Trading Card Spotlight "Rewind" - Lonnie McDonald
This week we look back at the Trading Card Spotlight of Lonnie McDonald. Lonnie is a world record holder on Joust, International Video Game Hall of Famer, and on the nomination commitee of IVGHOF. Nominations are now open at IVGHOF.INFO. Deadline is April 30th, 2019. Please enjoy this interview I did with Lonnie on January 10th, 2016.
Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Lonnie McDonald who currently is displayed on card number 249, from the Superstars of 2012 Collection. He is also featured on cards 127 (with Steve Sanders), 589, 905, 1442 and 1465. Steve is one greatest Joust players. He was in Ottumwa, IA in 2012 setting a Joust MAME world record and was the first person to play in the original Twin Galaxies location since the mid 1980's. Lonnie is one of only 3 people to break the 1 million point barrier on the Joust Arcade game in Tournament Settings. He is the only person over the age of 50 to marathon a game 50 hours straight. Between 2011 and 2013 Lonnie went on a tour to roll the Joust score on as many arcade machines as he could. On June 10th, 2012, Lonnie rolled the score on his 50th Joust Machine. On May 23rd, 2013, Lonnie rolled his 100th machine. Along with Steve Sanders, Lonnie broke another record by competing in a doubles marathon and playing Joust with Steve for over 15 hours straight. Their score of 40,120,150 is also a doubles record. Lonnie has also promoted vintage gaming for TV, magazine, newspapers and online as well as supported numerous charities to help fellow gamers
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
The Knight on an ostrich in Joust. I’m that Knight. The great Python Anghelo (from Joust fame and many Williams’s games) designated me a Knight of the Highest Order. An Honor that deeply moved me, and still does as I write this.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
I played Asteroids at Northside Pool hall in Winterset, Iowa. It was very compelling. It drew a crowd. People were transfixed. Before video games were around I played pool and pinball.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
I don’t play a lot of new games. I do play a golf app on my Iphone and a Military Strategy game. They certainly are more complex and interactive and have superior graphics.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
No way. I think there are many people from the 80's that were world-class players that never got any recognition, as they didn’t know that much about Twin Galaxies. I really didn’t understand who they were until 2011. I’m glad to be on trading cards. I have new friends and I believe I am representative of many people who should have been considered accomplished in the 80's but were invisible to the public.
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the trading card? If so, where?
Not outside of Twin Galaxies, I have however given hundreds of signed cards out all over the USA during my 2 year tour playing 100 Joust machines to 9999999.
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
The 2011 Twin Galaxies Film Festival in Ottumwa, IA. Steve Sanders and I set the Joust Doubles Marathon record. Steve introduced me to Walter and many other videogame luminaries
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Generous. He is the picture of kindness and grace and generally cares about people. I’m glad to call him a friend. If I may, Walter founded Twin Galaxies after discussions with Williams. I had the unique honor of bringing Walter to the Williams Headquarters in May of 2013 when I rolled my 100th Joust. It was a poetic completion of journeys that took over 30 years for both Walter and I. I as Williams first declared World Champion in early 1982 by playing 24 hours and Walter founding Twin Galaxies. It was very surreal.
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
I attempted to buy Twin Galaxies two times but it wasn’t in the cards. I stepped back to let Jace Hall revamp it without people looking at me asking me my thoughts. Now I spend a little time each week playing my games at home or the occasional Joust rollover
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
The IPhone. It can handle so many apps and do calculations and run games almost in real time
Do you prefer PC or console gaming and why?
I have MAME on a PC. It’s very close to the real thing for old games. I own a MAME world record.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I play a lot of Pinball. I played competitively for a year and got to the top 1 percent in the world. I still play Joust, Black Tiger, Gorf, Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf.
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
I own several. Gorf, Joust, Joust Cocktail, Joust 2 (prototype belonged to John Newcomer: Joust Developer) and Black Tiger. I have an XARCADE with hundreds of games. I also have the following Pinballs: Star Trek 1978, Star Trek Next Generation, Taxi, Target Alpha, Surf Champ, Grand Prix and Williams Pitch and Bat.
Other games include three Foosball tables from the 70’s. I guess if I had room, I’d buy a Metallica pinball. It’s a great playing game with inline drop targets, great ramps, bash toy and cool multi-balls. Yea it wants to come to my house…and join my collection. I have owned over 40 machines. I buy one have fun with it, sell it and buy another. I’m pretty happy with my collection now. Many are completely restored.
Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
No, like gun control, it’s not the gun or the game it’s the person. You can’t legislate it.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
I play against the machine, so it doesn’t matter. I don’t really like beating people that’s why I play against the machine.
Which company makes the best games and why?
Williams made the toughest games.
Do you learn anything from playing video games?
I think reflexes and hand-eye coordination get better. Today people learn through some educational games, how cool is that?
Are video games good for relieving stress?
I guess that depends if you play well…and why you are playing.
Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from the video game?
Sure, they are part of the fabric of our lives.
Where do you see video gaming in the next 20 years?
Videogames will recognize their roots and continue to revive the concepts that made them great. New programmers will build on the shoulders of the giants that came before them and continue to press graphics to more and more realism and immersion.