Trading Card Spotlight - Andrew Welburn
Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Andrew Welburn, who currently is displayed on card number 1643, from the Superstars of 2014 Collection. Andrew has been collecting arcade games since 1997 and has been repairing very rare and undocumented PCBs for collectors since 2000 at http://andysarcade.com. For a period of two years he wrote a video game section in the Antique Amusements Magazine before its demise and has appeared on national TV and in magazines in the UK covering the history and culture of video games. He has also been involved in supplying arcade machines for TV shows and for classic gaming events in the UK and USA.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I mainly just play the games that I am repairing, usually in not-ideal conditions, with the monitor rotated 90 degrees because it’s on my workbench, or with approximate controls in very substandard conditions. I think I could beat anyone at Space Invaders played sideways as I fix the most amount of those and am pixel-perfect with the gameplay.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
I was a big PC FPS player in the late 1990's, team games were mind blowing and provided the most fun ever.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
I had a TV pong clone that was made in my home town (called Sportel) that I dissected as a kid when it stopped working and promptly gave me my first real electric shock of direct 240v AC as I had no business opening up such a thing at the age of nine, while it was still plugged into the wall. I had an Acorn Electron as my first computer which only ever had bootleg and knock-off versions of arcade games written for it. I cannot remember my first arcade game, but it would have been a Taito Space Invaders cocktail table in a pub somewhere in England because these were ubiquitous, later Galaxian overtook them in ubiquity. Galaxian was my favorite game probably because I played it so often everywhere in cocktail tables, it also happened to come out the very month I was born!
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
I stopped playing modern games a decade ago. Modern games have the space to envelop the user in a detailed story and require a huge time investment. Classic arcade games are still pick-up-and-leave deals.
Are you still documenting classic games, and do you do anything with the modern-day era?
The quest to learn more about the hardware and etymology of the earliest games is seemingly never ending. My era of focus is the Bronze Age (the 1970's) which is not very well documented, and the main actors and companies are long since retired or gone, making it more of a challenge.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
I've always liked Nintendo Gameboys, I still travel with a DS occasionally.
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
Weirs Beach New Hampshire in the spring of 2001 – at Funspot. World videogame high score championships.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Hippy – because he is an earnest product of his era – and I mean that in an affectionate way.
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
I have owned and sold everything I always wanted to get. My collection now consists of unique rarities that should really be in museums. The game I most want in the future will be some kind of cabinet variant or hideously rare game that I don't even know about yet :)
How does video game music influence games past and present?
Audio is pivotal to the illusion of being there, inside the game world. The early analogue video effects made purely from discreet components was far superior sounding to any of the nonsense that came out of the 80's, it however lacked sophistication and had no malleability at all, and hence it went the way of the dinosaurs.
What is your favorite part of documenting video game archives?
Finding unknown games or finding that that game you thought was obscure really wasn't and in fact copied an earlier more obscure title!
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
Each game will be targeted at a certain demographic. The gaming generation is old enough now that people who grew up with video games are having grand kids. This is an outdated question.
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Certain games yes.
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘video games’?
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
Nope, I was an avid trading card collector but was never into personalities, and I don't much like the cult of personality that has kept in the video arcade game collecting world.
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the trading card? If so, where?
Nope, but plenty of media coverage for my work with video games themselves.
Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
No. Every creative output of our society is rated age appropriate. I firmly believe young kids should be shielded from age-restricted games for a multitude of reasons, in the same way that they are shielded from porn, smoking and alcohol.
Where do you see video gaming in the next 20 years?