Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Travis Yearian who currently is displayed on card number 4118, from the Superstars of 2022 Collection. Travis was crowned the NBA Jam Tournament Champion on May 21, 2022, at the BN Video Game Con in Bloomington, IL. He was lucky enough to be along side the voice of NBA Jam, Tim Kitzrow while he played his championship game. Travis has been playing NBA Jam since the beginning in the 1990’s and is still a fan today. Walter Day was in attendance at the tournament and was able to present Travis with the award and take the picture that would be created into this card.
When did you first play NBA Jam and what do you remember about it?
The first time I played NBA Jam was on either my birthday or Christmas of 93. I remember opening a gift and being so excited because it was NBA Jam. I played it constantly for what felt like forever on my SEGA Genesis.
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘NBA Jam’?
Hours of playing 1v1 on my SEGA Genesis with my childhood friends. And now, winning the tournament at the BloNo Video Game Convention.
What is your opinion on NBA JAM on consoles?
I like the NBA Jam arcade consoles! I think it brings back the feeling of being in an arcade without actually having to find an arcade.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
Honestly, in my opinion, today's generation of games are incredible in their own rite, but the storytelling is repeat and resale. Every once in a while, there's an original concept that shines through though. Current generation compared to classic games are night and day. But that doesn't stop them from being equally as fun in my book.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
The first arcade game I remember playing was a Pac-Man machine in the waiting room of Pizza Hut in the early 90's of all places. I found our small-town arcade shortly after that. My favorites were Cruisin' USA and Area 51. Area 51 was awesome because of the graphics, and it was tough back then. Cruisin' USA was great because every time you came in first you got a free game.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
I never thought in a million years I would ever be on a video game trading card! It's an incredible experience that I'll cherish.
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it?
I first met Walter Day at the 2022 BloNo (Bloomington Normal) Gaming Convention after I won the NBA Jam Tournament.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Friendly, because he was very supportive of the whole convention and tournament.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I play a wide array of games from shooters to couch co-ops, but my favorite genre is RPGs. Some favorite RPGs are made by Piranha Bytes.
If you could own one arcade game besides NBA Jam, what would it be and why?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Turtles in Time. I've always loved the TMNT, and that game brings back tons of great memories!
Which console company is your favorite and why? Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or Microsoft?
My favorite company is Microsoft (SEGA is a very close 2nd) because of the availability of gaming. I can hook my controller to my phone and stream my Xbox anywhere I have an internet connection. That comes in very handy when I tour with my band.
What does it take to be a champion on an arcade game?
It takes a lot of luck and hours played. Love of gaming helps too!
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
I think there are games aimed at all walks of life. It just depends on what you're looking for. Not all games are suitable for everyone though.
Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
While some games do have violence, I don't think video games lead to violence at all. I think some "violence orientated" games only mimic society. Maybe violence in the world influences video games more than the opposite.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
I like all three, but I prefer to play online against the world because I can see how I rank against players of all the games I like to play.
Which company makes the best games and why?
Pirrahna Bytes or Bethesda. I like immersive RPGs were choices matter, replay ability is high, and there are different methods/styles you can play.
Are video games good for relieving stress?
There's a fine line. Some games are excellent at relieving stress and other are great at inducing stress. Anything competitive can cause stress if taken too seriously.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
Almost all of the games I play require you to make your own character, so I'll have to go way back to Toe Jam from Toe Jam and Earl. He is the coolest looking character from my favorite RPG I played growing up.
What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer game?
My favorite single player game is Elder Scrolls:Skyrim. I know...cliche but modern RPGs are still striving to duplicate what Skyrim offered as a whole.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
I would design a virtual reality metaverse style open world with a high player capacity. You would create an avatar as your playable character. Different portals would allow access to different features. A Hall of Games where you can enter different game's lobbies. A Virtual Mall to upgrade avatar visuals, abilities,
and buy upgrades. And a Hall of Champions to recognize the avatars that rank the highest.
Are you still involved with competitive gaming today, and what are your goals?
Although I do still play some games competitively online like Rocket League and some other sports titles, I prefer to play immersive RPGs like Elex 1&2, Kingdom Come Deliverance, etc. I plan on joining online and "in person" tournaments that are offered near my area and just enjoying new release games that interest me.
Where do you see video gaming in the next 20 years?
I see gaming being more focused on VR and metaverse capabilities and moving more toward a simulator than a console. Who really knows though. I'm just excited for the ride!