Interview with Daniel Bishop
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Mr. David L. Bishop is the Vice President of Namco USA, and works at Level 257 in Schaumberg, Illinois. Growing up working in an arcade as a teen, he instantly fell in love with video games. Defender was the game that sparked his interest in the industry and from that point on the rest of his life would be intertwined with the coin-op industry. In college he studied as an electrical engineer, and was later hired by Atari. He then moved to Namco USA and worked his way up the ranks to Vice President. His role at Namco is exploring how to expand beyond home entertainment in the future, in order to create social and meaningful experiences between people and games. He strives to make playing games more accessible, not necessarily a “pay for play” anymore. This would change the term “coin-op” as the future holds a different form of payment. He believes that using gaming as an “element” in unison with other elements can create a much more meaningful and satisfying experience. Studio 257 is a modern style restaurant that encompasses his idea of using games as an element. It includes a full hall of games, but it also features HD televisions, open bars, bowling lanes, and family style sit downs. Games are not the center of attention here at Level 257. Instead, they serve as a compliment to the overall experience. In this way, Bishop paves the way for those who haven’t played video games in years to be able to enjoy them again. They do not feel like they’re forced, rather the games are there, and since the option presents itself, they are more likely inclined to add that to their experience. Mr. Bishop offers some very valuable insight into the coin-op industry and its change in culture, technology, and audience. In terms of culture, the past seemed to have demonstrated video games as poison to the youth. At one point in his life, Mr. Bishop was representing the coin-op chains of America. He, himself often felt like a “poster-child” growing up, since there were many active protest and lawsuits against violent video games. He notes that regardless of the bad publicity, it drove sales. Video game popularity skyrockets when it generates controversy. This is present in modern day games as well but not to such a large extent. Games gave gravitated towards more violence; however the response has never been more accepting. He stresses how games are an art form, and how they can be, and should be appreciated. They are an integral part of his life, and he hopes that they remain an integral part of everyone’s life moving forward.