Our next Trading Card Spotlight features James White who currently is card number 3958, from the Superstars of 2021 Collection. James is also displayed on card number 281, from the Superstars of 2012 Collection. James has been a regular for the past 11 years at the largest arcade in the world, Galloping Ghost Arcade. He has multiple high scores on dozens of machines in the arcade and was crowned the ‘Player of the Year’ in 2012 and ‘Player of the Decade’ (2010-2020) by Doc Mack, owner of Galloping Ghost. July 24th, 2021 marks the 50th birthday of James White. A special birthday party celebration will be held on this day and trading card 3958 and other awards will be presented by Walter Day himself. Many gaming celebrities will be attendance to help celebrate this wonderful occasion.
Do you remember your first arcade game you played at Galloping Ghost arcade and what do you remember about it?
The first Arcade Game that I played at the Galloping Ghost Arcade was Mr. Do, and they posted my score.
When did you first start working at Lifetime Athletic and what was your first impression?
I actually began working in the Health Club arena 28 years ago at our local (Rich Port) YMCA. When they closed down and downsized in 2007, I transitioned to Burr Ridge Lifetime Athletic (BRLTA). I was immediate impressed by their facilities and their professionalism. I am proud to be a BRLTA Operations Team member.
How often do you go to Galloping Ghost arcade and what is your favorite thing about it?
I typically visit GGA 3 to 4 times a week. I love the comradery. There is always something going on there, always a new game to try.
What was the best year in gaming you ever had and why?
It would have to be 2012, when I met Walter and was also named the GGA Gamer of the Year. At that time, I believe that I had 16 world records.
What arcade games today are your favorite and what makes them special?
My favorites are some of the current groups for which I hold world records: Astron Belt (’82 first major arcade laser disk), Galaxy Ranger (’83), US vs. Them (’84, another laser disk, unfortunately on 2014 GGA Developer’ Day with Jeff Lee and Warren Davis and others from the team, I was in Ottumwa at the Icon) and Bubbles (’82). Also, Forgotten Worlds (’88) for which I have battled with Brian Schillo for the world record bragging rights.
If you could own one arcade game from Galloping Ghost arcade, what would it be and why?
It would be Q*bert (’82, Jeff Lee, Warren Davis and others), primarily because it is so the unique and the fact that George Leutz (Brooklyn, New York) played one game of Q*bert for eighty-four hours and forty-eight minutes on February 14–18, 2013 at Richie Knucklez' Arcade in Flemington, New Jersey. He scored 37,163,080 points, a mind-boggling accomplishment.
When did you first go to Galloping Ghost arcade?
My first day at the GGA was in October 2010, about two months after it opened. I was amazed, and still am.
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
I first met Walter Day in April of 2012 at the Midwest Gaming Classic in Milwaukee. That was the first time that I ever saw a Video trading card, took one home, and showed it to my dad and said, someday I will have my own. He didn’t believe me and stated talking about his mom throwing away his 1950’s baseball trading cards. One of which (Henry Arron) he claimed was worth hundreds, and thousands if in mint condition.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Walter Day for me was inspirational. I am certainly not as smart or as polished as most of the arcade game record holders. Walter however inspired me to persevere, and to try to be student of the game. This meant observing the strategies of the professionals. What I lack in smarts, I make up for by having an almost photographic memory, which over the years has served me well. Walter with his thousands of video game trading cards has given me the “why not me attitude!”
What does it take to be a world champion arcade player?
Persistence, perseverance, and a willingness to accept failure and get back up again, hopefully with a new or more informed approach.
How does arcade music influence games past and present?
Much of the arcade game music is repetitive, some of it meshes well with the action, some of it is unique such as Gyruss, with an electronic stereo up-tempo arrangement of J. S. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor (BWV 565). I enjoy playing Daytona USA, where the pounding rock music changes for each different racecourse.
What advice would you give to younger kids who don’t know about the arcade scene?
I think I would tell them to go with their parent(s) or a family member who is still playing or has memories of playing. I have fond memories of most all of the games that I played at one time or another, some relate to high scores, other such as Space Duel (’82, multiplayer vector game), I have fond memories of playing with my father typically on vacations and camping trips.
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
14. There are all sorts of video games, and the audience they are aimed at varies. Certainly, there are a lot appropriate for adolescences and adults. There is something for everyone.
Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
Certainly, many video games feature violence. I personally have enjoyed some of the shoot ‘em ups. However, I know that there are some sociologists / psychologists etc. who believe that video game violence plays a role in national tragedies such as Columbine. Personally, I don’t believe that I am in any way more likely to be violent because of playing a video game. However, I will leave that up to the experts.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
If I am trying to achieve a new personal best, I prefer playing alone, although good friendly competition among friends can be fun, and creates some good memories. I personally have mixed emotions about playing on-line, because I have run into more unsportsmanlike/unsocial behavior. That being said, I have occasionally as a result of on-line video gaming made some new friends.
Are arcade games good for relieving stress?
I believe that arcade games have the potential to clear one’s mind of their everyday stressors, thus I believe they can be therapeutic. I also feel that intense competition such as the GGA T-20 tournament can be stressful and add to one’s anxiety. Thus, I think it all depends upon the person, some of us handle stress better than others.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
My favorite video game character is Mario, his quest is a noble one and he is resilient, persistent and cheerful.
What springs to mind when you hear the words “50th Birthday”?
Getting old, great memories, looking forward to the future and wondering how I will adjust to the changes.
What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer arcade game?
Bubbles is my favorite single player game. Space Duel playing with my dad is my favorite multiplayer game.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
21. If I could design my own game, the overall model would be based upon one of my dad’s favorite movies “Groundhog Day”. It would be a one-person role-playing game. There would be many Mario type challenges which would be aimed at the character’s personal development and interaction with other characters. The underlying theme is “be the best you can be, and happiness will follow”, as opposed to manipulating and or tricking the other characters to attain success. There would be time factors as well as the need to accumulate things which are required to accomplish your challenges. For example, you might consider rescuing a cat, changing someone’s flat tire or asking a friend to fix the flat tire and/or consider “helping the homeless.” Your success would be depending upon completing your chosen challenges in the shortest amount of time. Choices consistent with personal development would be rewarded with higher scores.
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
I enjoy playing arcade games and even when I am not the best at a game, I feel like I provide competition. Even though I have held the Galloping Ghost 10X Belt on occasions, it is not something that I look forward to. That is, I have Tourette’s Syndrome. When I am anxious it results in vocal (screeching) tics, sometime making me literally sick to my stomach. On the other hand, being a member of the Galloping Ghost Battle of the Arcades Team is a real high. All of the members contribute, all have unique skills, and we compete as a team, helping each other with game play, as well as encouragement to, in Walter’s words, persevere.
Where do you see your gaming career in the next 10 years?
I am hopeful that the worldwide video gaming community is still thriving 10 years from now.
I personally am hoping to be able to visit/support more video game arcades and continue to attend the industry events such as the Video Game Summit, the Midwest Gaming Classic, and annual events in Ottumwa such as the annual International Video Game Hall of Fame induction ceremony.