Trading Card Spotlight - Eddie Adlum
Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Eddie Adlum, who currently is displayed on card number 2050, from the Superstars of 2015 Collection. Eddie is the founder and publisher of RePlay Magazine. He has been writing or publishing since 1964, where he worked for Cash Box Magazine. He is also known for first coining the phrase “Video Game” back in the early days. If there are any type of Coin-op or gaming stories form the past 50 years, most likely Eddie covered it and was actively involved. He is still active today though he admits to slowing down a bit. But he’s not out yet.
Do you remember when you began RePlay Magazine and what do you remember about the experience?
I started RePlay on an afternoon in August of 1975 while at lunch at a place on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, Calif. I was with a fellow I’d worked with at Cash Box magazine named Beau Eurell. My intent was to make my money selling ads to the record companies who were interested in getting the jukebox operators (my new magazine’s audience) to put their new 45’s on the machines.
What does it take to be a professional writer/editor today?
Apart from the ability to research and write news stories, you need a medium to put it out there, be that a TV or broadcast station, a newspaper or a magazine like mine. It’s normally not an easy field to penetrate and it doesn’t pay very much on average.
What do you think about digital magazines that you can download versus the actual physical hard copy?
Being a print person, I find them to be competition. There is a place for printed magazines and newspapers, but not like it was before the Internet came along. I personally subscribe to the NY Times, but I also like the NPR app on my cell phone. Very convenient, though not as thorough as the Times.
What does it take to be a Video Game creator, and what advice would you give a person today who would like to get into the industry?
It takes an experienced player who’s also adept at the electronic programming skills needed in today’s business to cut that mustard. Add in lots of passion, and you have a chance.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
The essential reason today’s industry produces the big, deluxe machines is because the simpler ones. . .like the classics. . .can all be done on home video consoles. The coin-op business needs to do something players can’t get on a home machine in order to get play.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video game Trading card?
There were no video games when I was young. They didn’t come out until 1973 when Atari released Pong to the coin machine business.
When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?
I originally met Walter in his home town of Ottumwa, Iowa but I forget the year. A whole gang of us came in for some affair he was putting on. It coincided with Gov. Terry Bransted coming to town for something else, and he also came into Walter’s Twin Galaxies and I got the photo of him, Walter, and a couple of coin-op heavies for my magazine’s front cover.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Obsessive! Walter bit onto his role in the industry years ago and never really let go. He is as committed to this business as is Gary Stern is to making pinball machines or Gene Jarvis to pumping out great coin-operated video games.
How has writing today changed from when you were younger? What do you like or dislike about the changes?
Frankly, I don’t see a whole lot of change other than the personification that’s kind of new to the trade. I refer to things like TV news people getting all exercised when they deliver the news, taking sides in political situations, rather than simply reading the news and letting the consumer decide.
What is your favorite game you have played in your career?
Believe it or not, it would be Pong. I have fond memories of fighting it out with my buddy Beau at a bar near Cash Box in New York that had one. We pumped a lot of quarters into that thing.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
Truthfully, I like the physical ones like Skee-Ball, basketball cages, pinballs rather than videos. But I do watch my two grandsons playing Fortnight from time to time and must admit that is one gorgeous game.
Are video games today aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
I think it was and still is the young male teenager who stand as the number one demographic.
Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
Too violent? Yeah, but I don’t think they really lead to the players going out and copying what they find on the screen. I love the Three Stooges, always have. But I’m not going out there and hitting people on the head with a shovel.
Which company today, in your opinion, makes the best games and why?
Remember, I’m in the coin-op magazine business. So, I think the best are designed and built by the people at Raw Thrills. Their team has come up with some beauties, and in several different disciplines including the tried and true driving and shooting games.
Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from the video game?
Yes, but I honestly don’t think any one of them was a critical hit. I do like it when our things show up in movies in an incidental way. . .not only in Hollywood films but on TV and even in the consumer print media. Any time I see our games depicted in any entertainment medium, I get a charge, especially when the set is an arcade.
Who is your favorite video game character of all time and what makes that character special?
I guess it would be the monkey in Donkey Kong because his name is a Japanese/English morph of their original “stupid monkey” name. How’d that crazy name come into being? The Kong part speaks for itself. The Donkey was a translation based on the word Ass. as in “stupid ass.” Since that couldn’t go in the West, they looked up Ass and came up with Donkey. Got it?
Do you prefer Arcade or Console gaming and why?
Arcade, for obvious reasons.
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
First of all, that word “gaming” in the coin machine business means gambling. But I know how you use it to describe video game players. No, I’m not involved in any way. In fact, I’ve never been a video game player for real, even though I coined the actual phrase “video game” back in the day.
Where do you see Video gaming in the next 20 years?
You know, I can remember Nolan Bushnell wondering that very thing back in his very earliest days at Atari. “What else can we do with this other than play tennis or hockey?” was his question over lunch. If it grows like it has since then until now, look out, Nelly!