Trading Card Spotlight - Norman Caruso
Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Norman Caruso, who is displayed on card number 2702, from the Superstars of 2017 Collection. Norman is the creator of “Gaming Historian”, A documentary series on YouTube. His goal is to explore the history of video game via his YouTube Channel. The show premiered in 2008, as he was a big historian buff as well as a video game fanatic. He put the two together to come up with a Gaming Historian show. You can access his YouTube Channel as well as his website at the bottom of the article.
What does it take to run a successful YouTube show?
Running a successful YouTube show requires dedication and a passion. A lot of times, people make a video hoping to get a lot of views and attention. That's great and all, but if you are miserable making the video, it won't last! For the first 7 years of Gaming Historian, I worked on the show after coming home from a full-time job. It was tiring and stressful, but I loved doing it. Now I make the videos full-time and I couldn't be happier.
When did you begin your videos and what inspired you to do so?
I started making "The Gaming Historian" in 2009. I loved video games, and I was majoring in history at college. Combining the two made perfect sense, plus there wasn't much out there online in regard to video game history videos.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
The first game I remember well is "Castle Wolfenstein" on the IBM PC. My brother and I would play it all the time. What stands out the most are the guards yelling "halt!" and chasing you around.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older classic games?
Obviously, things are much different with DLC (downloadable content) and micro-transactions running rampant. But modern indie games do a great job of capturing the spirit of classic games. It certainly makes you appreciate classic games even more.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
Never, and I didn't think video game trading cards would even be a thing!
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
I first met Walter Day at Classic Game Fest 2017 in Austin, TX.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Iconic. I think anyone who has a love for classic games can recognize him instantly. He's a big part of video game history!
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
Probably the Game Boy Advance. It had a terrific library of games and could play all my old Game Boy games.
Do you prefer PC or console gaming and why?
My ideal setup is a PC with a Nintendo Switch. The Switch has tons of great exclusives, while I just prefer playing on my PC over a PS4 or Xbox.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
Modern gaming-wise, I'm really into the Battle Royale genre. I play PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battleground) a lot with my friends. My favorite genres overall are platformers, shoot' em ups, RPGs (Role Playing Games) and first-person shooters.
Which console company is your favorite and why? Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or Microsoft?
Easily Nintendo. They just seem to know what makes a game fun and have been doing it consistently for so many years.
How does video game music influence games past and present?
Video game music has just gotten better and better. It's just as good as some movie soundtracks these days. If you whistled the Super Mario theme down the street, I think just about everyone would recognize it.
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
I'd say they are mostly aimed at adults. When I worked at GameStop in college, most of the customers were adults.
Do you believe some video gmes are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
Absolutely not. There has been no credible evidence linking violent games to violence in real life. However, I do think it is important companies disclose the contents of the game. That's why the ESRB is so important.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
When I was in high school, I got into online multiplayer games. I guess I'm just a competitive person by nature. But as I get older, I do like to relax by myself and play too!
Which company makes the best games and why?
I think Nintendo still makes the best games. It's pretty rare I don't like a game they put out.
Do you learn anything from playing video games?
One of my friends growing up struggled with reading and writing. We started playing a lot of RPGs and he improved tremendously. So yes, video games can absolutely teach you new things!
Are video games good for relieving stress?
There's nothing better than coming home from a long day and getting lost in a video game. Especially when paired with delicious food!
What other YouTube Channels are you interested in and what would you like to see more of?
Some of my favorite video game shows on YouTube are Lazy Game Reviews, ProJared, and The Completionist. I'd like to see more essay-style videos. It's a popular genre in film studies, and I think it works well with video games too.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
That's a tough question! I'll name a few: Alucard from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Kazooie from Banjo Kazooie, and Frog from Chrono Trigger.
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘video games’?
I always get an image of space invaders on an old Atari 2600
Of these five elements video games, which is the most important to you and why? Gameplay, Atmosphere, Music, Story or Art style
Gameplay for sure. If you aren't having fun, then what's the point?
Do you find boss battles to be the best part of a video game?
Nope. Boss battles always stressed me out. I prefer the levels, as long as they aren't escort missions! I can't stand those.
What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer game?
My favorite single player game is Earthbound
My favorite multiplayer game is PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battleground) or Super Smash Bros.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
I have a huge amount of respect for people who make games, because it seems really difficult! I'm not sure what I would make. It would be either a platformer or an FPS (first-person shooter) since I play those the most.
Where do you see Video Gaming in the next 20 years?
I'm not sure. Technology-wise, we have really slowed down. Can graphics really get significantly better? I'm curious where VR (virtual reality) is going. Right now, it seems too expensive for consumers, but 20 years from now, who knows?