Trading Card Spotlight - Joel West

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Joel West, who is displayed on card number 11, from the Circus Card Collection of 2011.  Joel is also featured on cards 1236, 1911, 2103, 2189 and 2197.   Joel grew up in the early 1980’s when the arcade boom began.  He was one of the original members of the famous TIME Life Magazine photo shoot in Ottumwa, IA outside the original Twin Galaxies arcade.   The game he is most known for is Berzerk, where he holds a number of world records on both the Fast and Slow versions.  In 2016, Joel is looking to break the marathon record on Frenzy (the sequel to Berzerk) with 100 hours of nonstop play on single quarter.   You can see Joel in the documentary “Chasing Ghost: Beyond the Arcade” as well as in person at Walter Day events across the country. 

Do you learn anything from playing video games?

Oh so much! I learned how to spend money while standing in one spot for hours before internet shopping was invented. I learned there is no place too far to go to attend a competition. I learned all video gamers have superior hand-eye coordination and driving skills. I learned there is a cacophony of peoples from many different walks of life who love video games. While their paths may never cross in other areas of life; when they cross in an arcade, they easily make friends for life.  The most important thing I learned is my life would not have been as rich if I had never dropped that first quarter and became a part of the gaming community.

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Trading Card Spotlight - Andrew Breyer

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Andrew Breyer, who is displayed on card number 14, from the Superstars of 2011 Collection.  Andrew was the 1981 Atari 2600 Asteroids Champion, which earned him a $5,000 prize.   As one of the most completive Atari 2600 console player in the 1980s, Andrew was also featured in a TV commercial at 16 years old.    Andrew moved to playing music in the mid 1990’s.   He has been part of a band ever since.   He still tours to this day with 2 different bands; they can be found playing music in the Chicagoland area.   His band “Members Only” focuses on all 80’s music.  The other band, “Scarlett Fever”, plays danceable hits from the 1960’s to today.    

Do you prefer playing video games alone, against friends or online against the world and why? 

Against friends; for the competition and social aspect, though alone is good for record setting purposes.  Some of the games I’m good at such as Asteroids Deluxe, it is nice to have a break in between ships to refresh and take a break while your buddy goes at it.  However, if you are too much better, those breaks may be short or stop altogether if they don’t earn some bonus ships

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Trading Card Spotlight - Jerry Momoda

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Jerry Momoda, who is displayed on card number 2330, from the Superstars of 2015 Collection.  Jerry was the Nintendo of America’s original market research analyst and game master back in the early 1980’s.   Throughout his career, Jerry has also worked for other game companies, including Atari, Sega and Namco.     Some of Jerry’s favorite projects he worked on were Punch-out, Mario Bros. and Tekken.   Jerry was one of the pioneers to help create the Tekken franchise which after twenty years remains a cornerstone of Namco's lineup.   It is the largest selling fighting game franchise in history. He is passionate how many arcade video game design principles should be considered in today's mobile games.  In his blog he writes for both game fans and game developers.

What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games?  How do you compare them to older, classic games?

Today’s video games are massive in size compared to classic games. I miss the elegant simplicity of classic games. Games today take so long to complete, or have no ending, that the average person plays fewer games annually. This runs counterproductive to what’s needed for the overall health of the industry.

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Trading Card Spotlight - Isaiah TriForce Johnson

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Isaiah TriForce Johnson, displayed on card number 46 , from the Superstars of 2011 Collection.  TriForce is also displayed on cards 265, 1528, 2251, 2257, 2425 and 2442 not to mention the unofficial paper circus trading card in 2009.   TriForce is the founder of the development organization and eSports team “Empire Arcadia”. His eSports brand has recorded more documented tournament victories than any other team in the history of competitive gaming. He is a retired professional gamer and played games such as vs. Super Mario Bros., Tetris, Black Tiger and more. TriForce is famous for being the first person purchase a new Nintendo system such as the Nintendo DS, Wii, 3DS, WiiU and other games associated with it at the Nintendo Headquarters in New York. He has waited up to as much as 30 days outdoors to be the first one to receive a Nintendo product. I introduce to you one of Nintendo's legendary gamers, TriForce “GameMaster”

Do you think video game trading cards has a place in competitive gaming?

Like its cousin industry “sports”, eSports trading cards are very viable. Eventfully everything will go virtual or digital but if you look at sports now, they still make trading cards of your favorite sports athlete and Walter Day makes trading cards for some eSports players as well. These trading cards are more of collectibles with historical information more than anything else. The point is to trade and or collect them all like any other trading cards. There is a large historic value in them and serve better to pass down to future generations like the pastime baseball cards.  The fact that these trading cards are even created by a senior who's involved and experienced in the whole competitive gaming scene as Walter, adds a level of value I believe no other trading card series in any other sporting industry in the world can match in prestige.

I honestly think the format and medium of the cards will change over time but I think trading cards will somehow remain in a physical format, even if they become digital. Have you seen the paper screens that you can watch videos on? Imagine in the future where trading cards are on digital paper with digital encrypted images and information? That would be cool and very fitting of an eSports trading card.

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Trading Card Spotlight - Jeffrey Wittenhagen

Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Jeffrey Wittenhagen, who is displayed on card number 781, from the Superstars of 2014 Collection.  Jeffrey can also be seen on card numbers 1285 and 2288.  Jeffrey is a published author of many gaming books such as Hidden Treasures: Rare & Unappreciated Gems and a NES collector’s guide called “The Complete NES”.  He is currently working on a project to deliver the Super Nintendo Collector’s guide as well as publishing his own NES game called "Jeffrey Wittenhagen's Black Box Challenge". It is a Homebrew NES RPG, developed by Sly Dog Studios, where you collect video games, namely the first release black box NES games.

What is your favorite portable gaming device and why?

I like the Game Boy Advance SP the most. It is essentially a portable SNES, with both 16-bit ports as well as new stylized games, which is one of my favorite eras of gaming. It was also one of the first backlit systems that also were rechargeable. With all the previous systems, the battery drain was insane and the main reason why they aren’t my favorite.

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