Our next Trading Card Spotlight features John Hancock who currently is displayed on card number 4096, from the Superstars of 2022 Collection. John is a longtime collector of video games. As one of the original organizers of the Portland Retro Gaming Expo, John went on to establish a YouTube channel where he uploads weekly content that covers everything from Atari to XBOX. John is especially passionate of oddball consoles and systems of yesteryear. He focuses many of his YouTube videos on these as well as current independent releases.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I play all sorts of titles spanning years of arcade, computer, and console games. I do currently gravitate to arcade style games due to being able to play them in short time bursts. Robotron 2084 is one of my favorite games of all time, along with Ghouls n Ghosts. For computer games, I enjoy classics such as Tie Fighter, X wing, Diablo II, and Star Control II. Console games I gravitate to some indie classics such as Towerfall and Shovel Knight.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
The first home console I had in my home was a Pong console (Radio Shack TV Scoreboard.) In the arcades, I remember playing classics such as Space Invaders, Pac Man, Star Castle, and Missile Command. For the pong console, I remember my brother turning off the unit if I won, which was not often (he was 5 years older). As for the classic arcade games I mentioned, I remember having to get a chair to look above the control panels haha. I mostly remember the sounds of an arcade. For me it is music to my ears.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
There are many games of today that draw inspiration from the classics of yesteryear, especially the thriving indie scene of gaming that we have today. There are so many choices these days with games coming out nearly every day. As a kid I would have to wait months haha.
When did you begin your YouTube channel and what inspired you to do so?
I began my YouTube channel after several people recommended me to try it. I previously had been a guest on some other channels and in October 2009 I uploaded my first video.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
The thought never occurred to me ever.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Kind. He is the type of person that would talk to anyone. His kindness that he shares with others is a great gift.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
Tough question, but I will have to go with a Switch because of how diverse its library is. For classic portables, I was a huge fan of the Game Boy Advance SP and loved that playing backwards compatible games on it such as Metroid II.
Do you prefer arcade or console gaming and why?
I lived out in the country growing up. Going into a town with any arcades was miles away so it did not happen all the time. I played a lot of classic console games on an Atari 2600, NES, Game Boy, Genesis, TG-16, Game Gear, and SNES growing up. One of our first computers we got an Atari 520ST but I also went to neighbors’ homes to play Commodore 64 and Amiga games. Because I experienced games on different consoles and had access to them the most, this shaped my preferences for a long time to be a console gamer. I have grown to adore and appreciate arcade games more over time, understanding their significance and contribution to the gaming world.
Which console company is your favorite and why? Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or Microsoft or other?
In the past I would say I had a favorite (Sega), but currently I do not think I have one. I think all the major companies have their hits and successes and I have learned to appreciate each one for their unique offerings of games.
What is your favorite YouTube episode you have done so far, and what makes it special?
I did one with my family long ago when I got a 1974 Flim Flam Arcade cocktail. Playing games with my family is the best.
How does video game music influence games past and present?
Music is a huge part of the gaming experience. So many classic soundtracks from yesteryear that captured the intensity of what was going on the game screen. It has a direct impact of what programmers grew up with listening to and you see it incorporated in their music they make for modern gaming today.
If someone wanted to start a YouTube channel, what advice would you give them today?
Watch a lot of other YouTube channels and see what they want to offer. I would encourage them to focus on what they are passionate about and definitely schedule consistent content to be offered. It takes typically a long time to grow a channel so I would ask them to be patient. I have been making content for 13 years and it did not happen overnight. Not every video will be a hit but it is fun to experiment with different things to find your groove.
What is your favorite NES game of all time and why?
NES Ice Hockey is my current favorite. Nintendo was brilliant with that game, and I absolutely love how intense matches can be with speed. For me it’s the evolution of a simple pong game but adds a dimension of strategy to it.
Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
No, I do not believe so. What I think is the bigger issue is that we as a nation need to be aware of what our children are playing. Not all games are okay for kids. As a parent and someone with a background in mental health, we need to have conversations with our kids about what they are playing and why. Parents needs to take an active role in overseeing what their kids are playing.
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
Cal Kestis from Jedi Fallen Order was a good one. I really like story behind the character and looking forward to the sequel. He was believable and at times very vulnerable.
What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘YouTube’?
Everything you wanted to know about a particular topic
Do you find boss battles to be the best part of a video game?
Sometimes I get too stressed out with boss fights. I like a relaxing game just as much these days. I blame Ninja Gaiden on the NES for feeling this way haha.
What is your favorite multiplayer game?
Towerfall or Super Smash Bros Ultimate comes to mind.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
I would love to make more LCD throwback retro games. I have been involved with a few and have ideas for more. I use myself as the main character because after all, I want to stay IMMORTAL!
Where do you see video gaming in the next 10 years?
Game distribution will continue to become more digitized for better and worse. I see game services evolve to be more like Netflix offerings. Major hardware will continue to be an option, but I see more devices that are cheaper offering streaming games appear on the market.