Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Stephen Westbrook who currently is displayed on card number 3309, from the Superstars of 2020 Collection. Stephen is one of those hands-on technicians that can fix any arcade games and uses his talent to help friends in need of repair. This experience led him to opening up his own arcade with Emily Young in 2018 called ‘Garage Arcade’ located in Russellville, Arkansas. He also teamed up with a friend to open a retro gaming store which sells and repairs retro and current console games. Steve is in the planning on opening up a second arcade which offers free-play admission-base in his hometown of Fort Smith, Arkansas.
What is your greatest memory of a gaming conference you have attended so in your career?
My first and only gaming conference would be the 2019 MoGameCon. I brought some arcade games to the event and was made to feel like a member of the family on my first event! If things work out in 2021 look for some amazing fun!
Do you remember when you played your first arcade game and what do you remember about the experience?
ABSOLUTELY! The first arcade game I played was Atari Star Wars. I remember going to the Arcade with my uncle Neal and playing Star Wars and Pole Position. To this day 2 of my favorites.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of arcade games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
I love arcade games period! I believe they are targeting a different outcome. Today people compare how many tickets they won vs my generation comparing scores.
When did your arcade open and how was the initial response?
The first Arcade was a partnership with Emily Young of Russellville, Arkansas. It opened March 2, 2018 and was and still is a huge success!
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
My favorite portable gaming device is the Original Nintendo Gameboy. Why? Because its old school!
Do you prefer arcade or pinball machines and why?
I prefer Arcade machines because I’m terrible at pinball. Not very good at Arcade games either but I have fun with them!
What arcade games do you play today and what are your favorite genres of games?
I love fighting games so I tend to gravitate towards Mortal Kombat. I also like street fighter 2 and many others but MK is the best!
What does it take for someone to be in the arcade business, and what advice would you give a person who would like to get into the industry?
Patience. These games are old and have seen better days so you spend a lot of time keeping these amazing machines working. It’s a lot of work but if you really want to do it its very rewarding.
If you were not into gaming, what would you be doing instead?
Auto sales and racing.
Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
No! I believe that video games, like movies, have a ratings system for a reason. It is the parents’ job to be educated on the types of games their children are playing.
Which company today, in your opinion, makes the best gaming machines and why?
Arcade games: Raw Thrills. Pinball: Stern.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
Never in a million years would I have guessed it would even be possible.
When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?
I met the great Walter Day at the 2019 MoGameCon for the first time. We had spoken online many times so the meeting was very exciting. For me at least.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Legend. 1 word isn’t enough to describe Walter though. Walter is the kindest and most approachable person I have ever met. He never seems to meet a stranger.
If you could only own one arcade game in the world, what would it be and why?
Atari Star Wars. It was the first and if I had to pick one to be the last what better game than the first!
When did you know you wanted to be in the profession for career?
When I was 6 and got my Nintendo Entertainment System.
Where do you see arcades and amusement in the next 10 years?
Still going strong. They will evolve like they have from the start and I hope guys like me are still around keeping them working for future generations to enjoy.