Interview Part 1: Quickfire Round
SA: Space Invaders was the first game I ever played. My supermarket had arcade machines with it and Donkey Kong on the wall next to the store’s exit. The games were good fun for the kids and a great way for the supermarket to get their hands on any change parents had after buying their groceries.
DD: The first computer/console you owned
SA: The Atari 2600! My family had the usual games for the system: Combat, Asteroids, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man. We even had a copy of the infamous E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial. And while those games were fun, My favourite game for the console was Frostbite, a strange but exciting hybrid of Q*Bert and Frogger. I racked up some amazing scores on that game and it was the first game I really poured time into trying to break my own personal records.
DD: Childhood memories of games at school
SA: When I think back to my school days, the first game I ever played in the classroom was Space Math for the Commodore VC-20. The game helped my classmates and I increase the speed of our basic math skills. The goal of the game was to save your transport-rocket preparing for launch from incoming missiles loaded with math questions. The missiles would get progressively faster and their questions more difficult until your transport looked like swiss cheese and was too damaged to launch.
DD: The most recent game you played
SA: These days, I regularly play Sentinels of the Multiverse for iOS. I recently became a beta tester for the game. A fan of the superhero genre and card games, I spent a long time looking for a turn-based superhero-themed game that didn’t take up a lot of time and money. SOTM fit the bill perfectly. I also play the game with my son, and he really loves it, a love that has been a boon for his English vocabulary. Growing up in Japan, he doesn’t get much English input, but our discussions about the game have really increased his desire to speak English, his vocabulary and his fluency.
DD: Favourite game of all time
SA: My favourite games of all time are Lunar: The Silver Star Story and it’s sequel Lunar: Eternal Blue for SEGA CD. The epic stories and superbly developed characters in these JRPG’s took hold of me like no other games have since. I replayed them both on an emulator a few years ago, and while they are dated now, their charm is still there. I highly recommend them to anyone who doesn’t mind old-school graphics.
DD: Favourite games machine of all time
SA: While I have bought the Sega Dreamcast and the XBOX 360 and have played some great games on those systems, my heart still lies with the Sega Genesis and the SEGA CD. It was on these systems that I played Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Streets of Rage, Comix Zone. the Lunar series and tons of other games that left strong impressions on me.
DD: Standout gaming achievement
SA: One other game I have played pretty steadily in my life is Street Fighter. I managed to get into the top 200 T.Hawk players on X-Box Live and beat a handful of very high ranking players to do so. This never got me any notoriety, but I was pretty proud of the achievement and had a lot of fun accomplishing it.
DD: The most addictive game you’ve played.
SA: I’d have to say Street Fighter. Ever since I threw my first fireball in Street Fighter I back in 1987, I think I’ve put more hours of my life into it than any other game I’ve ever played. And not just in the games. I enjoy the web series, animated movies, collect the comics by UDON Entertainment, and, in 2013, I was head of the Ryu X Chun-Li Project--a fan-project which produced a 360-page Street Fighter graphic novel contributed to by 100 artists from 35 different countries. The graphic novel has had over 10,000 readers and is online for people to read for free.
DD: Worst game you’ve ever played
SA: Dragster for the Atari 2600. A racing game, It was graphically unimpressive, imbalanced, and over in less than a minute. I still remember playing it for the first time with my brother. Once we finally figured out how to play the game without blowing the engines in our cars, and got our cars to the end of the race, I remember saying, “No, is that it? What a rip off!” Man, what a horrible game.
DD: First game you used in class as a teacher.
SA: The first game I used as a teacher was Concentration to help students learn the alphabet and vocabulary. I was a big fan of the American game show Classic Concentration from the late 80‘s, and like that show I used to make my concentration games more exciting by putting pictures and rebus puzzles under the cards that were revealed as matching pairs were found.