Trading Card Spotlight Joe Brewer

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Joe Brewer, who is displayed on card number 133, from the Superstars of 2011 Collection.  Owner of his own arcade, Brewer’s Arcade, Joe has become an arcade collector and preservationist.  Joe even donated one of his games to the International Video Game Hall of Fame in 2010.  After Joe’s generation donation, more followed and the IVGHOF received many arcade games that year as donation.    Joe can restore and preserve old 1980 arcade games to keep the fever alive.   Joe’s arcade is located in his basement of his home and a few times a year hosts an open house to the public to play the arcade games and have a good time. 

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

I believe parents should use common sense with what games their children play. If you don’t know that allowing your 8-year-old to play Call of Duty may be have a negative influence, then the parent doesn’t have common sense and the child doesn’t have a chance in life anyway. If you allow your child to watch violent movies and realistic violent video games that depict real life situations I think it easily can numb that child mentally and definitely has the potential to negatively affect their perception of the real world.

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

One of the first console video games I played was Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. To this day, it is one of the only games I have ever beaten and it’s one of the only games I could beat, and my older brother couldn’t! While it may not be the first arcade machine I played, my favorite and most memorable machine by far is WWF Wrestlefest. I grew up watching wrestling with my brother, so I loved having a tag team consisting of Hulk Hogan and Earthquake. I would have Earthquake do his finisher and then have Hogan do his classic leg drop for the win! I put a hell of a lot of quarters through that machine at my local 7-11.

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

While nothing beats the simplicity and challenge of a classic arcade game, I think we are alive in a pretty awesome time when it comes to video games. Developers have come up with incredibly ingenious games on smartphone platforms. As for consoles, I’ve always love Nintendo for having the guts to break away from the traditional “super computer” spec’d out console and instead making a system that is first and foremost fun and clever.

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

Nope. It’s a pretty awesome a quirky award I never thought I would be a part of. I really appreciate Walter Day’s insane effort in creating this trading card series and I’m flattered to be a part of the club!

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

Yes, both the Washington Post and the Maryland based Gazette wrote an article on my arcade restoration work and it was because Walter Day was presenting me with a plaque and trading card for my contributions to the hobby.

Washinton Post Article

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

I first met Walter Day in person at the Big Bang Festival in Ottumwa, Iowa in 2010.

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

Selfless because the man has dedicated his life to honoring others.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

While I rarely play games on a mobile device I would have to say my iPhone X. Developers have found insanely clever ways to incorporate the cameras and processing power to make some awesome games. Plus, I can play the classics on it too!

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

Total Nuclear Annihilation pinball by Spooky Pinball. The soundtrack, layout, 80’s vibe, and light show look amazing.

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

It would be both Nintendo and Sega. Nintendo because they continue to innovate and Sega because they created the Sega Dreamcast!

What does it take to be a Video Game Journalist?

Knowledge of video games from both the past and present.

How does video game music influence games past and present?

The music can really make or break a game. Can you imagine Splatoon with any other type of music? To me it really makes the game!

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

All of the above. Everyone enjoys them in some capacity.

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

Alone because if I play online I just get annihilated because many online gamers play way to many video games in their free time :)

Which company makes the best games and why?

Nintendo. Quality, fit, and finish is second to none with their 1st party games and I can enjoy them with my kiddos.

Do you learn anything from playing video games?

Others may, but personally I don’t believe I do. If there is anything I’ve learned it’s that I’m not very good at video games!

Are video games good for relieving stress?

Absolutely. Being able to take your mind away from the real world is one of the best parts about video games.

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?

Console gaming because I like to be able to sit on my couch and play on a big TV with full surround sound. It just seems more traditional to me than sitting in front of a computer screen.

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

I don’t actually sit down to play video games very often, but I enjoy playing our Nintendo Switch because there are games we can play together a family. Genre wise, I like racing games and the Mario Odyssey open world style of games. If the kiddos are in bed, I’ve always been a fan of the Grand Theft Auto series. I’ve never finished one but I love the style of gameplay and how well done the GTA world is. If I am going to play a game, I usually power on the arcade and play some Galaga or Ghostbusters pinball.

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

I’m indifferent to it. I don’t take movies too seriously. If it’s a good movie it’s a good movie.

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

Little Mac because he shows that the underdog always has a chance!

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

Nintendo Entertainment System

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

Gameplay is the most important to me because without it the rest of the elements can’t save a terrible playing video game.

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

Yes. I love a larger than life boss challenge.

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

Favorite single player video game is the Grand Theft Auto series. My favorite multiplayer video game would be Mario Kart.

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

I always thought it would be cool to design a game where the character builds an underground world through tunnels in his own regular neighborhood. Like the goals could be to sneak into a house for certain items to use in your underground world but you have to tunnel to them. I don’t know, is that lame?

I would love to design a modern version of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. Not the most original concept but I think that game would be amazing on the Nintendo Switch! Little Mac would obviously be the main character!

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

Yes, I have a private arcade in the basement of my home which I have dubbed “Brewer’s Arcade”. We host an open house a couple of times a year and our home is somewhat “known” in the area for having a classic game room in the basement of my 1919 Bungalow! I continue to collect and restore early 1980’s arcade machines and pinball machines.

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

I think it’s going to be something like Ready Player One. It’s hard to fathom where we may be in 20 years technology wise.

Washington Post Article