Trading Card Spotlight - Kelly Tharp

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Kelly Tharp, who currently is displayed on card number 122, from the Superstars of 2011 Collection. Kelly is also featured on card 2076. Kelly Is a natural arcade champion and world record holder.  His claim to fame is how long he can play a game on single quarter.  Some arcade games he could play up to 60 hours straight. Games such as Robotron 2084, Defender, and Q-Bert.  In December of 2005, Kelly played the arcade game Tapper for over 19 hours and a score of 9,437,400. At that time is was the world record.  Everywhere gamers went they would know the initials L.J.M.  These would be the high score letter of Kelly Tharp.  

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

My desire to play a world record game of Defender. I have relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis, and I believe that's why I cannot marathon defender these days. I get horrible muscle spasms in my right forearm from constantly pressing trust him fire. I'm hoping I can overcome that.

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Trading Card Spotlight - Don Hodges

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Don Hodges, who currently is displayed on card number 753, from the Superstars of 2014 Collection.  Don is a classic arcade gamer who has analyzed program code for games such as Pac-Man, Dig-Dug, Defender, and Galaga. He may be the best known for his analysis of Pac-Man’s split screen, which he was able to patch by rewriting the fruit drawing subroutine.  Don teaches computer science at Glendale Community college in California.  He still loves playing video games on his computer and gaming consoles. You can learn more about Don on his website,  www.donhodges.com.

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

I remember playing Pong, but the game that stands out is Space Invaders.  I think I was about 6 years old and there was a cocktail version that suddenly appeared at the local Mexican Restaurant that our family frequently went to.  I remember playing it and having a lot of fun doing so.

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Trading Card Spotlight - Ken Gage

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Ken Gage who currently is displayed on card number 2594, from the Superstars of 2016 Collection. Ken started his gaming career on the Atari 2600. Adventure was his go-to game. He played so much, his parents had to take away the TV. His real knack is PC gaming.  Ken remembers when games like Jill of the Jungle, Night Hunter, Doom, Myst ruled the PC world. His love for gaming also worked with his musical ability. Since the early 1990’s, Ken has been making music heavily influenced by classic arcade games of the 1980’s and by home computer platforms such as the TI-99 4/a, TRS-80, Apple IIe and IBM PC. You can find Ken hanging out at local events such as Star World Arcade and Midwest Gaming Classic.

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

I used to own a Pandora’s Palace cocktail table game, one of my favorite obscure titles. I’m sure it was a converted Thief. I’d like to get one again down the road. I’m going to be setting up a recreational room at my house in Michigan and will also be looking for a Wizard of Wor, Ghosts ’N’ Goblins, Elevator Action and Satan’s Hollow.  

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Trading Card Spotlight - Robin Mihara

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Robin Mihara, who currently is displayed on card number 286, from the Superstars of 2012 Collection.  Robin is one of the top Tetris players in the world.  His preference is the NES version and has been playing since its release in the 1980’s.  Robin starred in and produced the documentary ‘Ecstasy of Order’, which about the Classic Tetris World Championship (CTWC) and top competitors in the world.  Robin is also known as participating in the 1990 Nintendo World Championships, which he came in third place.  Robin traveled over 30 cities in 1991 to compete in the Disney Capcom Play Tour.  Traveling and playing NES games against others was a true honor. 

When did you first play Tetris and what do you remember about it? 

I first played Tetris as a rental shortly after it was released.  I thought it was tedious and did not enjoy it at all.  I ended up buying it when the Nintendo World Championships (1990) came to Portland and I realized it was a deeper game with a very high skill-cap.

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Trading Card Spotlight - Andrew Welburn

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Andrew Welburn, who currently is displayed on card number 1643, from the Superstars of 2014 Collection.  Andrew has been collecting arcade games since 1997 and has been repairing very rare and undocumented PCBs for collectors since 2000 at http://andysarcade.com. For a period of two years he wrote a video game section in the Antique Amusements Magazine before its demise and has appeared on national TV and in magazines in the UK covering the history and culture of video games. He has also been involved in supplying arcade machines for TV shows and for classic gaming events in the UK and USA.

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

 I mainly just play the games that I am repairing, usually in not-ideal conditions, with the monitor rotated 90 degrees because it’s on my workbench, or with approximate controls in very substandard conditions. I think I could beat anyone at Space Invaders played sideways as I fix the most amount of those and am pixel-perfect with the gameplay.

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