Thursday, June 7, 2018

SNES Omnibus Writer Spotlight #26 - Shane Stein

Shane Stein is a big shot financial wizard living in Dallas (I live in the the neighboring city of Fort Worth), and I'm glad he reached out to me to be a part of my humble little book project (okay, it's actually a pretty big two-volume set, but I digress). Shane's Super Nintendo stories, drawing from his days as a journalist in college, were highly polished, meaning they required very little editing on my part. They were also a lot of fun to read. Better yet, Shane is a devoted family man and a super nice guy. We had lunch a few weeks ago (where I met him in person for the first time), and we instantly had a million things to talk about, including the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Mavericks, comic books, and of course video games. Don't be fooled by Shane's life as a civilian--he knows his stuff! Hope to have lunch with Shane again real soon, especially since he paid. Seriously, I already consider him a good friend. Thanks, Shane!

Here's Shane's bio as it will appear in The SNES Omnibus: The SuperNintendo and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A-M):

Shane Stein wrote film, music and video game reviews for his college newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, while attending the University of Pennsylvania from 1996 to 2000. He is an avid retro gamer who still owns an NES, SNES, N64, Intellivision and IBM PC Jr, with his favorite all-time games being Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!, Street Fighter II and NBA Jam. Some of his greatest fanboy moments include building his own Mega Man costume, buying his wife a foot massager because it resembled Super Mario 3’s Kuribo’s Shoe, and rocking his kids to sleep as infants by humming them video game theme songs (it usually worked). In the non-gaming world, Shane works as a financial adviser and lives in his hometown of Dallas, Texas with his wife Tracey and their three daughters.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Twin Galaxies Interview - The SNES Omnibus

I was recently interviewed by Alex McCumbers for the Twin Galaxies website about my book, The SNES Omnibus, which will be out later in June or sometime in July. You can read the interview HERE.

I was also interviewed in 2015 by a staffer with Twin Galaxies. You can read that interview HERE.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A-M) - PREVIEW

I got a surprise on my front porch the other day: my advance copy of The SNES Omnibus Vol. 1. Professionally published by Schiffer, a prestigious publishing house, the book will be available in late June or sometime in July, but pre-ordering is NOW AVAILABLE. You can click on the pics below for a closer look at the book, and you can read sample pages by clicking HERE.

The book features:

*Write-ups for 375+ games (every U.S. release from A to M) by me, Brett Weiss, a gamer since 1975 and a professional gaming writer since 1997
*More than 170 nostalgic stories about SNES games from famous programmers, notable authors, popular YouTubers, etc.
*Deluxe hardcover binding; slick dust jacket; glossy paper
*416 pgs.; 9x12; More than 2,000 full-color photos
*Historical data, vintage ads, gameplay info, reviews, quotes, screenshots, box art, and much more

*No Kickstarter necessary, but you can pre-order the book directly from me with early-bird bonuses HERE.

The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A-M) is a massive coffee table book. My previous gaming book, The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987, looks like its little brother.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Arcade and Other Strange Tales - Reviewed by Carlos Gonzalez

The Arcade and Other Strange Tales

Reviewed by Carlos Gonzalez

Do you like the horror and mystery genres? Do you enjoy weird stories? If so, then look no further than the book The Arcade and Other Strange Tales, written by the author Brett Weiss. Weiss, who’s known for his other works such as The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987 along with the “Classic Home Video Games” series, takes several of the short stories he wrote for magazines in the past and incorporates them into a 109-page book.

The first story, which is the longest, is called “The Arcade.” This 14-page story starts off with an unhappy arcade operator named Jeff who sees a message on a Mortal Kombat arcade cabinet that tells him, “Meet us on the roof of the tallest structure in your city.” Being curious, Jeff does what the message says, and then it all goes downhill from there. The door to the roof gets locked, Jeff becomes freezing cold, the wind blows him off the roof, he lands in a flying saucer, a voice in the saucer questions him about his beliefs, and then Jeff goes back time to the arcade where he sees all the cabinets he enjoyed when he was younger. It’s a weird story, but that’s what makes it charming—it plays with the reader’s head and requires an open mind to fully understand.

While “The Arcade” is a fascinating tale, so are the other fiction stories. There are a wide variety of stories from the genres of horror, sci-fi, and mystery. “Wormboy” is about a boy who eats worms. He has a strict mother who is harsh on him, he gets wrapped up in the worms, and then he lives beneath the soil. Another story in this book is called “Strange Children,” where a guy named Bill feeds off these mutant creatures that come during night. He gets eaten by them and turns into one of the creatures.

One of the best stories in the book is called “What Do They Do While We Sleep?” This is a futuristic story where humans live under strict laws by the government and must to hibernate for months while a holo-globe watches their every movement. In this story, a man named Taylor Haynes does everything he can to work around the rules of deep sleep and the holo-globe to found out what the government does while they sleep. This is a nicely detailed story that is fascinating to read through to see if Taylor is successful or not.

These are just a few of the tales from the 12 fiction stories in this book, and each one will keep a reader entertained. The second half of the book features non-fiction articles and essays with a mix of different topics. “The Retro Video Game Craze” details the history of past game systems such as Atari and NES, along with the rarity of some of the games. The “Retro Gaming Non-Fiction Books” chapter discusses some of the authors in the industry, such as Leonard Herman, who wrote the book Phoenix IV: The History of Videogame Industry, Michael Thomasson, who wrote Downright Bizarre: Videogames that Crossed the Line, Tim Lapetino, the author of Art of Atari, and Antoine Clerc-Renaud along with Jean-Francois Dupuis, who co-wrote Coleco: The Official Book. Anyone who loves video games will enjoy that section.

The Kiss Pinball Machines and Video Games chapter talks about retro and modern pinball machines with the rock band KISS on them and the differences between the machines. Also, the video games featuring KISS on PC and PlayStation 1. While some of these articles are on gaming, some are unrelated to video games, including a feature on Stephen King, an interview with horror novelist Bentley Little, and the final section about author Brett Weiss. These articles are intriguing as well.

In conclusion, The Arcade and Other Strange Tales is a fascinating little book. Brett Weiss used a lot of imagination in these stories. For those who are not big on horror and mystery fiction tales, they have the second half of the book, which is comprised of non-fiction. While $10 may seem a bit much for a 109-page book, each story is filled with detail, and some will need a second read to fully understand the symbolism in the story.

Brett Weiss did a great job with this book, and hopefully he will write another one full of fun twisted stories. Overall score: 90 out of 100.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

SNES Omnibus Writer Spotlight #25 - Zoe Howard

I have yet to meet Zoe Howard in person, but I feel like I know her fairly well, based on the “conversations” we’ve had online, and on the personal stories she submitted to both volumes of the SNES Omnibus. Zoe rented a bunch of SNES titles while she was growing up, and those experiences of her family bonding and laughing while playing the games were perfect for inclusion in the books. Zoe is a fine writer and a super cool person (or so she’s lead me to believe--LOL), and I’m really looking forward to meeting her for real at the Game On Expo in Phoenix this August.

Zoe K. Howard, author of November’s End, is a freelance writer and accomplished video game critic. Zoe has been an avid gamer since the early ’80s, immersing herself in both the culture and community of video gaming. In 2012, Zoe and her partner Wanda Calamia began the YouTube show, The Retro Gamer Girls, where they celebrate their love for classic gaming. The duo quickly became advocates for equality and supported anti-bullying campaigns amongst gamers.  In 2014, Zoe and Wanda were awarded with a Twin Galaxies Video Game Trading Card, representing women in gaming. Zoe is the creator and founder of Retro is Life, a gaming hive and review website that creates a platform for gamers to explore and experience current games and trends, all while maintaining the preservation of the games we loved as kids and revere into adulthood.

Monday, May 14, 2018

SNES Omnibus Writer Spotlight #24 - Matt Miller

You’re not going to find a nicer guy in or out of the video game industry than Matt Miller, who I met a few years ago at an arcade event in Austin, and then again in Iowa. He became an instant friend and we’ve kept in touch ever since. Super cool dude. I knew Matt was a sincere and kind person, and a fierce competitor at video games, but I had no idea he was such a good writer until I sent out solicitations looking for nostalgic stories for my SNES Omnibus project. He turned in highly polished work with a personal, distinctive voice.

Here’s Matt’s bio as it will appear in TheSNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A-M), which will be out in June or July:

Matt Miller is a lifelong gamer and multiple video game world record holder, both as a solo player and as one half of the co-op gaming duo, Team Mayh3m. He has had records published in five books in the Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition series. Matt has been interviewed in a variety of outlets, including Obsolete Gamer, Twin Galaxies, Extended Play Arcade, TheWalter Day Collection, and The Retro Junkies “Winging It” podcast. He also appears in the acclaimed 2015 documentary, Nintendo Quest, as well as its companion series, the Nintendo Quest Power Tour.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Bits of Yesterday Video Game Documentary - The Foreword

I was honored to write the foreword/liner notes to the new video game documentary, The Bits of Yesterday, which was executive-produced by Adam F. Goldberg (of The Goldbergs fame). The film was directed by Darrin Peloquin, and you can order it HERE.

Here's a description of the movie from IMDB: "In this panoptic documentary on the niche culture of the retro video game collector, follow gaming enthusiasts and fans as they relive their childhood memories, make new ones and champion to keep an antiquated media format alive."