This week we look back at an interview I did with Atari 2600 champion, Paul Zimmerman. Paul is lucky enough to be card #1 in the Walter Day Collection. (Yes, Billy Mitchell also has the card #1 spot). This interview was published on March 13th, 2016. Paul can be seen running a few gaming events in the midwest as well as running Atari tournaments when he has time.
Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Paul Zimmerman, who currently is displayed on card number 1, from the Superstars of 2011 Collection. Paul has many World Records held on the Atari VCS System. Games like Demon Attack, Berzerk and Phoenix to name a few. Paul has been a big contributor each year to the Video Game Summit held in the suburbs of Chicago. He has offered his help in organizing video game tournaments as well as holding world record attempt competitions. You can also see Paul in the documentary Bonus Life Extended Play.
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
The 2008 Video Game Summit in Lombard, IL. I was on staff and invited Walter to come to the event. He brought along Tim McVey as a surprise (his first public appearance in decades and as a gaming celebrity). I also invited Todd Rogers (his first return to his hometown Chicago after 15-year absence). Also Trickman Terry and Ken Sushi-X from Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine were at the event. The event was amazing!
Growing up were you team Sega or Nintendo and why?
Neither. I didn’t have a NES or a Master System, but my friends did, so I was able to play both systems all the time. I do remember most of my friends would have one or the other, but not both. But, the first game system I bought was a Super NES, so I am probably team Nintendo.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
I love them! Video games will always be video games. So, all that matters is if the game is fun.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video game Trading card?
Nope. But, when I was younger I did keep track of my scores for Atari VCS games. I also remember my neighbors would also have Atari VCS tournaments and I would always win. I still have that book with my scores. And recently, before I was on a card, I won some video game tournaments and I am in Guinness. I am also in some newspaper articles and I am in a movie. I am in shock that I am video game trading card #1.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Kind. There are not many kind people in this world. Only me and Walter. lol
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
Still on staff at Video Game Summit.
What is your favorite portable gaming device?
Right now, Nintendo 3DS.
Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?
Video games are video games. I love all video games, does not matter the hardware.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I play tons of games today. I like all genres. But, least favorite might be simulation.
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
I can’t pick one. There are too many favorites, which is why I will never own an arcade game or pinball game.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
In 1980 for Christmas my family got Atari VCS. It was the final present to open and it was in the basement already setup and ready to play. The game was Space Invaders because it was the pack-in game for the system. Wonderful surprise and memory! But, maybe before that some arcade games at restaurants, movies, grocery stores, bowling alleys?
What does it take to be a Video Game Journalist?
That’s a good question for a Video Game Journalist. But, I actually did that for a little bit. It takes writing skills and video game knowledge and lots of free time.
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
I think everyone. And the game ratings help with who should play that game.
Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
Nope. Do movies, tv, music, books lead to violence in America? No.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
Probably alone, but I do play against friends and online also.
Which company makes the best games and why?
Atari and Nintendo. Both create fun games.
Do you learn anything from playing video games?
No. But, maybe how to solve puzzles?
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Some games are good for relieving stress. Also, some games create stress.
Who is your favorite video game character and what make that character special?
There are too many. I would say Pac-Man or Mario.
Where do you see Video gaming in the next 20 years?
Better graphics and sound and longer games. Like everything, technology only advances in time.