Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Jesse “Professor Chime” Collins who is displayed on card number 3156, from the Superstars of 2019 Collection. Since 2007, Professor Chime has been heavily involved in the gaming scene. He has done everything from digital media to marketing. Jesse started one of the first modern digital gaming conferences and let gamers listen to developers and members of the industry discuss gaming virtually. Ultimately this led to a job in 2017 for the Twin Galaxies website as the head of editorial. He has worked alongside of software developer Apogee and been credited on some of their software. Also, check out his work on GameDev.net and you can also see Jesse out on YouTube and an influencer that focuses on Pokémon via Twitch and YouTube.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
Look, I am not going to sugarcoat it. Classic games are fantastic and will always hold nostalgic value. But they are generally hard to play nowadays. I still boot up some old Super Mario Bros or Balloon Fight every so often to pass the time. But, aside from RPGs like Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda, it is just too easy to fizzle out from repetitiveness in the modern era. I can pop a quarter into a Ms. Pac-Man machine at my local arcade and play for a little bit and still feel good about it. But modern games have made too many leaps and bounds to ignore. I am not going to say that all modern games are great. Many are not. But some older games just did not age so well for the current generations.
Which console company is your favorite and why? Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or Microsoft?
I am a massive Microsoft fanboy, playing a ton of their games, hundreds of hours later into each Halo game, over the past two decades. But, for every inch I would give for Microsoft, I would go a full foot for Nintendo. Their games just don't fail to make me smile every generation. With games even as recent as Animal Crossing New Horizons, The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, and Super Mario Odyssey, I have put more time into the Switch than I have in any other system I’ve ever owned. And don't get me started on Pokémon. I grew up during a perfect era where I was 10 or 11 when Pokémon came west, and it has been in my life ever since.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
This is a trick question. Mobile gaming is where I do most of my gaming nowadays. However, in terms of actual systems, I am going with the Game Boy Advance line. Since it had backwards compatibility access to the Game Boy Color games, I was always able to play my older Pokémon games while getting into the newer stuff in the early 2000s. I might just wipe my entire answer and say “Nintendo Switch”, though. It is really rad and has gotten me through a lot of dark times.
Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?
This is a hard question to answer because I play different games on both. I like the ease of buying a console and not needing any more special parts if a new game requires a better system to play. But I do like that I can just say “I need more RAM in this PC” and not spend 400 dollars to upgrade. I love the ease of pulling up a game on a system and you are ready but love the massive library of games I have on PC.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
I was born into a gaming household as an only child. My dad had an Atari 2600, Sega Master System, and an NES. I know I played them as a kid and enjoyed things like Super Mario Bros throughout my childhood. But, for some reason, Lemmings on an old Hyper DOS system always stands out as one of my earliest memories of gaming. I remember, we also had Wolfenstein 3D and Red Baron on that computer as well, but Lemmings stands out the most in my memory. As for arcade games, Star Wars Trilogy Arcade was one of my first (and still one of my favorites) because there was one that showed up in a restaurant I had frequented as a kid.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
My love of games transcends genre, to be fair. I enjoy games nowadays like Pokémon and Animal Crossing New Horizons, but also adore games like the Halo and Borderlands series. As I am typing this, it’s cutting into my “Fall Guys” time that could be used to try to get crowns!
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
I’m going to cheat on this answer and answer with both arcade and pinball. If I could own a single arcade game, it’d be Ms. Pac-Man as the cocktail table. I’m sure I’d play a ton of it. If it were a pinball game, however, I’d be going with 1992 Bally The Addams Family one. I sunk a lot of quarters into that during my childhood.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
I prefer single player games because there is way less in terms of trolls and griefers when you play them. don't get me wrong, I enjoy the occasional multiplayer game as well, but I don't like doing random public matches when I can help it anymore. don't know your team? They are unlikely to help you in a tough match or heal you because they don't know how. I just want someone to help me push the payload!
Which company makes the best games and why?
Nintendo just comes out swinging every time. Even when a Nintendo game is less impactful, it still towers above many other companies. They know their formulas, know how to hit the right nerve for their fans, and they keep on their tracks. You must commend them for figuring out what makes games like Pokémon or Mario great, then give a new spin on each new incarnation.
What does it take to be a video game journalist?
I am not going to say journalism is difficult, because it is not. But what is difficult is knowing how to pull opinions off your news and to have fun with your writing. People can read your boredom in your voice if you are bored with what you are writing. I remember an early lesson I learned from Bill “The Game Doctor” Kunkel when I was just fresh out of high school that had me write an article on a topic. I gave it to him, and he said “What is this? I am not a teacher. This is not for a grade. Why did you hand me an essay? Do it again. Write in your own voice about the topic. I know you are excited about it, so show me. Type how you talk, and you’ll have this in the bag.”
How does video game music influence games past and present?
Music creates the atmosphere in games and there is no other way around it. Developers generally understand that the soundtrack to their game will become the embodiment of their game. I cannot say “Super Mario” without immediately invoking Koji Kondo’s music. When I say “Halo”, you can hear Marty O’Donnell’s monk choir. Modern games do it too. For instance, take the now-iconic Undertale. It is an indie game, but Toby Fox’s Megalovania sits among the greats nowadays.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
Honestly, I would have never even considered it an option to be on a trading card at all. I was not athletic. I did not do anything super special. Once I got into the game industry, I still did not see my work as important, but I enjoyed what I did, nonetheless. Not only am I now a part of game history, as minor as it is, makes me happy every time I see my card. A young version of me could not even comprehend it.
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
I think I originally met Walter Day via Facebook, honestly. I worked alongside the late, great Bill “The Game Doctor” Kunkel around 2007 and dove hardcore into the history of video games, which led me to the King of Kong film, and then Walter.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
“Helpful”. He helped direct me to a lot of resources and people over the years that were real icons of the industry when I needed it.
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
Games are aimed at their intended audience. We have gotten past the part where video games were marketed as toys because anyone of any age plays them. But games of course have their intended demographic, with others joining the fun. Pokémon is the best example here. The games are clearly for children and casual players, but many adults play it too. There is nothing wrong with it. It’s part of the nostalgia factor from a lot of those adults that played the original Pokémon games and just love the series. But, for all the older crowd you see on places like Twitter, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company really do gear it towards kids, with the intentional acceptance of older crowds.
Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
Not even a question worth answering. Of course, video games don't cause violence. They are not some “murder simulator” that teaches people how to be sociopathic or to properly use a weapon. I grew up around guns. I can honestly say that Halo or Counter Strike or Call of Duty would leave anyone ill-equipped to know even the basics of shooting. Humans, as a whole, have been violent for our entire history and people have to find something to blame. It was jazz music, then comic books, then Dungeons and Dragons. Those fingers all eventually went away. Give it time. Something else will finally start getting the blame and we move on.
Do you learn anything from playing video games?
I think video games taught me problem solving better than school ever did. Tricky puzzles and difficult boss rooms are something to overcome and learning that you need to dodge THERE so you don’t get hit is just a modified scientific method.
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Absolutely. They always say that video games make people violent. I would argue that I’d be an angrier, worse-mental-shape version of myself had I not had the stress ball that is “video games” in my life.
Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from the video game?
Sometimes they can be pretty good. I love things like easter eggs and popcorn flicks, so seeing the medium that I enjoy play out is always fun, even in the bad cases. But then you get things like Detective Pikachu that just flew past any of my expectations. As much as I love Pokémon, that movie had NO right to be that good as a “video game movie”.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
Mario. I don’t mean to be so basic in this answer, but I grew up playing all the versions of him. He taught me I could be anything and still save the day, no matter if I decided to be a doctor or a plumber.
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘video games’?
My entire life. I’ve been playing games since I could hold a controller and I wouldn’t change a bit of it.
Of these five elements video games, which is the most important to you and why? Gameplay, Atmosphere, Music, Story, Art style
Gameplay, without a doubt, is the most important element to me. You can have a beautifully crafted story, soundtrack, feel, and visuals, but if the game is boring, you are just no fun. Weirdly, the recent “Fall Guys” comes to mind. It does not need anything special. The people are all simplistic bean people. There is no story, the music is repetitive, and the entire game is chaotic. But the gameplay is just so good that you can accidentally lose two hours of your life and not realize while playing it. That is why gameplay wins here.
Do you find boss battles to be the best part of a video game?
Not necessarily, but I am sure it depends on the game. However, nothing has the same feeling as taking down a really hard boss. I immediately think of the original Bioshock. The first time you take down a Big Daddy, it felt like you overcame such a huge obstacle. But, later in the game, once you upgrade yourself more, they feel nearly as weak as any other enemy, with extra steps.
What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer game?
Both games are a bit of a cheat because they both had single player AND multiplayer modes. But the Pokémon series would be my favorite game to play in single player. For multiplayer, the Borderlands franchise is just one of my favorite games to team up with friends and play through. Halo is a close second for both answers as well, with the story and the matchmaking.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
For my own ideas? Those are vaulted away for if I ever utilize any of them. However, with comic book-based games being a big thing lately, I would love to be a part of a game based on Bob Burden’s Mysterymen Comics if that ever happens. You know, the one they made into a Ben Stiller movie back in the 90s. Basing it on the comic, it would feel like a Suicide Squad game, but the perma-death could be real. Plus, the Flaming Carrot and The Shoveler need to be in more modern media.
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
I am a Twitch Affiliate streamer and YouTube Partner nowadays, focusing on mostly family friendly games like Pokémon and Animal Crossing, with others mixed in. I still write freelance for different publications, as well, but have taken a temporary backseat while I focus on my own non-industry businesses and projects.
Where do you see video gaming in the next 20 years?
I would have liked to see us go full VR with the virtual reality renaissance we had a few years back. I am not so sure it will be so cut and dry anymore. If we’re talking twenty years from now, I hope we get all of the console manufacturers to play nice, let the console wars of the past be nothing but history, and let gamers enjoy their games no matter what they enjoy.