Trading Card Spotlight - Jerry Momoda

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Jerry Momoda, who is displayed on card number 2330, from the Superstars of 2015 Collection.  Jerry was the Nintendo of America’s original market research analyst and game master back in the early 1980’s.   Throughout his career, Jerry has also worked for other game companies, including Atari, Sega and Namco.     Some of Jerry’s favorite projects he worked on were Punch-out, Mario Bros. and Tekken.   Jerry was one of the pioneers to help create the Tekken franchise which after twenty years remains a cornerstone of Namco's lineup.   It is the largest selling fighting game franchise in history. He is passionate how many arcade video game design principles should be considered in today's mobile games.  In his blog he writes for both game fans and game developers.

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

Today’s video games are massive in size compared to classic games. I miss the elegant simplicity of classic games. Games today take so long to complete, or have no ending, that the average person plays fewer games annually. This runs counterproductive to what’s needed for the overall health of the industry.

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

No way. Video games were yet to even be considered a real industry. 

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

I think the year was 1983 when Walter and the National Video Game Team visited Nintendo. They traveled on a bus, from Ottumwa, IA, to Redmond, WA. On that bus were Bill Mitchell, Steve Harris, Perry Rodgers, Don Nauert, Ben Gold and others. Bill Mitchell still remembers so many details of their visit. He has a memory like a steel trap.

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

Dedicated. He is so deeply committed to his vision of celebrating the achievements of video game players. This quest began when the video game industry was still seeking credibility and legitimacy. His level of contribution to the popularity of video games today is immeasurable. Both the industry and professional players owe Walter a debt of gratitude.

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

The first video game I recall playing was “Night Driver”/Atari (licensed). It was a B&W Vector game in an s/d cabinet in molded fiberglass. It was a very immersive experience, driving at night on a road full of twists and turns. I recall how “locked in” I felt when playing. I believe it was at an arcade within the “Fun Forest”, located at the Seattle Center.

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

Semi-retired, but remain passionate about video games. I would be interested should the right opportunity present itself.  I write a blog about my adventures in gaming and topics of interest to game developers. Retro gamers enjoy reading about the early days of gaming, especially my time at Nintendo. As the market research analyst and original game master at NOA, I was the first American to contribute to games by Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

Nintendo 3DS. It’s the closest thing to old school gaming. After more than thirty years of producing game hardware, Nintendo hasn’t steered far from its roots. It’s the same basic Game & Watch device given to me the day I interviewed with Nintendo in 1982.

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?

Console gaming because of better controls. I dislike playing on a keyboard. My roots belong to a time where controls were designed to suit the game, not vice-versa. Better controls improve the user experience.

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

I follow the Tekken series by Namco because I had a hand in creating the franchise. I’m proud that it stresses technique and skill over gratuitous violence. It recently celebrated its twenty-year anniversary. I’m also fond of the Legend of Zelda, Uncharted and GTA series. My favorite genres include classic action, action-adventure and fighting games. For casual relaxation, I enjoy puzzle games like Candy Crush Soda.

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

Donkey Kong, for sentimental reasons. It was the game that led to my first job in gaming.

Growing up were you team Sega or Nintendo and why?

Overwhelmingly Nintendo, for reasons already mentioned. And having worked for both companies, Nintendo was a significantly better company to work for.

What does it take to be a Video Game Journalist?

I believe a journalist must have knowledge of games, know their audience, and possess good communication skills.

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

All, in today’s market. There are plenty of quality games targeted at each group.

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

Yes, because they now portray violence in such a realistic fashion. Sadly some players have difficulty distinguishing the line between fantasy and reality.

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

Mostly against friends, but that isn’t always possible. Playing games alone provide an entertaining escape, and a way to be entertained at one’s own pace.

Which company makes the best games and why?

Nintendo, because their games are timeless and have tremendous play value. They excel at what they do best and neither Sony nor Microsoft chooses to compete in their arena. Adult Nintendo fans entrust these games to entertain their own children. It’s the Disney Effect. Namco is a close second for their diversity and quality in offerings. Their longevity has demonstrated their ability to evolve and adapt through changes in technology. They take a movie-like approach to their games that I particularly enjoy. I prefer Japanese games because in general they’re more fantasy oriented, while American games lean towards simulation.

Do you learn anything from playing video games?

Absolutely. Problem solving, determination and patience.

Are video games good for relieving stress?

Yes, but it depends on the game. Some games relieve stress while some add stress.

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

Sure, but a high profile IP is no guarantee of a good video game. IP comes with design restrictions. Games using IP can capture the first play, but the game must be worthy to earn additional play.

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

Early Donkey Kong, for sentimental reasons. I’m not such a fan of the later Donkey Kong Country character. I hope that someday, Nintendo will create a new Donkey Kong game. One that’s true to its origins. The designs of Donkey Kong Junior and Donkey Kong 3 were influenced by the looming Universal vs. Nintendo legal case.

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

How mainstream the term is now, and how I want it to be spelled as one word, “videogame”.

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

Gameplay. It’s the central pillar of every good video game. It encompasses everything how players interact with a game. Without it, the best atmosphere, music, story and art style cannot save it.

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

No. Since I study games, the best part (most important part) is the first couple minutes. This first impression is critical to the long-term appeal of a game.

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

Single (alternating two-player): Donkey Kong, Multi-player (head-to-head): Tekken series. Both have sentimental value.

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

A purposeful game where each player is the main character.

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

Augmented reality within a very small form factor. VR has yet to prove its viability for a mass audience. Personally, I don’t want to isolate myself in headgear. As consumers didn’t gravitate to 3D televisions to watch movies or play games, I am cautiously optimistic of VR in its current incarnation.

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