Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Elizabeth “Kitty McScratch” Hunter who is displayed on card number 333, from the Superstars of 2012 Collection. Kitty is a well-known “dancing game” world record holder. She was recognized in the 2013 Guinness Book of World Records, for her dancing performances on the Just Dance and Dance Central series. She was part of many different gaming events in the Iowa location back in 2013, as part of the International Video Game Hall of Fame and Grassroots Gaming Expo. You can visit some of her gaming career at https://kittymcscratch.com/
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
It really depends on how I feel. I absolutely love playing with friends, online or alone. If I’m really worn out and exhausted or need a break from life, a lot of times I’ll play alone. If I’m in a place where I can hold a conversation and interact, then playing with friends or other people is more appealing since I enjoy socializing.
When did you play your first dance video game and what was your impression?
The first time I played was at the Big Bang in 2010 on the Sunday of the event. I was trying to get the world record on Wii Fit’s Super Hula Hoop and was taking a break between tries when my friends convinced me to try Just Dance. I found a song I knew, Dare by Gorillaz, and went for it. I really had fun with it but figured there was no chance of scoring enough to beat everyone that had played it that weekend. To my surprise though, as I was walking back to try Super Hula Hoop again the referee shouted, “New World Record!”. I felt that it was weird to have to specify having the record on only one song on Just Dance and decided I was going to work until I had every single one. After a lot of practice, I eventually accomplished it, though I think I’ve lost a few of them over the years.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
The first video games I played were at home on the computer with my dad when I was 2. I always love watching dad play games and was always so excited when I got to play with him. I can’t remember for sure what was the very first one, but we played a variety of computer games, arcade ports and console games. My whole family spent a lot of time playing games together over the years and it was one of my favorite pastimes.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
They’re different and the same in a lot of ways. It’s always interesting how you see different types of games and styles pop up again and become popular but it’s absolutely fascinating seeing where VR is going. I’ve always enjoyed a wide variety of games and love seeing where developers are able to improve and push it in new directions.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
Not at all. I never even thought it’d be possible I’d end up in the Guinness Book of World Records for anything, and I was pretty proud to accomplish something that as a kid I always thought would be cool.
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the trading card? If so, where?
I’m not sure aside from the various events I was involved with.
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
It was when a bunch of us first met about preserving the history of video game, which ended up being the committee that later created the IVGHOF. It was back around 2009.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
It’s hard to pick one word.
What is your favorite music track from the past games and why?
Oh man that’s hard. There are so many good ones. I’d have to say that on the dance games specifically, Bulletproof on Dance Central 2 was one I always enjoyed, to the point I was able to get the world record on it blindfolded. It was just a fun song and had fun dance moves.
When it comes to other types of games, I always enjoyed the music from Legend of Zelda.
What other games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I like a wide variety of games. I do tend to play a lot of RPG or music games. I really love Beatsaber and Dance Central VR for VR games, and really enjoy playing Stardew Valley and games like Legend of Zelda and The Witcher 3. The last games I beat were The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Golf: Super Rush.
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
I really enjoyed the Dr. Who Pinball. My friend Doug has it and when I still lived in Iowa there was quite a bit of time that I spent playing it when I visited him. Despite only watching 1 episode of Dr. Who, it was pretty fun to play, and I liked the design of it. One of the few pinball games I could consistently get the multiball on and that’s always such a fun feature to me.
Which retro video game is your favorite and why?
I absolutely love Sam and Max: Hit the Road for the PC. I have beat that game so many times. Not a lot of people know of it but it’s such a super fun point and click adventure and has so many fun jokes in it. Dad got it for me when it came out and I continually go back and play through it. Recently it was available for sale on Steam and dad got it for my birthday this year and I spent that night playing it with him until I beat it again. Definitely a hidden gem more people should check out. I’m super excited that they’re developing a Sam and Max VR game and can’t wait for it to come out!
What does it take to be a world record holder on a video game?
A little bit of luck finding what you’re good at and a lot of hard work to practice enough to score better than others.
How does video game music influence games past and present?
They really elevate the games. They have a huge impact on how immersed you get in the games and affect how you perceive the storyline, or the feel of the game. If you take away the music, the games have such a cold feeling to them. It’s really crazy how much it changes the experience.
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
I think they’re more aimed for adults than people realize. I mean, at the end of the day, adults are the ones that have the income to buy them.
Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
I’ve always been frustrated with the narrative that violent video games lead to violence. It completely takes the responsibility off of the individual that is playing them. I grew up playing a wide variety of games, including what many would say were violent. Not once have I ever done anything violent or ever been arrested. By saying that a game is what causes a person to make bad decisions, is taking away blame on that person who made that choice. We all want reason and logic to explain why bad things happen, but sometimes it’s just that people make bad choices or are in a bad headspace. It’d be much better to focus on what they were going through or were thinking and pursue ways to help people rather than throw the blame on a game and say that’s the ultimate cause and walk away.
Do you learn anything from playing video games?
I’ve learned a lot from video games. Problem solving is probably a big one and something I’ve applied to many other areas of my life. In my program for my Bachelors in Business Administration, Accounting, I actually played a business simulation game for my capstone project where I had to run a Bike company. It was very similar to how you’d play Roller Coaster Tycoon or Sim City, minus the fun graphics. Closer to a text adventure in a sense. It was super fun, and I learned a lot from it and had to write 2 reports on the simulation. Definitely one of my favorite classes and I ended up not only getting 1st place out of the students at my school playing when I was, but also got in the top 10% Worldwide scores out of over 1 million students who played it since January 2001. I have no idea what place I actually got worldwide since they don’t specify overall worldwide rankings, but I was really proud of that.
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Some are. I wouldn’t say that horror games are since they usually induce stress, but I think it’s a really great way of relieving stress and taking a break from the real world.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
Probably Sam and Max from the Sam and Max games. They are just hilarious, and their relationship is really enjoyable to watch. It is so enjoyable watching them banter and handle different situations.
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘video games’?
Enjoyment. They have brought so much joy and wonder to my life and will always be such a big part of my life.
What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer game?
Favorite single player game would either be Sam and Max for nostalgia’s sake or probably The Witcher 3. As far as multiplayer, it’s really hard to beat Minecraft or Terraria.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
The funny thing is, we actually collaborated on a couple of VR games with a dear friend of ours but very few people even know of it. I’m waiting for the day that someone mentions one of them to us and have no idea we were involved and funded it.
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
Nowadays I just play games more than anything. I’ve been really busy in college working towards becoming a CPA in an acceleration program. When I’m not busy working on school, I spend my time with the Kansas City Juggling Club and serving on the board for the Kansas City Juggling Association (501c3 nonprofit I helped form) What free time I do have I spend playing VR games and online with friends on games like Terraria, Minecraft, Factorio or other coop games.
Where do you see video gaming in the next 10 years?
I really think that VR are is going to be improved upon and expanded. I’m sure there will still be a huge market for non-VR games but with just how much it’s improved in only the past few years has been super impressive. As they are able to create VR devices more affordable and convenient, I think it’ll be something more people will use and have in their own home.