Interview with Spyra Andover
Today, I am excited to interview Spyra Andover. She is a former pro wrestler who was active in the independent circuit in United States and she is also the beloved wife of pro wrestler James Ellsworth. She is a very creative lady in many different ways, a passionist for collectibles and she loves to play video games, too. Please enjoy to read this interview, which is very special to me!
Gordman: Dear Spyra, first of all I´d like to thank you for your precious time to make this interview with me! I´ve seen a photo of a shelf that is filled with Barbie dolls, Monster High dolls and even a Furby. Do you have your own ladies cave and what other kinds of collectibles and treasures is it filled with?
Spyra: It's an absolute pleasure! I first displayed my doll collection in our dining room. These were mostly dolls that I had salvaged from my childhood. As soon as the once retired Monster High dolls made their comeback in October of 2022, my interest in collecting dolls reignited. My collection then expanded and overflowed into the guest room. The guest room or "Lady's Cave" is pretty much a 90's kid dream room now. It's adorned with Barbie pink walls and things that I've had since my childhood or bought to have once again. I have dolls displayed (Barbie, Bratz, Cabbage Patch, Monster High, Spice Girls, etc.), a Doodle Bear, 5 Furbys (including the Gizmo edition from the Gremlins), a gaming/streaming setup, Pokémon cards, various plushies (Cynthia from The Rugrats, Disney's Figment, Kirby, Pokémon, Powerpuff Girls, etc.), Polly Pockets, Tomagatchis, a VCR and Disney VHS tapes. We occasionally have guests stay in here as my dolls watch them sleep soundly.
Gordman: Is the name Spyra related to Spyro the Dragon? Don´t ask me why I´m thinking that :D
Spyra: You're correct! I fell in love with Spyro the day that my dad ran to the store to get the very first copy for PS1 when Spyro the Dragon was released. I was about 7-years-young. I was blown away by Spyro. It became my favorite game series of all time, and it still is. My wrestling name was also inspired by a tombstone that I saw in a cemetery in my hometown. The tombstone read Spira. I thought to myself, that's such a cool name! I have to name a pet Spira or something one day. It's like Spyro, but a female version. When it was time to come up with a wrestling name, I remembered that tombstone and my obsession with Spyro, and just morphed the names together.
Gordman: I know that you´re Nintendo girl, which is no surprise since they have a huge fan base all over the world. You had no relations to the Sega systems until you moved with your husband, James. Do you remember any specific games you´ve played on his Sega systems?
Spyra: Nintendo is the best! My family household had a ColecoVision, Atari 2600, NES, SNES, N64, PS1, PS2, GameBoys, GameCube, and the very first Xbox. We just never had a Sega for some reason. When I moved in with James, I saw that he had a Sega plug and play with the preloaded games on it, so I got to fulfil my childhood curiosities of playing Sega. Sonic Mania stood out to me, because I never played Sonic before this instance. I watched James play it first. He showed me his favorite level, the Casino Night Zone level. I then tried it and I became hooked.
Gordman: Now, let´s come to Nintendo! We are the generation that grew up with the Super Nintendo in the 90s. If you take a little time now to think about it: Which SNES games do have the biggest sentimental value to you? Do you still play some of them nowadays?
Spyra: I have such fond memories of playing many different video games with my family. The utmost sentimental SNES games for me are Donkey Kong Country I and 2, and Super Mario World. I played those for hours on end with my mom, dad, sister, and uncle, and now my step daughters, too.
Gordman: Do you have any positive memories with the glorious Gameboy, too?
Spyra: I was excited about having a portable gaming system. I'd play Pokémon Blue, Red, and Yellow on the annual drive down to Disney World from New Jersey. I'd trade Pokémon with my friends by connecting the cables to our GameBoys. And I loved that I could take Super Mario World with me anywhere. Years later, I acquired an extension that connected to GameCube that allowed you to insert and play your GameBoy games. It was a whole new experience being able to play GameBoy games on TV, because you could actually see the games properly without struggling with that pesky Worm Light! I still have all of my GameBoys, and that pesky Worm Light.
Gordman: I´ve recently thought a lot about the epic era of rental stores. Today, they are very rare and they will probably disappear forever in the near future. Do you have any fond memories of rental stores?
Spyra: There's only one Blockbuster left in the United States, from what I last heard. It truly breaks my heart. Scrolling through Netflix to pick out a movie is not the same experience as going out to a rental store, looking front to back at the movie cases, admiring movie artwork and posters, picking out your candy, and even a video game to rent. I loved going there with my family and friends. When I was in grade school, we had a local rental store where my parents took me to rent horror movies. I was always a horror nut. My go-to rentals were A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child's Play, Leprechaun, and Puppet Master. I also remember renting Super Nintendo games like Beavis and Butt-Head, Claymates (I rented this one CONSTANTLY), Home Alone, and Scooby-Doo. One of our local rental stores had a Lego table that I loved playing with while my parents picked out their movies. I eventually want to make my own "rental" room in the house where I can display my VHS tapes, DVDs, a candy rack, movie posters, a Blockbuster sign, and even a Lego table.
Gordman: Did you play some video games on floppy disc systems as well, like the Commodore Amiga, for example?
Spyra: Our first family computer did have a floppy disc drive. The one floppy disc game that I do remember fondly, I still play! It's called Math Rescue. It's an adventurous educational game meant for kids, but I enjoy it. I occasionally play it on my laptop. I played most of my computer games on regular discs though. I spent hours playing the original Rollercoaster Tycoon and the original Sims and it's expansion packs (Living Large, House Party, Vacation, Hot Date, and Superstar). Recently, I was on a binge of playing Rollercoaster Tycoon. I feel incomplete playing that game if I don't drown a park guest or crash a coaster at least once.
Gordman: Is there a video game character you would compare yourself to?
Spyra: It would be Spyro, because he is not only small and tiny like me, but he is also not one to mess with!
Gordman: Apart from video games, the 90s were crazy and colorful and watching music channels on TV was something we always did. Do you remember some of your favourite music tracks you´ve listened to as a teen?
Spyra: I remember running home from school to turn on TRL on MTV and waiting up later at night to watch Headbanger's Ball. I always looked forward to the MTV Video Music Awards, too. Music television has not been the same since the early 2000s. As a teen, my favorites were Cradle of Filth ("Nymphetamine"), H.I.M (Greatest Love Songs album), KoRn (Untouchables album), Rob Zombie (Past, Present & Future album), Marilyn Manson (Antichrist Superstar album), and Type O Negative ("Black No. 1", "Christian Woman", "Love You to Death", "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend"). I'm not as big into Rob Zombie anymore, but the rest of the bands have remained my favorites.
Gordman: In the 90s, we had so many awesome things. We had the best toys, the best cartoon series, we had something we called Walkman, playing outside with family and friends was fun and of course wrestling was awesome. Surely you have so many memories that you could write a whole book about, but what are your personal best memories, briefly summarized?
Spyra: Reading that brought me back. They really were the best times. Carrying around a big booklet of CDs to change the music in your Walkman, and the way the music would skip if you went over a bump while riding in the car. Going to an actual toy store like KB Toys and Toys R Us. The toy quality was superior (Barbie, Furby, Hot Wheels, Legos, Pokémon, TY Beanie Babies, etc.). Burger King and McDonald's kids meal toys were at their peak. The Attitude Era of wrestling was untouchable. Most of all, there was no social media or smartphones. I miss that the most.
Gordman: Do you have a message you would like to share with everyone who is reading this interview?
Spyra: You're never too old to enjoy the things that you loved as a child. There shouldn't be any rules placed on the things that make you happy, as long as you're not harming anyone. Build a Lego set. Collect toys. Color in a coloring book. Enjoy a McDonald's Happy Meal. Watch cartoons. Don't let go of your childhood. And if you missed out on a proper childhood, then it's never too late to create it for yourself NOW. And don't worry about what anyone has to say about it, because I sure don't!
Gordman: Thank you very much, dear Spyra. It was a pure fun interview with you and I wish you a wonderful, long life full of happiness and loads of funny video gaming hours with your husband!
Math Rescue: www.playdosgames.com/play/math-rescue
Interview with James Ellsworth: Click
Special thanks to sugarnr4
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