Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Recently published in...

Comics Buyer's Guide #1640, where I review the following:

Special Forces #1
Justice League Unlimited #38
New Line Cinema's Tales of Horror #1
Fantastic Four #551
Living with the Dead #1

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Now watching...

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters!

Last night, the family and I watched The King of Kong, the unlikely story of "bad guy" Billy Mitchell and "good guy" Steve Wiebe competing for the world's record on the arcade classic, Donkey Kong. The reason I call it unlikely is that it's amazing that a film would be made about such an esoteric topic.

The movie struck a fine balance between humor, drama, campiness, and human interest, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Naturally, considering the subject matter, I'm more than a little biased, but critics nationwide gave the film high marks. Check out some of these reviews here.

Much has been made of the historical inaccuracies in the film, and you can read about these on the Twin Galaxies website, which tracks video game high scores.

Here's Twin Galaxies' Walter Day, who was featured prominently in the film. I took this picture at the 2007 Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas (he asked to hold my book while I took a photo).

I met Billy Mitchell at the 2003 Classic Gaming Expo and was lucky enough to catch him playing a round of Donkey Kong.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Atari 2600 fans know that Activision (along with Imagic) was one of the two best third-party companies for the system. Games like Kaboom!, Pitfall!, and River Raid are legendary titles that are still fun to play.

Today, while doing some research for my next book, I ran across some really cool interviews with various Activision programmers commenting on the 2600 titles they worked on. You can read the interviews here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Now Reading...

Game Informer #179!

As most gamers know, Game Informer is GameStop's official publication. A subscription is free with the purchase of an Edge discount card (an excellent deal); or, you can purchase a copy on the stands for $5.99. When issue #179 arrived today, I was surprised to find on page 40 a section called Book Swap, where the editors "Round Up Some Great Books With Ridiculously Long Titles." Among those books was Classic Home Video Games 1972-1984: A Complete Reference Guide. (Okay, maybe the title is a little long...)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Recently published in...

Video Game Collector #9, where I review Batman for the NES.

Other features in the mag include a cover feature on the Sega Nights series, an article about rare game systems, "Collecting Soundtracks," a piece on Simpsons Games, and more.

Also in this issue: Editor in Chief Chris Cavanaugh reviews my book. Here are some quotes from his review:

"a must-read for anyone interested in the industry's golden age"


"each entry is packed with enough detail to hold readers' interest while also educating them"

"helpful for hobby newcomers and researchers alike"

"fun and informative"

"highly recommended purchase"

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Texas Pinball Festival 2008

During the late '70s and early '80s, in addition to pumping quarters into such video games as Breakout, Space Invaders, Asteroids, and Pac-Man, I played lots of pinball. My brother and I became veritable pinball wizards, racking up free games on Firepower, Hot Hand, Dolly Parton, Gorgar, and many other silver ball classics. We frequently haunted The Land of Oz and Malibu Grand Prix, the type of arcades that have now gone the way of the LP and the 8-track tape. Money was tight in those days, so we would sell our extra games for coin to play other machines (including video games).

Needless to say, I was jazzed to hear about this year's Texas Pinball Festival, an event I have attended (and thoroughly enjoyed) several times in years' past. For a nominal fee (relative to what's offered), you can play more than 120 pinball machines and arcade games, each of which will be set up on free play. If you live within two or three hours of the Dallas/Fort Worth/Grapevine area, it's easily worth the drive. For more info, click on the flier, or check out their website.

One other thing: on Saturday, March 15th, from 2-4, I'll be appearing at the convention, signing my book. If you can pull yourself away from your favorite machine, come by the table and say hi!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

About Classic Video Games

About.com, which covers everything from cancer to Christianity to college basketball, now has a "guide" (what they call their writers) for classic video games. D.S. Cohen, who is also the site's Game Boy guide, regularly updates the site with news, links, reviews, and other areas of interest. Read all about it (so to speak) here.