Happy Easter !
Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Paul Dean, who currently is displayed on card number 49, from the Superstars of 2011 Collection. Paul is also featured on card number 2108, from the Superstars of 2015 collection. Paul has had many Video game accomplishments in his career such as a 41 hour marathon of the game “Frenzy” in 2005. In 1985, Paul broke the world record on the Arcade game “Spy Hunter” which still stands today. Paul’s score of 9,512,590 is still the only million points or higher game recorded for Spy Hunter. You can see Paul each year at the California Extreme Expo, which he runs various competitions open to the public.
Are you still involved with gaming today, and what role do you play?
Yes, I still compete from time to time as well as run high score contests at California Extreme and at the Arcade Expo. I have been running high score events since 2006 and it has been a lot of fun getting the players back together each year to compete. I have done video game panel discussions and events at the Ottumwa Iowa Big Bang, California Extreme, Banning Arcade Expo, San Diego ComicCon, Portland ComicCon, E for All, E3, The Kong OFF 2 & 3 and the Seattle Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show. I also have a web site named spyhunter007.com which covers a lot of the competitive history of video gamer's and I post to the CAGdc classic gaming forums run by Mark Alpiger. I also follow the new Twin Galaxies site run by Jace Hall and I am a member.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? How do you compare them to older, classic games?
Today’s games have movie like clarity and sound which we didn’t have then. It takes considerable more effort, expense and time in order to play the games today. It was easier back then when you could just walk into an arcade, pop in a quarter and have a few minutes or hours of fun depending on your skill level. I like the old ones better because they are simple to start yet difficult to master. You can put as little or as much time as you want into the classic game and then pick up right where you left off in your next session. I collect these classic coin operated games so I will always have access to them.
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a Video game Trading card?
No I didn’t. The Walter Day Trading Card Collection is a new phenomenon which brings the community together. It has been a lot of fun signing trading cards at the classic gaming expo’s, The Big Bang, California Extreme and the Arcade Expo in recent years and giving them to fans who collect these cards. It is great that our community can have something similar to the Topps cards which celebrate excellence in basketball, football, baseball and hockey since 1938. It was great to receive recognition and being inducted into the 2010 Video Game Hall of Fame for the game of Spy Hunter and then to later to do a rollover game on Frenzy with Hector Rodriguez on Excite Bike at Captain’s Auctions, in Anaheim, CA on Sept. 21, 2013. The gaming exposition was set up in order to put light on Cancer and give back to the world and to send the message that Melanoma cancer can be cured with early prevention. Also, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment included me in two Reboot Spy Hunter trailers on October 2, 2012 to promote the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS.
Do you remember your first video game / arcade you played and what do you remember about it?
The Atari Pong arcade game was the first coin-op video game that I remember. It was a black and white tennis type of game which was in the cocktail format so you could put drinks on the table while playing the game. I played some time in the early 1970’s with my younger brother, Dave Dean in the Caboose of this Riverside, CA Railroader Restaurant which was a kid’s paradise. Space Invaders showed up at my local Racquetball fitness Center, Roman Gabriel’s in 1978 which we got to play quite a bit getting out of the hot heat of the Riverside Summers. Space Invaders used new simulated color graphics and had a hypnotic beat which kept me coming back for more.
Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the Trading Card If so, where?
The Big Bang in Ottumwa, Iowa and the annual events California Extreme in Santa Clara and the Arcade Expo in Banning have had Walter Day Trading card events which were a lot of fun. They include panel discussions and signings as well as Beckett Grading sessions and fan meet and greets. The events done pre-trading card 2010 were related to my Guinness World Record Fame and Twin Galaxies World Records on Spy Hunter and Frenzy such as the E3 and E for All Events and the events related to the International Video Game Hall of Fame.
When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?
The first time I met Walter Day was in Humble Texas when I decided to go for the world record on Frenzy. He was the day time referee for my 41 hour marathon in which I was there from December 2-4, 2005. However I knew of Walter Day’s Twin Galaxies since the days of my Guinness World Record on June 28, 1985 on the game, Spy Hunter at Huish Arcade in Upland, California at the Third Annual Twin Galaxies Masters Tournament. The 2005 Humble, Texas event was created by Callan Hendricks and Dwayne Richard, proprietors of Totally Amused, located in Humble Texas. This event was coined the "Legends of the Golden Age: A Tribal Gathering of the Greatest Video Game Superstars of the 1980s”.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Passionate. He has been running video game contests, tracking video game world records and refereeing across the country since the early 1980’s and is now doing video game trading card events all over the country for little to no compensation do to his love of the games and the gamer's.
What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?
I still like the original coin-op equipment from the 1980’s and have a nice collection I have been cultivating for years. I don’t have a favorite manufacturer but really enjoy many of the Atari coin-op titles.
Do you prefer PC or Console gaming and why?
I like the Wii Sports console because it feels more interactive and social. It gets you off of the sofa as you compete with others in sports and draws in a diverse group of people and not just hard core gamers.
What games today do you play and what are your favorite genres of games?
I always go back to the classics and enjoy the games from the 1980’s and not so much a particular genre. I play games like Spy Hunter, Frenzy, Tempest, Marble Madness, Berzerk, Frontline, Turbo, Alpine Ski, Asteroids and many others. I also play some pinball of all eras.
If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why?
I am still a fan of the 1983 Bally Midway game, Spy Hunter in which I still hold the world record with a score of 9,512,590. The game is constantly challenging and difficult and has a great electronic arrangement of Henry Mancini's theme to Peter Gunn.
Growing up were you team Sega or Nintendo and why?
I started gaming before consoles were popular but did play Duck Hunt by Nintendo. The coin-op games had superior graphics and sound to that of the consoles in the beginning of the golden age of arcades so it was everyone’s preference to go to the arcades and play the coin-op games.
What does it take to be a Video Game Journalist?
The ability to dig and find an interesting story and to uncover that which has not been already been told. To entertain and educate at the same time. Always be accurate and check your sources and try to be neutral when writing a story so all sides can be heard.
Are video games aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
Video games are created for all to enjoy as the average age of a gamer is 31 years old with 48% being women.
Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?
I don’t care for overly violent games and that is why I go back to the simple graphics and game play of the Golden era of the 1980’s. It was a simpler time of innocence in the gaming industry. I don’t believe in watching or being immersed in too much violence as there are better ways to spend your day.
Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why?
I do both as when I am getting ready for a competition I practice techniques over and over again and when I play socially it is so I can hang out with people of like interests just to have fun. I don’t play online as I prefer playing in an arcade or at an event live in front of everyone just like we did in the 1980’s. It is the way it was done back in the day in order to prove your abilities you would do it in front of an audience of your peers.
Which company makes the best games and why?
Atari was the king of the 80’s with the best cutting edge sound, graphics and game play with always a completely different type of game coming out to test different skill-sets and genres.
Do you learn anything from playing video games?
I think it develops my mind in pattern recognition and in the ability to adapt quickly to new stimuli. Hand eye coordination improves as well as the ability to breakdown and then rebuild what you have learned about a game in order to conquer it. It is problem solving at its best.
Are video games good for relieving stress?
Video games do relieve stress. When I am playing a game I am not worrying about my bills or other problems I might be having at the time because I am focused just on the game at the moment in which it is happening. I suspect it is a lot like watching a movie and really enjoying it with the added ability of being able to change the outcome as video games are interactive.
Do you like it when Hollywood makes a movie from the video game?
I do like it but think they could do better. They always seem to stereo type a gamer as a geek with social problems which really isn’t reality. Everyone games and many are very successful with their lives so the focus shouldn’t be on someone’s weaknesses but rather on their strengths.
Who is your favorite video game character and what makes that character special?
Mario. He is the everyday man with an average job that wanted to save the damsel in distress. Although Spy Hunter does not have a character it is assumed that you are James Bond the 007 secret agent driving in pursuit of the bad guy in order to save the world which I can relate to. The James Bond movie franchise was the original catalyst for Spy Hunter the video game however the music from the James Bond films could not be acquired so they went with Henry Mancini's Peter Gunn big band jazz arrangement instead which is a fine selection.
What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘video games’?
Interactive entertainment which is both relaxing and brings out the best in you. I’ve spent years playing games and making friends who enjoy playing games competitively. For me video games bring people together so it is a great part of my life. I look forward to talking to people about my experiences and what I have learned from video games. I continue to learn everyday as long as I am willing to listen to the lesson that a video game can teach in self-discipline, concentration, and the ability to pick up a new skill or a new way of looking at things. The potential is endless.
Of these five elements video games, which is the most important to you and why? Game play, Atmosphere, Music, Story, Art style.
Game play is always first. Without being challenged to go forward and to master a game or particular skill set it holds no allure to me.
Do you find boss battles to be the best part of a video game?
The games that I have mastered like Asteroids, Spy Hunter and Frenzy have no boss battles. There is no ending so you can essentially play until you drop. I like this aspect to the game because you can go as long as you can hold up and get the most out of the game. You decide when it is game over, not the programming.
What is your favorite single player game and favorite multiplayer game?
Spy Hunter is my favorite single player game and Gauntlet is my favorite multiplayer game. I enjoy all four players in Gauntlet helping each other out in completing a stage.
If you can design your own game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?
Maybe it would be about me and my journey. It would be about a guy who masters games against all odds in order to get to the next adventure. It would take place in different old school arcades and you would have to get tips from other gamer's in order to finish your quest and you would have to build a skill-set in each genre to unlock the next door. Both real life and internal game play experiences would be required. I would call it Paul’s Great Adventure!
Where do you see video gaming in the next 20 years?
Personally, I’ll always love the classic coin-op games and hope to keep my collection going as well as attending Arcade Panels and Expo’s in which I get to talk about the first generation of video games. As far as the future of gaming goes I do hope it becomes more social like it was in the Golden Age in which we would hangout with our friends and play games in an arcade. I can imagine games will be more 3D interactive and immersive in order to make it feel like you are actually in a different world.