favorite because they are not afraid to experiment while trying to make it a goal of offering a unique experience to their consumers. Nintendo has demonstrated this through their console designs and established first party games while Microsoft embraces the crossover between pc and console gamers and offers excellent services such as gamepass, online competitive gaming and 2nd party exclusives.

Both of them greatly support indie developers and even invest in minor studios, to give them a place to shine.

How does video game music influence games past and present?

As a content creator, I can plainly state that audio is almost more important and everything to a video, as well as for video games.  Music is what creates that ambience, emotions felt and can even help narrate a story better. Without music, you would be missing out on so many games we can easily recall nowadays because of it.

What is your favorite PlayStation game and why?

Hmm..It’s kind of hard to choose but if I were to choose one. I think it would be Puppeteer for the PS3. It’s a PS3 exclusive and it is a concept that I have never seen implemented in a platformer before.

Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?

Not really, I think that it will be used sometimes almost as a clutch to validate certain facts that are now seen in society. This is something that is not relatively new, as for example, this is the same reasons certain organizations would use for pop culture trends as well as for certain music genres such as rock back in the day. Anything that is relatively young can be easily criticized or even pinpointed to say they found the cause but really these are just symptoms of a bigger picture which is mainly tied into mental health issues that have been poorly managed and taken care of. It also has to do with reshaping our education system to include more topics that are not tackled well nowadays such as more inclusion of different groups, racism, equality of genders and more.

Are video games good for relieving stress?

Yes, like any hobby. It can be helpful for relieving stress. If you enjoy and consider it to help you be in a better mental state, than yes. It is the same as if you were, let’s say sowing, gardening, listening to music or any other hobby.

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

I have to say Ms. Pacman because Ms. Pacman was the very first video game character that was intentionally created to target the female audience. It was created to break stereotypes and barriers that the video game market had created of video games being supposedly a hobby only enjoyed by men. So for me, it holds a very special place in the video game industry.

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘YouTube’?

Community. At least for me, it’s all about connecting with my community. They are my family and to them, I always give them my best.

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

Not really, I guess it all depends greatly on the type of genre you are going for. sometimes it is and sometimes the focus might be driven to somewhere else, like for example: the environments or story itself.

What is your favorite multiplayer game?

Wow, there are so many. When it comes to my community, we love to play together online Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Jack in the box party games. The options are endless and it’s what keeps us together on many occasions.

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

I would love to create a game that would definitely be open world, story driven with a butterfly effect to it. It would have multiple story choices with infinite replay ability and of course with a nice twist of action to it. I want it to have an open board where players can share with others their own choices and gameplay, being each one unique in its own way. The main character would probably be someone that can represent more diversity in the community, kind of like Spiderman Miles Morales just to give you an idea.

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

I currently cover a huge variety of genres, both on my channel and live streams but I do have to point out that I am more driven to survival horror games, some RPG’s, platformers and open world of course. To give you an example, the last games I 100% were Link’s Awakening and Resident Evil 7 Biohazard. I’m currently playing Paper Mario Thousand Year Door and Resident Evil Village. Cuphead is by far one of my favorite mid-tier indie games.

If someone wanted to start a podcast, what advice would you give them today?

Plan, execute and analyze. This can apply really for anything in life. If you want something done right, then you just have to take the initiative and learn as you go. Also do your research and recon in whatever area you want to improve because it will help greatly shape your content as well as the audience you want it to be built upon.

Where do you see video gaming in the next 10 years?

You know it’s hard to say because we are still in a very early phase when it comes to tech, but I think that we are seeing many more games break barriers when it comes to gameplay, graphics and who knows even VR will have a more prominent place in the near future.

ZAPCristal YouTube Channel

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.