Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Toby Na Nakhorn, who currently is displayed on card 4139, from the Superstars of 2022 Collection. An avid gamer from the UK, Toby is dedicated to grow the modern-day gaming scene in his home country. In his quest, he works on promoting the industry in the media as well as managing venues in his nearby area. He currently manages a warehouse of rhythm-based arcade games. This card is also shared by fellow British gamer, Adam Kyte.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
1986: on my friends Atari 2600 multigame cartridge. While it was crazy seeing all those games, I didn’t know any better & thought that was normal!
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
People’s attention spans have changed with smartphones & social media. We consume at an intense rate, wanting constant endorphin hits. Nowadays I think gamers prefer an interactive film, or immersive story experience rather than “level memorization” gameplay.
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the trading card? If so, where?
I haven’t pushed for any coverage. It is just an honor to be here.
When did you first meet Walter Day and where was it at?
Summer 2022 at Four Quarters Barcade in Elephant & Castle, London. Billy Mitchell was there to set a Donkey Kong record. I wanted to show Walter around, so we visited Harrods (one of London’s most famous department stores) for traditional English tea.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
It has to be the Nintendo DS. It’s touch screen & stylus was mind blowing at the time, with so many possibilities and original titles. Multiplayer Mario Kart via new technology Wi-Fi was incredible. I’d played Nintendogs so much, whenever I saw a dog in real life, the game jingles would play in my head…
Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?
I massively favored consoles into the 2010’s / my 30’s. While I did PC game in the 2000’s with online titles like Ragnarok, Guild Wars, Lineage, FLYFF, Albatross 18 (Pangya) & retro emulation, I loved current gen fighting games, JRPGs & music games; all on consoles.
These genres started to gradually port to PC... By the early 2010’s I feel that PC’s & consoles were on roughly equal footing. The 360 was my last home console, I find PC more convenient as it’s used for everything, and makes sense to spend money to upgrade it rather than have a separate console. Some people moan about “incomplete” games needing updates & DLC. To be honest, I love it – Updates breathe new life into games.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
Whenever I’m in the arcade I’ll have a credit on Dancerush Stardom & Wangan Midnight. My roots are 2D fighting games, particularly Super Turbo & KOF 2k2. My all-time favorite way to relax is playing Call of Duty Warzone. I play cautiously, finding stealth tactics very therapeutic. Another way to unwind is American Truck Simulator. It really feels like exploring The States!
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
I own my arcade cabinet of choice, the Korean dance game Pump It Up. While I started out on Dance Dance Revolution, Pump It Up truly changed my life.
Which console company is your favorite and why? Nintendo, Sony, Sega, or Microsoft?
I think of Nintendo & SEGA first, as I grew up with them. SEGA have always oozed “cool” & more street cred, from the look of their consoles, to their arcade games, & advertising. But Nintendo had more fine-tuned execution & innovation. My head says Nintendo, my heart says SEGA!
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
Games in the 80’s/90’s were generally considered a nerdy bedroom hobby. While I thought arcade fighting game players were the coolest on the block, society perceived gamers as losers. I absolutely did not expect these cards to ever exist!!
What does it take to be a video game journalist?
Play all genres, have no bias, have an open mind.
With retrogaming journalism, take into account social attitudes & technology of when the game was released. It would have made a very different impact on players for it’s time - Compared to being released now. Also take into consideration while some games/series may not be popular in some continents, they are huge in others.
Be open to research & don’t give up when trying to get an interview with anyone! There are many elements to a game, hidden backstories you can cover. People play a part in creating a game in so many different ways. It’s interesting to learn the lore behind each release.
Journalism is also anticipating all the ways readers will try to find errors in your article. You’ll need to write in a way to counter these in advance.
How does video game music influence games past and present?
Classic gaming tunes can recall a whole decade or era! For example, Yuzo Koshiro’s Streets of Rage, Koji Kondo’s Super Mario & Zelda, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi’s vocals on Daytona USA really brings back strong feelings for many.
A recent example is the Aquatic Ambience music from Donkey Kong Country that has been used in Tik Tok & social media for nostalgia videos during most of 2023. It’s specific musical feel evokes strong emotions, regardless if you played Donkey Kong, or are even a gamer!
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
In the 80’s it was mainly males. In the 90s, Sony changed the goalposts to market more towards youth in general; girls & boys, especially casual players. Now it’s for absolutely everyone! Smartphones really opened up the market to essentially “non-gamers” who might not play on a PC or console, but happily game for hours on their phone.
Do you believe some video games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
Not at all. It’s the usual scapegoat. Films & TV got this blame early on, then it was video games. It’s coming from ignorance & a lack of understanding what games are about. Violent incidents will happen regardless if the perpetrator plays video games or not. If anything, I think games tend to stop people from acting out violence, when they let off steam in-game.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
Since hitting my 30’s, I prefer games solo at my own pace without the stress of having to lead a team to victory. Having said that, I do find Call of Duty Warzone online (team Battle Royale mode) incredibly relaxing, oddly enough!
Online is addictive. Take the same game, then having it online or offline (even as a solo player) is like night & day to me. Once online, it’s a completely different feeling going for scores or achievements against everyone in the world.
Which company makes the best games and why?
SEGA still continues to make stellar arcade games. But for home releases I will always think of Nintendo.
Do you learn anything from playing video games?
Teamwork & friendship. I’ve played games to brush up my languages. Asian fashion & hairstyles have influenced my style, listened to music I wouldn’t have done otherwise, & travelled to game locations in real life. You can often learn tidbits about life through games!
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Yes! Immersing myself in a rhythm game is an incredible way to relieve stress. However, let’s flip the question - The absolute worst example I can think of are survival horror games. That genre does anything but relieve stress. I haven’t even struck up the courage to play Resident Evil 7/8 with a headset yet.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Wise. He spoke of Transcendental Meditation, & how it kept him calm. I got a very calming, positive energy from him. This knowledge only comes from experience, a wise man.
Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from the video game?I’m always excited to hear of a film adaptation, & always ready for mixed results!
Silent Hill was amazing atmosphere wise, but I thought the acting was diabolical. People were walking out of the cinema showing I was in; it was so bad. The recent Sonic & Mario Bros films ticked a lot of boxes, but I feel they were “paint by numbers” films. The original Mortal Kombat has got to be my favourite adaptation.
On a side note, I felt Scott Pilgrim Vs The World had so many video game references I almost count it as a video game movie. It bombed; I feel the general public just didn’t get it at the time; gaming was still not as mainstream as it is now. It’s easy to forget what a different world we were living in just over 10 years ago. It’s since made several top ten lists and received over 70 awards and nominations.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
Francis York Morgan in Deadly Premonition, a game loosely based on Twin Peaks. He is odd, extremely quirky, speaks to himself, yet is seen as a competent FBI agent. His character tackle’s identity disorder & his engaging personality turned bad game mechanics into a cult classic.
(Or Trevor from GTA V because he captures the insanity of the game perfectly!!).
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘video games’?
Excitement, immersion, escape from stress & most importantly, friendship by sharing experiences.
Of these five elements video games, which is the most important to you and why?
Gameplay, Atmosphere, Music, Story, Art style
This is tough. I would generally say gameplay. However, one of my favorite games of all time, Deadly Premonition, has a great story & atmosphere but diabolical gameplay. To be a truly stellar game… It goes without saying that each and every element needs to be on point.
Do you find boss battles to be the best part of a video game?
Bosses are often the culmination of learning skills or grinding up your characters stats. This is the top of your journey & a benchmark test to see how you’ve mastered the game so far. I prefer the leading up to/anticipation of a battle, rather than the battle itself. However, I would say it’s an essential challenge & high dopamine reward factor!
What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer game?
Tetris or Magical Drop: Truly classic puzzle challenges.
Wangan Midnight 3DX+: The legendary 4 player arcade racer.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
A mystery horror game. Set in a present day but an isolated mysterious town which brings up nostalgia & memories of an alternative timeline we could have easily lived in. I like escapism & “what if” scenarios, coupled with a love interest & a good horror story. There games can really bring out emotions in you.
The main character would have grown up in a big city, yet be there to uncover family secrets. I think we all have some questions about life decisions we make, and if those put us in an alternate universe, what would our life be like? We can’t turn back real-life time or see all scenarios… But we sure as hell can think about them.
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
I started out at GAME & Electronics Boutique in the 90’s. Then Namco Wonderpark, Funland Trocadero (Segaworld) running arcade tournaments in the 2000’s. I moved to game testing, the most surreal being locked in the Nokia N-Gage “cage”: a room with security cameras, constant surveillance, & absolutely nothing to be discussed after you left!
Now I freelance at various arcades specializing in Japanese import cabinets. I try to push the rhythm game scene in the capital & across the UK. While I’m not sure how long the traditional video arcade market can last, at 43 years of age I know I’ll be around until the very last arcade player is still here!
Where do you see video gaming in the next 20 years?
Mobile & mainstream. Any time, any place. Experiences just as important as hardcore gameplay. Media, TV, social networks will immerse players with real world events. Everything will be more integrated.