Trading Card Spotlight Toni Caven

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Toni Caven, who is displayed on card number 2724, from the   Superstars of 2017 Collection.  Toni is the creator of company in Finland called “Reprocade Ltd.”.  He repairs, restores and operates arcade cabinets and pinball machines.   His business has grown and now he has added jukeboxes to his list of machines he can repair.  Toni and a partner also run "Blast! From the Past" barcade-events at a local bar/nightclub.  He would like to open up his own barcade in Finland, a worthy goal for Toni.

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

I would like to try to continue the Mario vs. Donkey Kong setting from the original Donkey Kong arcade game, but as several easy-to-learn-difficult-to-master minigames designed for portable gaming devices. Boldly retro graphics with some beautiful effects made possible by the latest technology. Original music should be done by one or more of the legendary composers of the Commodore 64 games era: Rob Hubbard, Matt Gray, Fred Gray and Reyn Ouwehand with so blindingly catchy melodies you would want to get them as a ringtone :)

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

 My first video game was on an Intervision 2001 Home VideoCentre -console and that was a game called Escape (M26). It was a homeversion of Berzerk, as I've later learned, and I got nightmares back in the day because of it :)

My first arcade game was a Nintendo Vs. Super Mario Bros. It was located in a reception-building of a larger camping site in Pälkäne, Finland. A coin of 5 Finnish Marks (FIM, used before EUR) could get me a pear-flavoured popsicle and 1 credit on the Super Mario Bros. cabinet.

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

 To generalise, the video games of today have been a steady roll of updated graphics, but with no real differences in gameplay, for the last 15-20 years. I've learned to accept and embraze that, but at the same time, return more fondly to the oldschool way of gaming. Older classics didn't have the technology to run with flashy graphics, but they ran with speed, diversity and a low learning curve.

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

No. I didn't even think that I would ever be able to own a pinball machine. Or even run my own company based on business with those machines. No idea whatsoever :) I wanted to be a game reviewer (on Zzap64 or similar magazine). I thought that way I could play games for a living. In a way, that's exactly what I'm currently doing, come to think of it.

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

 No, not yet at least if you don't count the occasional facebook -like etc.

When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?

 My total fanboy experience was at Worldcon75 / 2017 in Helsinki, Finland

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

 Grandfatherly. He is a kind speaker, a listener, and he has wisdom in his words.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

 All the Nintendo Game&Watch series portable games and of those, especially the ”Mario Bros.”. I used to practice and play it a lot with my mother back in the day. I still have it.

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?

 PC gaming. Keyboard+mouse wins over a pad any given day in versatility and usability.

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

 Due to my work, I can play most of the classics during worktime. At home I usually continue my Fallout 3 adventures with my maxed-out character, ”Don Johnson” *grin*. I also have Skyrim, Deus Ex Human Revolution and Witcher 1 and 2 lined up after Fallout3.

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

 I would like to own the Sega R360. It's just so RAD. And rare. A beast.

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

 Nintendo. They have had a definite way of doing things and designing games for several decades and I like it.

How does video game music influence games past and present?

 In the past, the music had a bigger role in games but today they are mostly in the background just like in the movies; supporting the storytelling and adding atmosphere to the gameplay. Many oldschool gamers return to some of the games of their childhood just to hear the music and so do I.

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

 We, the original gamers, have grown up and so has the whole industry. The video games of today cater for all ages.

Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?

 No. Guns and the culture of violence lead to violence in America today. Doom didn't make us into killers back in the day. Violent movies (Die Hard, Predator, Rambo, all my favourite classics) didn't make us into killers back in the day. It comes from somewhere else.

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

 Alone or with friends co-operatively. I want to feel there's the man vs machine -factor in play at all times. In general, I don't like playing against other people, especially if they're not physically in the same room.

Which company makes the best games and why?

I really haven't been following the gaming scene during the past years, but I'm very excited about the new arcade game, Skycurser by Griffin Aerotech. They promise to have a platform to make developing new arcade games easier and hopefully get more companies on board to produce new arcade games; classics of the future.

Do you learn anything from playing video games?

Back in the day, I learned to read and speak English. You can learn much from video games, or none. It all depends on the type of games you play. For example, the Finnish Cities: Skylines can be very educational.

Are video games good for relieving stress?

Yes. A good shoot'em'up works every time.

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

No, they usually manage to suck.

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

Mario. He was the first actual” character” that I knew the name of. He was present on countless platforms back in the day and he still has that omnipresence feel.

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

Pacman and Billy Mitchell with his signature tie.

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

 Atmosphere is the most important. The music, story and art style all add in to the atmosphere and help getting the player into the gameworld. To care about the characters. Keeping the suspension of disbelief.

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

 No, in fact they seem artificial stepping stones to me. They make the game too much ”game'ish” as I tend to play games that have a good atmosphere. Boss battles break that sense of ”being there” completely. The same way that over-the-shoulder -view always do. I don't play modern games where I can't control the character from eyelevel POV.

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

 I have many favourites, but my most favourite single player game is Wizball on Commodore 64.

My most favourite multiplayer is the original Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon. It has been played through-and-through with all the maps I could find, in co-operation mode with my friends during the last 10 years.

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

 I run my own company with the business based on repairs, restoration, renting, selling and operating arcade videogames, pinball machines and jukeboxes and everything related

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

 In the future I see virtual reality and all it's updates coming to fruition. At the same time I'm worried because of the climate change and our chances of coping with the coming changes.
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