Trading Card Spotlight - Travis Warnell

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Travis Warnell, who is displayed on card number 171, from the Superstars of 2011 Collection.   Travis is also displayed on card number 997.  He holds world records on multiple games such as Golgo 13, Lethal Enforcers and Bang! for the MAME platform.  He recalls being in the Guinness book and receiving a certificate as quite an achievement.  His life motto is, “Try Something different, because if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got”.  If you want to change the result, change the way you do things.

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

I personally don't believe violent video games are a contributing factor to violence.  If this is the case, then there must be very violent games in other countries that are in an everlasting war for years and years.  Video games have nothing to do with any of that, just a scape goat to point a finger at.  If anything, video games lessens violence, they give so many kids, adults, families a common goal and challenge.  People play video games to escape real life, not to re-live it. 

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

The only game I am really playing now is Team Fortress 2.  I have been playing that game for many years and I just find it fun.  I don't have time to play it as much anymore, any games for that matter.  I was always a fan of FPS games.  Started in the early 90's with Wolfenstein/duke 3d/quake 1/2/3/, Counter Strike, L4D.  It's just something about the team fortress series from when it was just a quake mod has always brought me back to it.  I also enjoy the diablo series but haven't played that in quite a while.  Quake 3 will always have a special place for me though.  It was the first game that I really broke down and applied critical thinking to all facets of that game and learned it so well.  To me, Q3 is the pinnacle of all FPS arena-based games.  I am proud that one of my demos ended up in the Quake 3 frag movie "get quaked 3". 

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

I love a good multiplayer or coop game for the most part.   That is what I wished for when I was a kid, to be able to play with my friends from all over without them having to actually be in the same room to play.  All of that is possible today.  I would have spent so much more time inside the house if I grew up with the multiplayer games of today.  Today's games are far more in-depth, games like eve online, MMOs, and games that receive updated content keep games playable.  I don't like comparing newer games with older ones because they are so much different.  Older games tend to be very simple and repetitive but have such a high skill ceiling.  Older games require so much repetition to master that many lose interest.  I commend those who can put up massive scores on those old games.  That takes a lot of discipline, skill, and persistence.  I respect that.

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

I remember playing centipede and that I could only get to about the second or third level.  It was really fun and there was no way my parents were going to give me a pile of quarters to keep trying.

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

I didn't think such a thing would ever exist and it is impressive how far it has come.  Upper deck recently announced that they are producing over watch cards.  Walter was the one that initiated this on a large scale and now a major well-known company followed suit, which is mind blowing to me.  If anyone could have made this possible, Walter is the one to do so.  I used to collect basketball cards as a kid, and I didn't think they would seem to peak like they did in the late 90s'.  The internet really made a lot of things that people though were rare, not so rare.      

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

I've actually never shared with anyone that I am on a trading card.  I kind of just keep my accomplishments and things like that with me.  On a side note, I watched the documentary Man Vs Snake and towards the end when Walter talking about awarding Enrico Zanetti, he had my poster on his desk and was signing it.  I couldn't believe I spotted that.  So, in a way, my card poster made a cameo appearance in a full feature documentary!

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

I have never met Walter in person.  I have only corresponded via email.  The first email was in 2011 because I just really wanted an official Twin Galaxies certificate signed by him before he retired.  I watched the King of Kong and Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the arcade.  After watching those, I had to get a TG certificate.  I didn’t even care what game it was for, that is where it all started.     

Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?

I prefer PC because they are far more interactive, more controls, more customizable, and better graphics.  I do like consoles because their ease of use and it's not like you have to spend thousands to play the newest released games.  PC hardware is driven by the games, which is why I prefer to just play a couple older PC games that I can run well.  

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

If I could own any game, I think it would be a mint Robotron:2084 arcade cabinet.  Something about that game intrigues me.  It is a balance of risk and reward based on position and numbers, kind of like chess.  It is a game that you just can't do the same thing on every map to win.  No special pattern wins every map, you have to react accordingly.  I would love to be really good at that game.  I like the controls for it.  It is a game I think can keep reflexes and motor skills at a high level as you age.  

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

Growing up when I did, the Nintendo SNES reigned supreme.  That is my all-time favorite console before I switched to PC.  I don’t have a favorite company, they all made improvements to the console market.

What does it take to be a Video Game Journalist?

A good communicator, both verbal and written.  Someone with a wide focus that has knowledge in all facets of gaming.

How does video game music influence games past and present? 

What is funny is I can immediately pick out the opening door sound from Doom when I hear it.  I find it interesting how there is spillage from videogame sounds to film.  Games are so big now that millions can immediately relate just by hearing a simple sound.

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

As the younger generation grew up, they are the ones making games they wanted as kids.  I feel most games are aimed mainly at adults.  Kids are always going to want to play adult games, but rarely the other way around.  Overall, I believe they are aimed at adults and of course, the kids will still want to play them.

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

I prefer playing with friends online against the world.  Teamwork is very satisfying when you win and you learn when you lose.  I see it as a win-win. 

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

I haven't tried any of the newer generation portables.  I am not much to play games on a smart phone.  I guess I am not much of a portable gaming type.  I do have a really nice MAME hyper spin two player bar top cabinet that is somewhat portable. 

Which company makes the best games and why?

Developers like CD Project, Valve, Blizzard, Nintendo, and so many more make amazing and memorable games.  I don't have a single preference of any company.

Do you learn anything from playing video games?

Absolutely.  Problem solving, coordination, attention to detail, motor skills, memory, and improvisation.  They are also one of the least expensive hobbies.   

Are video games good for relieving stress?

Yes and no.  I know many that have broken more controllers and keyboards that I have ever owned.  Overall, yes they are good for relieving stress.  

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

I do except that it is just rarely ever pulled off well.  Most big video games these days cost millions to make themselves.  You take the average play-though for any game and it can easily exceed four or more hours from start to finish.  It is hard to take all of that story line and compress it into just 2-3 hours.  

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

Gordon Freeman, the right man in the wrong place that made all the difference in the world.  Someone looked at as so unlikely to succeed.   

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

Any game displayed through a screen.

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

Gameplay, no question.  Some of the most popular games still being played don't have much atmosphere, music, story, or art style.  It all comes down to gameplay.  Put a pong machine anywhere and someone will play it. 

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

Not the best part.  In arcades, they were looked at as just a quarter sink because there were some bosses that are just impossible to beat and not take damage.  It was just kind of a cheap tactic to make money on a game.  I feel they are done well when it is a team effort in defeating a boss, it adds a nice dynamic to a game.  But in the early days, they were just a way to make everyone put more quarters in the machine.

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

My favorite single player game is Half Life 2.  I really like the story and it was one of the only single player games that I just wanted to keep progressing in to see what was next.  It really set a precedent for me at the time with the graphics, story line, and interaction with weapons like the gravity gun.  

My favorite multiplayer game, TF2 hands down.  I have literally been playing that game for years and it appears to be a simple game, but it is actually quite complex.  With the class balances, weapon balances, and team dynamic make it very re-playable for me.  

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

It would be an open world game where everyone is their own main character.  Then again, I guess that is what life is. 

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

Genuine.  I have never met him, but I have seen multiple documentaries and interviews and he always seems very genuine.  He celebrates people’s accomplishments no matter how trivial most may view them; he makes them all important.  He is always willing to talk to anyone and share stories.  He makes everyone feel included and I feel that is a rare trait.   

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

I feel multiplayer will still be the path forward overall.  With Esports as popular as it is, multiplayer games will be the premier games.  In 20 years, we may not be too far off the whole ready player one Oasis type of game.  That would be a game changer if it could be pulled off on that scale.