Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Sam Tuff who currently is displayed on card number 3538, from the Superstars of 2021. Sam, from the North East of England, is a World Record Tetris player. He holds over 60 world records on the Twin Galaxies Scoreboard for Tetris and 180 gaming world records overall. Sam plays on all types of consoles from the era of the Sega Genesis to the current Nintendo Switch. He loves attending numerous gaming events, whether it's local tournaments or with a local group to play the latest releases from Nintendo. Another cool little fact is that Sam has found a way to win huge amounts of tickets on Space Invader Frenzy at his local arcade. These tickets have won him 11 Nintendo Switch consoles. That is a lot of tickets.
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘Tetris’?
The first thing that comes to mind would be the popular term, Tetris Effect, which is what happens when, typically after a game of Tetris, you start seeing a whole game of Tetris develop in your mind’s eye, or maybe even in your dreams. I think about how my typical playthrough on a majority of Tetris games tends to be rather Zen; you play the game enough and learn the ins and outs of it, how one-piece compliments another, the whole process becomes practically second nature.
When did you first play Tetris and what do you remember about it?
I vividly recall in my teen years playing Tetris Friends when it was available on social media. It’s hard to believe I started this game, not having a clue what I was doing, but gradually, the more I played, the more I started to adapt. I remember my sister had the highest score on my entire friends list and being over the moon once I hit number one.
What does it take to be a world record holder on a console game?
There will be many factors in becoming a world record holder, but I believe adaptability is key. The more you play a game, the more likely you are to notice the intricacies and patterns that emerge. I think there’s beauty in learning, little by little, about how the game works, then eventually getting past the obstacles you’ve previously struggled with.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
I can recall the first video game I’ve played would be Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Mega Drive; it’s straightforward and solid gameplay, as well as it’s extremely memorable soundtrack are just two of its most remarkable traits for me. I also recall my family always looking back at when I was a toddler, playing the game with the controller upside down. I managed to get past the first level of Green Hill Zone somehow.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
I don’t think young Sam Tuff would have ever seen this coming. If I travelled back in time to tell him about this, he’d be ecstatic!
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
I’m yet to meet Walter Day in person; currently, I’ve only communicated with him online, I first spoke to him to purchase a copy of Walter Day’s Gaming Superstars Volume One, the book which has helped inspire me to reach my goals on Twin Galaxies.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
In one word; Iconic. Walter is the first person who comes to mind when I think about Esports, particularly in the arcade and retro category. It’s inspiring to see the commitment in his craft, which is demonstrated through the records he has archived since the beginning, up to the trading card collection that continues to grow, even today.
What do you look for in a game to break a world record?
It really depends on the game you play, though more often than not, it will be whatever gets you the best results, or helps towards securing a high score. Various methods include recognizing patterns, the most efficient strategy to score the most points, and so on.
Do you prefer arcade or console gaming and why?
I prefer console gaming, although arcade gaming is a close second! The main reason being is because I’ve grown up with console games the most, with their rich library of games for each console. That being said, with today’s technology, we can enjoy the best of both worlds, as you can occasionally find arcade games via online markets for you to purchase and digitally download!
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
You’ll mostly find me on a variety of different games on my Nintendo Switch and a select few games on my VR. It’s hard for me to pick favorite genres when there are so many great games covering all of them, but one of the most notable for me would be Rhythm games!
If you could break a new record on a game, what would it be and why?
I’d love to see VR games to be added to Twin Galaxies’ archives, I’d probably go straight for Beat Saber since Rhythm games are another selection of games, I aim to break records on.
Which console company is your favorite and why? Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or Microsoft?
Sega had the most nostalgic consoles for me, such as the Mega Drive, Master System and Dreamcast, but overall, Nintendo is currently my favorite console company. If there’s one thing I love, it’s portable entertainment; being able to take a Game Boy Advance, a Nintendo DS, or even a Nintendo Switch with me wherever I go! It’s amazing how we can now play an abundance of games, old and new, on the go!
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
I don’t think there’s one sole target audience for video games, but I reckon if I wasn’t introduced to them as a child, I may not have been as passionate about gaming as I am today.
Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
I don’t believe so. If it’s realistically gory, however, I might find myself looking away out of slight squeamishness. I’m no psychologist, but I doubt video games could really lead to violence and I think it’s a bit of a jump to conclusions. If anything, from what I’ve seen throughout my time playing in my local groups and events, they can lead to a stronger sense of togetherness and community. When we play these games, whether they’re for all ages, or older audiences, we never really focus on any of its ‘violent’ aspects. We focused more on what made the games fun to play.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
Usually, I like to play video games alone. When I start a game, I like to have my own, personal experience with it first, before I talk about it, or play it with friends. Playing with or against mates is fun too, as it’s a great way to build friendships and make so many good memories, especially during events!
Which company makes the best games and why?
Outside of Nintendo, my favorite company would have to be Namco. I’ve lost count of all the unforgettable series of arcade and console games they’ve developed, which radiate their own sense of adventure and charm, jumping across the various dreamy landscapes in Klonoa, testing your dexterity in the crazy Point Blank minigames and drumming away to some Taiko No Tatsujin! And that’s just scraping the surface of the games they’ve created over the years!
Are video games good for relieving stress?
When you pick the right game, definitely! Take a game like Katamari Damacy, for instance (Another brilliant Namco game which was re-released for the Nintendo Switch): There’s something pleasing and fulfilling about rolling up a ball, which starts off as a tiny orb on the ground, rolling up drawing pins, then gradually growing in size as it accumulates even bigger objects, from household appliances, to garden fences, even buildings! Eventually, you’ll end up rolling up a whole island! It’s such fun watching your Katamari grow into a ridiculous size in such a comedic yet satisfying fashion!
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
My favorite video game character would have to be Klonoa; the Klonoa series has to be my all-time favorite selection of games from childhood. I can vividly recall being immersed in Door to Phantomile and Lunatea’s Veil. Klonoa was probably the character who had me so interested in dreams as a lad. I wouldn’t be surprised if it got me into writing poetry when I was in school. Klonoa was such a positive influence, venturing into various dream worlds and helping those in need, his games and adventures are probably my most heartfelt gaming experiences, which enriched my passion for video games.
What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer game?
With an abundance of amazing games out there, it’s difficult for me to pick an all-time favorite, but one of my favorite single player games would have to be Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil. A good choice for multiplayer would be Super Smash Bros.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
Today’s generation of games definitely has its place, with plenty of the more modern games I’ve grown to enjoy. It’s great to see new, innovative ideas for our modern platforms to expand our gaming libraries, experiences, as well as our connectivity with other players. However, I will always find myself coming back to the retro games in my collection, not just because of their distinct charm and nostalgia, but because they have proven that even video games with only two dimensions and simplistic gameplay, can be some of the best games out there.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
I’ve always been more of a player than a creator, but if I could design a game from the top of my head, it would be about a customizable main character, who fends off pixelated villains from different video games. The game would shift from scrolling beat-em-up to a light-gun shooter and other familiar genres. The main character’s objective, gather tons of arcade tickets from defeating enemies, thus saving the world and most importantly, win the arcade’s grand prize!
Are you still trying to break other world records in gaming, and what are your goals?
I am not one for resting on my laurels. There are still a few more records that, with some practice, I can break. If I can acquire them, I aim to go for more copies of Tetris, simply because it’s fun to see how many Tetris records, I can possibly break! I also aim to put practice on Tetris for the NES, which is probably my most challenging platform for it yet.
Where do you see video gaming in the next 20 years?
There’s no telling how far we will have advanced in 20 years. Just when you think developers have hit their limit in terms of ideas and new technology, a new and awe-inspiring idea is announced. The sky's the limit, from fully immersive Virtual Reality to holographic video games! However, gaming develops, I imagine I’ll be there to watch it unfold!