Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Nikki Greene, who currently is displayed on card number 4123, from the Superstars of 2022 Collection. Nikki is an all-around gamer that enjoys anything and everything about gaming. Her love is typically playing arcade or pinball machines. She started her own team with the Pinball Chicago League, called the “Bad News Babes”. Her all-time favorite gaming character is Q*Bert, and she has a massive collection of items having to do with Q*Bert. She continues to search and hunt down rare items that she can add to the collection. You most likely can find Nikki hopping between Chicago and Los Angeles, playing games, going to conventions and being an all-around cool person to hang out with.
What is your most favorite Q*Bert item you have in your collection and why?
That’s a difficult one…I can narrow it down to 3. My Q*Bert watch game (the Canadian made version/branding) still with its box. A vintage Q*Bert coin purse that I’d never seen before, or ever again after finding this one. And of course, my Q*Bert’s Quest pinball machine. I had been chasing after that forever, and everyone that knows me was more than aware of that chase. I can’t really explain just how happy it made me, or how much it meant to me to finally add that to my collection.
When did you start the “Bad News Babes” in the Pinball Chicago League and what was your motivation?
That league is very competitive, and most of the teams were already pretty established. I was still pretty new to leagues and tournaments at the time, but really wanted to play. When spots on teams would open up, I never seemed to make the cut. While talking to my dear friend Melissa, who is the manager of Logan arcade, I learned that she felt the same way. So, I thought, why don’t we just start our own team? She was on board, and we decided to co-captain. We wanted this team to consist of women that love pinball but maybe felt they were not “good enough” players to be in the league. Melissa helped us find a home bar, and I soon realized we were going in this much like the “Bad News Bears”. So, the “Bad News Babes “were born, and our original shirts were based on the jerseys in the movie. 5 seasons playing in the league, and lots of awesome “Babes” merch later, we’re having fun and still going strong.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
Never! The younger me would be so proud. I mean the adult me thinks it’s pretty awesome too! My childhood best friend who was also my original gaming friend was so excited when she heard the news of this card. That meant everything, we spent ALOT of hours playing Atari and Nintendo together. (And all these years later, we’re both still gamers)!
What is your favorite arcade of all time?
I’ll have to go with my childhood era favorite, Showbiz Pizza.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of pinball? How do you compare them to older, classic machines?
The games today have quite a bit going on. Extensive rules, modes, lightshows, and entire albums of music. There’s a lot happening on both the screen and in the game, which can be challenging to pay attention to all at once. However, all of these same things make the new games a lot of fun. But classic machines will always be my favorite. They somehow just feel more authentic to me.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Well I’d say he’s a pioneer. He was one of the first people to take high scores on games seriously, and then he went and found a way to make it official. He continued to keep track of things and has kept it going for all of these years. Making cool things like these trading cards along the way.
What would your design and theme of the perfect pinball machine be and why?
There needs to be a Seinfeld machine. It could be based out of Jerry’s apartment, with Monks, and the Chinese restaurant nearby It could have various modes like the Kenny Rogers chicken roasters sign, and George trying to preserve his Frogger high score…the possibilities are endless. I know there’s a lot of Seinfeld and pinball fans out there that agree with this idea.
Are you fan of the new digital pinball machines and what makes them better or worse than the standard machines?
I’m not really a fan of them. They’re kind of fun to play, but they’re just nothing like an actual pinball machine. They’re kind of in their own category.
What was the best era for pinball gaming in your opinion?
The pinball machines of the 80’s-90’s era were my personal favorite.
When did you first play the arcade game Q*Bert?
I first played it in 1985, a few years after it came out. That was during my first visit ever to an arcade.
What’s your opinion of the console pinball games (Xbox, PlayStation) that recreate the original machines onto the TV screen?
I’m not a huge fan of them. I do think they’re great for things like getting to know the rules of a game better from home. I’ve also used them via my PlayStation to play pinball against friends that are far away.
If you could only own one arcade game besides Q*Bert, what would it be and why?
It would be Slither, which I do happen to own. That game is basically a much a better version of Centipede. I love it. Asteroids would be a close second, that was the first arcade game I ever played.
What does it take to be a competitive pinball player?
A lot of patience.
Do you prefer playing pinball alone or against someone and why?
I prefer to play alone. I know that’s not the popular opinion, but I’m a lone wolf, so what can I say.
Are pinball machines good for relieving stress?
I’d actually say they’re the opposite. Most people playing pinball get pretty riled up and usually end up yelling at the machines. I’m guilty of that myself. They’re so much fun, but definitely stress me out at the same time.
Besides video games, what other hobbies do you have?
I have quite a few things that I collect. I love going to expos, events, and flea markets to search for items/collectibles to add to my collection. I’m also a huge hockey fan. I watch, attend, and travel to quite a few games. If I’m not at an arcade, or doing one of the things mentioned above, I’m likely at the beach or the botanic gardens.
Where do you see the video games and pinball in the next 10 years?
I can’t see the future, but I sure hope they’re still moving forward with new innovations. I also really hope the classics are still being restored and preserved.
@wyntersteele - Nikki's Instagram