Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Mike Imhof, who is displayed on card number 2712, from the Superstars of 2017. Mike and his wife Lisa are also on trading card number 2913. Along with his wife, Mike has a home arcade in Pittsburgh, PA called “RetroBrain Arcade”. Each year Mike hosts an annual home arcade party. Dozens of gaming enthusiasts come out to participate in this family friendly competition. For over a decade now, Mike has been collecting retro and modern-day consoles, pinball machines and arcade video games to share among the community. The reason Mike does this unselfishly is because he remembers going to an arcade with a group of friends and sharing the experience with others. He loves to recreate that feeling again in his home arcade.
Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from the video game?
No. Nine times out of ten they are awful. They never get anyone who actually knows what the game was about. I mean, have you seen Super Mario Bros. or House of the Dead? To be fair though, there have been few gems. I liked Silent Hill, Mortal Kombat, and the first Resident Evil.
What did you want to be when you grew up as a kid?
As a kid, I never had any career aspirations. I never said that I wanted to be a policeman or an astronaut. I always thought that my adult life would include my building a cabin in the woods and riding dirt bikes all day.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I play mostly everything, though I tend to stray from the beaten path, the more obscure or weird the better. You probably won’t find me with games like Fortnite or the latest sports title. I do favor Action/Adventure and Shooters.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
Zaxxon. It was in one of those small arcades that they used to have in the backs of department stores. It was dark and the lights and sounds blew me away. I was probably around 5 or 6 years old and had no idea what I was doing, but I was hooked.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
I like the current gen, but I tend to focus on classic games. I don’t feel gameplay has changed very much in the last 35 years. They use evolving technology to bring new levels of realism and continue to blur the line between games and cinematic experiences, but the bones of the classics are still there. As long they don’t forget to be “fun”, then I’m still in.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
Currently: Senua from Hellblade. I love the Norse mythology and the story in this game.
All time: The hero from the Quest for Glory.
Which company makes the best games and why?
Nearly all of my favorite games are by Sega. Why? It probably has something to do with the fact that I had a Sega Time-Out Arcade close by when I was growing up. I loved when a new game would show up at the arcade that you thought was great, then a couple of months later you’d be able to play it at home on your Genesis. In the late 80’s - 90’s we all picked our pony, either Sega or Nintendo. Sega had the best arcade conversions. I also have special love for Atari Arcade games.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
Of course not. I never heard of such thing until I met Walter. I’m thankful for Walter Day.
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
Six years ago, at ReplayFX Pittsburgh, PA
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
That I don’t already have? Altered Beast, we have history and I never get tired of it.
Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
No. Violence can be found anywhere and is not exclusive to gaming. I like violent video games in the manner that I like horror films. Getting a scare from a movie or a game is fun, and fun is what it’s all supposed to be about.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
I’m not really into online gaming. The way that I have the most fun with games is with friends. Friends, games and beers is best!
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Sure. They can also stress you out. I’ve invented new curse words while playing, also.
Where do you see video gaming in the next 20 years?
Games are ever moving to be a means of telling a story. As time goes on, I believe games and movies will continue to be spoken of in the same breath. With growing budgets and an advancing technology, the two industries will grow ever closer and eventually merge.