Science Fiction Trading Card Spotlight - Daina Chaviano

Our next Science Fiction Trading Card Spotlight features Daina Chaviano, who is displayed on card number 106, from the Science Fiction Collection. Born and raised in Cuba, Daina has been writing most of her life.  She has been credited with such awards as the Anna Seghers Award (Germany), Azorin Prize for Best novel (Spain), Gold Medal for Best Book (Florida).   She has been called one of the three most important female writers in the Spanish Language. Daina now lives in Miami and still writes almost every day.  You can see more about Daina on her bilingual website at dainachaviano.com.  

How has writing today changed from when you were younger? What do you like or dislike about the changes?

In the past, writing was a secret process. Being a writer used to mean living a secluded life. Now everything must be shared. Everyone wants to know everything about you. Even though I understand the importance of the media for any artist, and so I have the proverbial and almost mandatory professional network (Twitter, Facebook, website, blog), I fiercely protect my private life, sharing only those personal experiences that can be interesting for my readers and followers from a literary point of view.   

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Trading Card Spotlight Rob Berk

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Rob Berk, who is displayed on card number 260, from the Superstars of 2012. Rob is also featured on card numbers 782 and 1702.  This weekend (October 11-15th) is the annaul Pinball Expo is in Wheeling, Illinois.   Robert is one of the founders and promotors of this event and has for the last 32 years.   Rob collects pinball games as far back as the 1930's.   His passion for pinball is and his expo keep the pinball world alive and well.   With special guest speakers and tournament the Pinball Expo in Illinois has become the worlds largest .

When did you first get involved in the pinball or gaming industry?

I wouldn’t necessarily say I am involved in it, it’s more or less a hobby. So I think it started off with my interest in playing games from the mid-60s that I grew up playing.  Then seeing the pinball books that came out from either Michael Colmer or Roger Sharpe and learning who the people were behind the scenes, the designers and artists and just having a fascination and a real intense interest in these people to the point where in 1984 I had the idea of having this Pinball Expo show.  The pure purpose of that show was to honor my heroes, the pinball designers’ and artists. I always felt that they were kind of behind the scenes, they were 9 to 5 guys, they never got the accolades.  It was always the big shots on top that were always the ones you heard about or read about but now the guys behind the scenes so I figured to myself, “These are the guys I really want to meet, these are my heroes that made the games I love to play”.

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Trading Card Spotlight Tim Kinzy

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Tim Kinzy, who is displayed on card number 2422 from the Superstars of 2016 Collection.  His documentary film trading card is featured on card number 2495.  Tim is one half of the team that directed, produced and edited the documentary “Man vs. Snake”.  A story of the arcade game Nibbler and the fight to set the world record.   This successful documentary was featured in many film festivals over the past couple years and can also be seen on Netflix.  Tim has been a television editor on such shows as Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, Falling Skies, and Beyond.

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

I don’t have much time these days between 12+ hour work days and raising 2 babies, but I try to get a good game of Galaga or Dig Dug in at home in when I can carve out a little bit of time.  My favorite genre of games tends to be the one-person player games from the classic video game era.  You know, the basics, Donkey Kong, Pac Man, and of course Nibbler.

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Trading Card Spotlight Steve Woita

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Steve Woita, who is displayed on card number 380, from the Superstars of 2012.   Steve first came on the scene while working on the Apple II computer.  He has also worked on the boards of the Apple III, Apple IIe and the Joyport for Sirius Software.  Steve has also been a part of the designing of many games for the PC, Atari 2600, NES and Sega Genesis to name a few.   A complete list of games Steve has worked on can be found on his website at https://stevewoita.wordpress.com.  Steve is also on the Board of Advisors for the Video Game History Museum.   Steve is still today overseeing new games that are created and has his hands in the new technology.   

Do you remember when you created your first video game what do you remember about the experience?

I remember when I designed and programmed my first published game that was actually available on a store shelf, the game was called TAZ for the Atari 2600 (VCS). One experience I remember about this game was the first time I saw it in a local Gemco department store. I clearly remember just focusing on my game as it was just hanging off the game rack on a steel peg with the rest of the entire Atari 2600 library of games that I had bought years ago before making TAZ and now my game is up there with the rest of them and it truly was a time that's etched in my brain as I remember all of the work that it took to get this crazy game to the store shelf; it was completely worth it and that this is such a cool moment.

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Trading Card Spotlight Alexis Crowley

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Alexis Crowley, who is displayed on card number 2721, from the Superstars of 2017.   Alexis is a collector of all things Nintendo.   He also collects arcade machines which were made by Nintendo.   You can see Alexis on his YouTube Channel “Nintendo Arcade”.  Alexis is involved in a project to bring back a classic forgotten game called Sky Skipper.  The project began on June 10th, 2017, and he has the hope of making this classic rare game come to life.

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

Well I own 10 arcade machines mostly Nintendo but I guess if there was one game I would like to own it would be a full-size space launcher.  I have the only cocktail in existence but would love to own the upright version but none have ever been found.

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