Trading Card Spotlight Van Burnham

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Van Burnham who is displayed on card number 1620, from the Superstars of 2014.  Van is the author of the book “Supercade: A Visual History of the Video Gaming Age 1971-1984”.   Van was formerly an editor for Wired Magazine.  She currently owns one of the largest collection of arcade machines form the 70s and 80s with close to 500 machines to date.  Van still writes about video games today and contributes as much as she can to the gaming industry.

When did you write your book and what motivated you to do so?

Supercade was first published in 2001, but I had started thinking about it years earlier. The first pages were written in 1997.

What is the best way to find your book and to order it?

Amazon.com

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

I mostly play classic games in the Supercade – Galaga, Zookeeper, Donkey Kong, and Gyruss get the most play – but I have PS4s in my house and do enjoy modern games, as well.

What does it take to be a Video Game Journalist?

A love of writing and passion for games.

What advice do you have for others who want to write about the gaming industry today?

Playing games, learning about the companies who make them, and attending industry events.

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

I did not! I am so proud to be included in Walter's trading card series. It's an incredible honor.

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

I met Walter in 1998 at the Classic Gaming Expo, shortly after I started work on Supercade.

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

Passionate.

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

Hmmm. The first arcade game I have very vivid memories playing was Asteroids. The thing I remember most was the sound. It was very compelling... and a little bit scary.

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

I love modern games and enjoy playing them, but it is a very different experience.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

Probably my iPhone or iPad.

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?

I tend to play console games more as I work on a Mac.

What games form the golden years (70s and 80s) were your favorite and why?

I love all games from that era, but one of my favorites is M-79 Ambush. I just love that cabinet.

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

I have nearly 500 games, so I have mostly everything I want, but if I could have anything right now I suppose it would be either Aztarac or Ab$cam.

Growing up were you team Sega or Nintendo and why?

I love Nintendo, but I had a Genesis during their console battle.

How does video game music influence games past and present?

It plays such a huge part in game design and is integral to the experience. Good music can make a game transcendent and bad music will ruin it.

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

Most gamers are adults.

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

No I don't, just as I don't believe violent films lead to violence. If anything, games are an outlet that allows us to explore and express aggressive tendencies without hurting anyone IRL.

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

Depends on the game... some are very solitary experiences and some are best enjoyed with friends. I do love playing two-player Joust with a friend.

Do you learn anything from playing video games?

I have learned everything from playing games!

Are video games good for relieving stress?

Absolutely. Though they can also generate stress, as well... especially when I'm doing poorly.

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

Some have been fantastic... the Resident Evil franchise, for example. Others, not so much.

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

Hmmm. Rex Havoc. I love the design and story. He's really the only vector-based game character.

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

I have designed a few, my favorite is about a Martian colonist who returns to earth named Jack Brody.

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

I continue to write about games and the industry and most of the projects I'm working on are inspired by videogames on some level.

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

Games will be more integrated into our daily lives... our existence may actually be an elaborate organic simulation. I just want to figure out where the server is.

To order the book "Supercade" click here

You can follow @supercade71 on Instagram

Also you can vist the Supercade Facbook page here.

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