Trading Card Spotlight - Armando Gonzalez
Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Armando Gonzalez who currently is displayed on card number 2536, from the Superstars of 2016 Collection. He is also featured on trading card number 3187. Armando is considered the best Galaga player on the planet. He holds both major world records on Galaga arcade. Armando achieved the score of 9,525,700, Tournament settings. Gonzalez also scored 17,684,050 points based on Marathon settings. As part of a team of Galaga experts, he has helped create a Galaga Forum which is the center of all Galaga records and information. You can visit the forum here. www.galagaforum.com. Besides Galaga, some of Armando’s favorite games are Ikari Warriors, Twin cobra and Rastan.
When did you first play Galaga and what do you remember about it?
I remember first seeing Galaga in the place right here, I still live next to it, it’s like a restaurant, called ‘El Pollo’, which is The Chicken. They had Galaga there. I didn’t like it, I’ll be honest with you. It didn't have the fast fire chip in there otherwise I would have loved it, but it was a slow fire Galaga. That’s all I remember, I was not good at it, I was not interested in it. I played other games they had there and that place, there was only like 3 video games at the time. What thing I do remember about Galaga at that time is we could easily get some credits by folding a paper clip in a U shape and getting multiple credits. I remember doing that, but other than that I really didn’t care about Galaga at that time.
What does it take to be a world record holder on an arcade game?
That’s an easy one. Dedication, dedication and practice, dedication and wanting it. The only reason I got the world record is because I was motivated. I try to do personal records every time I play the game. With Galaga I always do that.. Galaga always you to do that. I just loved the fact that I saw my gradual improvement, day after day, week after week, month after month. I really enjoyed that. I wasn’t really going for world records at that time, I just enjoyed getting those personal records. Once I started going into uncharted territories, reaching like 3 million, 4 million, the arcade owner told me, you are already passed the world record, I said really? I was kind of in disbelief, I didn’t believe him, but then he kind of showed me and I was like wow this is pretty cool. That is the only way to verify my world record so I always thought to myself I guess I will be the uncrowned champ in my book, but then I met Hector, the world champion in Track and Field, who helped me obtain the world record score in Galaga, he saw my potential and took me under his wing and that’s pretty awesome. We have a good friendship, it is pretty awesome that he helped me out, he didn’t have to do that. I really appreciate him helping me out, otherwise I would still be unknown.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
The First arcade game I remember was defender, I was 4 years old. I remember this because of the bright colors and sounds. The crazy, high pitch sounds caught my interest, even though I am not good at Defender. I was looking for a game that stood out.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
New generation of console games are fighting among friends and shooting, die respawn, die respawn, it’s kind of boring to me, I don’t play them, I think it’s not fun that when you die you respawn and respawn. I Find it boring, an am not interested. I like to start and finish, when you die, that’s it.
I haven’t really gone through the new video games, but the ones I have seen, like in Dave and Busters and other places, there not meant to last, putting money it and continuing, doesn’t see like there is longevity in those games, they are like money guzzlers, which is kind of a downer.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video Game Trading card?
Never thought of that. It’s kind of nice and cool to see the back with my name and accomplishments on it, being able to give out the cards when people ask. I have a bunch of them, I really haven’t signed them and given them out, because I haven’t been asked LOL.
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the Trading Card? If so, where?
No, I have not. Flying under the radar right now. I only received media coverage on the scoreboard when Andrew defeating me.
Do you have any other high scores or world records?
I do have a pretty decent score on Ms. Pac-Man it was around 720,000. I have the two most coveted Galaga WR’S and that is enough for me. I am proud to be the first Galaga Master to have both records at the same time.
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
He reached out to me back in 2016, I didn’t meet him per say, he reached out email, I responded back. When I did finally come face to face with him, I believe it was in Banning, the largest pinball museum, I met him there. He knew who I was, so I was pretty much in shock, because I didn’t have records yet. He knew who I was, so I was pretty in shock, because I didn’t have records yet. That is pretty cool that he remembered me. I think he knew I was an up and coming Galaga player. That was pretty nice.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Well when I see him and I think of him, I think of a kind man. Kind and caring, caring in regards to the fellow gamers, kind because he cares about everybody. He knows everybody by their first name which is pretty cool.
What is your opinion on Galaxian and is that something you are shooting for a record?
I played Galaxian a long time ago, at an arcade, it’s too slow, it’s not as appealing with the graphics. It’s too primitive, I just don’t like it. It’s ok but I am not interested, I have no record for that game, it’s just too boring for me.
Do you prefer Arcade or Console gaming and why?
I prefer arcade gaming for sure. Console gaming, no thanks, I’d rather go out to where the people are at and play and get a good crowd looking at the gameplay, if there is a crowd, I always hope there is, It’s fun to show off right? That is kind of awesome. With consoles you can’t do that, you’re just at home, boring you know. It doesn’t excite me.I would rather go to an arcade, which on a side note, I would actually make an effort to visit my local arcade. A few years ago I didn’t have a car on purpose. I didn’t want a car load or any car, I was just going to bike or use the bus. I would actually travel to the arcade via bus or by walking, or use a combination of walking, bus, and bicycle to get there and to play. I was motivated to play at the arcade instead of being home sitting down like a bum. LOL. I just didn’t want to be home at all.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
Well, aside from Galaga, I am good at other games too. I haven’t yet played Ikari Warriors or Twin cobra. Rastan is one I really do like, I finished that game. Right now, what I’m playing is a mobile game called Mobile Legends, which is kind of like League of Legends, but it’s with your phone. It’s very addicting, I am very addicted to that game. It is very fun. I like the idea that it is compete, 5 vs. 5. collaborate, everyone collaborates with the same goal of taking down the towers, it’s pretty cool, I really enjoy that game, it keeps my competitive juices going, especially since I can’t really visit the arcade because my wife is pregnant. I can’t really leave her to go to the arcade. So, I am here, sometimes I will play a little bit, but not too much because the game can take around 30 minutes to play. It’s totally fun and very competitive which Is what I love. I suck at it, but its ok, I am a newbie, but it’s ok.
If you could own one arcade game besides Galaga, what would it be and why?
Good question. I love playing Ms. Pac-man. The one with the hyper chip, the fast Ms. Pac-Man. I am pretty good at it. It’s really fun. That’s one I really like, but actually now that I think about it, Tetris. I love to play Tetris because it’s so challenging. It’s good for brain, right? I just love that game, it’s difficult as it gets faster and faster, but it’s so addicting too and very fun. I like to challenge myself all the time. I am ok in that game, but not a super expert, but yeh, it’s a cool game, I really enjoy that one.
Which console company is your favorite and why? Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or Microsoft?
It would be Sega, I had two. I had the Genesis and I had the Dreamcast. I had my favorite games, like Vigilante 8, some flying games and Powerstone. Powerstone and Vigilante 8 were my favorite console games and I really enjoyed those games in the early 2000’s or late 90’s. I really loved that console system. I did have the XBOX and played Halo, but I prefer the Dreamcast. I have lots of good memories playing those games.
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
I think it’s pretty much in the middle, the younger generation, but not too young, I think its somewhere in the middle, in the teens. Just like those collaborative games, the mobile phones, trying to pack all the games in there. I think it’s for the teens and older.
Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
No, I don’t think so. It’s your upbringing, it’s your family and if you have a good strong family. With a strong family bond everything should be fine, I think, I grew up playing all these games that were violent and I turned out ok. It’s Family, I think.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
I like both I guess, there are times when I want to be by myself, I play Galaga alone, me against the score. I think a lot and that helps kill time and I also like to play against other people on the other side of the world playing Mobile Legends. I think it is kind of cool, I really enjoy that as well. I try to keep competitive with them and beating each other is kind of cool.
Which company makes the best games and why?
Those companies make pretty good games. They are long lasting and well known game makers. They stood out for the last 30, 40 years.
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Oh definitely. I would actually play Galaga for half an hour to an hour. That was pretty cool. I enjoyed that a lot. It relieves the stress.
What is the overall goal of the Galaga forums?
The goal was initially when we formed it was to keep track of Galaga scores, make it more legitimate. We wanted to bring Galaga to the spotlight. It gained a lot of attention at Score Wars. We felt it would be a shame to go back to the different parts of the world we came from and act like nothing happened so we built on Score Wars to start tracking Galaga records to recognize Galaga players, educate the players, with the scores to be at the forefront. It is pretty cool, I formed it with Phil, John, Mark Shultz and Andrew. That was the core group. As time has progressed, as years have passed it has kind of changed a little bit, so we got new Galaga forum representatives. The more the merrier.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
The only one I can think of that stands out, the one I really enjoy, is the Rastan character, like Conon the Barbarian. He is a powerful strong dude, going through different stages to liberate the queen. I forgot the story but I think he takes the throne. I also like Rastan a lot. I can finish that game.
What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer game?
My favorite multiplayer game right now is mobile legends but back in the day it was Gauntlet. Gauntlet is pretty cool. I wasn’t good at as it was very difficult. It was fun having all these characters kind of like Mobile legends too, you have like a Warrior, a Mage, a tank, you have a fighter, so it’s kind of the same concept. I like multiplayer Gauntlet. For a single player game I like Rastan, and Russian Attack was a good one too.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
That’s a good one. I wouldn’t do a game like that. I would do more of a puzzle game, like Tetris, Arkanoid. where the person constantly challenges themselves over and over and over, there is no end in sight and your brain is constantly being challenged. That’s the kind of game I would like to create. Something fun and not boring as well.
What tips do you have for other gamers who love Galaga?
I used to run competitively so I would strive to get personal best records in the mile, two miles, half marathon, and marathon. I apply the same running concept to Galaga, strive for your personal bests. I would set small realistic goals and once I achieve those goals then I would set other realistic goals. Once I achieved my second goals then I would try to reach the goals again with minimal ship losses, and then I would try to reach the same goal again but without any losses. I would play like an hour or two every other day, that was my practice for the week (M-F). I would not play many hours in a day because I might get burned out. I believe in quality over quantity. On Saturday’s I would go all out and try to obliterate my goals without losing a ship or have minimal ship losses. Running is like that, train the whole week and race on the weekend. I repeated this cycle over a course of a year or so. Other tips-
(1) Make the red moths a priority to kill as many as you can.
(2) When the Green Galaga is about to capture you, shoot him once to turn him purple that way you only have to shoot at him once and minimize the chances of killing your captured ship.
(3) Develop a pattern for the three waves. The first wave and the third wave you can use the same pattern however, the second wave which is harder will be a different pattern from the first and third.
(4) When bees are entering the battlefield (space) and they are settling in there are a few bees that will try leave the battlefield, let them leave. Don’t kill the bees that are leaving the battlefield that way it gives you a second or two to kill the bees that are at the top. The moths too, don’t kill the moths that are exiting the battlefield.
(5) At the beginning of each wave you should fire a test shot to see where you are lining up your missiles. You should use “HIGH SCORE” to line up your shots. For example - the first wave I like to shoot at the G in HIGH, the second wave (hardest stage) I shoot at the H the first H in HIGH, and then the third wave I shoot again at the G in High. I will always fire a missile at the beginning of each wave to make sure I’m lined up correctly to attack the enemy.
(6) Try to clear one side or the other side. You cannot have bees and moths on both sides.
(7) Try to stay in the middle and if you are pushed to the side try to push the enemies back and then pull back. It’s like a dance. You and the enemy are going back and forth. Try not to get pushed into the corner. Fight back and push them back.
What is the secret of getting a perfect score on the bonus levels? You have to remember what bonus stage monsters you are destroying cause if you forget you will be out of position. Once you become a Galaga Master being out of position will not be a big deal. You have to figure out where to position your fighter every single bonus stage. Through trial and error, you will figure out where to position the fighter. PS I don’t always get perfect scores on bonus stages.
Are you still involved with competitive gaming today, and what are your goals?
After reaching the 2 most sought after Galaga records, I’m taking a break. I am having a baby. That has put Galaga on the back burner, but with my wife’s support, I hope to come back and try to take a step at the records one more time with the 5 ship and 18 ship. I’ll see if I can break them again. I Just want to get the scores as high as I can before I physically can’t. My goal is to beat my personal records.
Where do you see Video gaming in the next 20 years?
In the phones. the mobiles. The games we own will be in there, even the classics we own, squeezed in there and technology would allow that. So, that’s where it would be heading.