Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Kevin Chau, who currently is displayed on card number 3646, from the Superstars of 2021 Collection. After getting his first arcade machine in 2014, a pinball machine was the next logical thing. Kevin joined a local pinball league and was introduced to many different eras of pinball. After getting more and more excited about pinball, Kevin purchased his 2nd machine, Starship Troopers. Being a fan of the movie, he became an expert on the pinball machine and it proved to be his favorite game of all time.
What was the best era for pinball gaming in your opinion?
I love the modern era of pinball. The newer designs have really changed gameplay and rules have become deeper creating a newer feel of the game. New mechs have been introduced and different types of toys to really create a world under the glass.
In your opinion, are there enough or too little pinball expos and conferences held each year?
Locally in Canada there isn’t enough. In the United States they seem to have events happening often which I think is great!
What’s your opinion of the console pinball games (Xbox, PlayStation) that recreate the original machines onto the TV screen?
When I got back into pinball and arcades, I wanted to learn more about existing pinball machines to understand their rules and how to get the best scores. This also made it possible to play hard to find machines that are rare.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
I never thought I would, but I always dreamed of being on some type of sports card.
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Walter, but I look forward to meeting him someday. The first time I learned about Walter and his organization was when I got into pinball in 2015 and watched the King of kong; A fist full of quarters movie.
Did you agree on the pinball ban in New York City in the 1970s? What is your opinion on this topic?
I definitely didn’t agree with the ban on pinball machines but at the time I can also see why they thought what they did and considered pinball as a form of gambling. I’m happy we had Roger Sharpe to help overturn this decision and create his legacy.
Do you remember your first pinball machine you played and what do you remember about it?
Jurassic Park by Data East was the first pinball machine I remember playing. With the huge success of the Jurassic Park Movie, it was awesome to see Jurassic Park licenses on everything especially video games, arcades and pinball. The best part about the pinball machine was feeling the shaker motor shake the game as you played and watching the T-Rex eat the ball to start multiball.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of pinball? How do you compare them to older, classic machines?
Today's pinball machines require more reading and understanding of the game if you want to complete modes and score higher points. In older pinball machines you could just flip the ball and follow the flashing lights to learn and play the game. Today’s pinball machines have a more generous play time due to ball saves active from the start of the game and more ways to earn them.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Passionate. His love for gaming and the people in the community always show and reflect that in everything he does. He love’s promoting gaming and is always cheerful, positive and kind.
What is your favorite pinball machine past and present and why?
One of my all-time favorite pinball machines is Space shuttle. It's a Williams Solid State pinball machine that has simple but fun rules. Getting multiball always seemed like the goal to get. In Space Shuttle you can experience multiball multiple amounts of times. Space shuttle has some of the best sounds in pinball. It has digital and physical sounds. At one point it sounds like a phone ringing. The modern game I fell in love with is Iron Maiden by Stern. It’s a game I promised myself I would purchase if I ever was considering a new game. This was a new turning point for Stern as they had a player help design and give input to the game.
What would your design and theme of the perfect pinball machine be and why?
Sonic Spinball. When I first saw Sega made pinball machines, I always wondered why they never made a Sonic pinball machine. They already created a video game of it so why not create a real one! Hopefully one day we will see a fully licensed Sonic Pinball Machine. There has been a fan made one that was quite impressive.
Are you a fan of the new digital pinball machines and what makes them better or worse than the standard machines?
When I first got into the hobby in 2015, I thought they were amazing and it was a goal of mine to build one. After getting a few machines and playing competitively I lost interest in them because they don’t quite feel and create the same sensation you can get from a real pinball machine.
If you could only own one pinball machine, what would it be and why?
It definitely would be a modern game because of the deeper ruleset and gameplay. I think the biggest problem with owning 1 game is whether or not you would get bored of it. For me that It would come down to the theme of the pinball machine. I love comic books and superheroes. Luckily there are alot of pinball machines in this genre. So far my favorite comic book pinball machine is Deadpool. The gameplay is fun and good for beginners and advanced players.
What does it take to be a pinball collector?
Having any amount of pinball machines whether it be 1 or 100. Meeting other collectors and getting to share and enjoy what pinball has to offer.
Are pinball machines aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
I believe playing pinball is aimed at every age group. When visiting local leagues and tournaments you can find people of all ages. It’s something I enjoy with my family and friends of all ages.
Do you prefer playing pinball alone or against someone and why?
This is where pinball is so versatile because it's something that can be played alone or in a group. I prefer playing with others because it creates a different goal to compete against and it's fun to trash talk your opponents.
Which company makes/made the best pinball machines and why?
Stern pinball is who I consider making the best pinball machines due to their many years of experience in the business. There are so many decisions when creating a new game. Rules, Music, Design, Art and code. Stern hires some of the best people in the business that work well together to create a solid package.
Do you learn anything from playing pinball?
Believe it or not I learned a lot about rock bands and their music. I normally wouldn’t have listened to most of these groups and their music if it wasn’t for their pinball machines.
Are pinball machines good for relieving stress?
It’s one of my favorite ways to relieve stress from the outside world, however it can also create stress when you can’t beat a score or finish the game modes.
Where do you see the pinball world in the next 20 years?
Since I started my pinball journey in 2015 pinball has continued to grow and make it into a bigger and broader audience. I’m hoping in the next 20 years it will become even bigger and a part of more households to enjoy.