Thursday, March 20, 2008

Recently reviewed on...!

A new review of my book popped up on Amazon today that I would like to pass along. It was written by an attorney based in Spokane, WA, and I was pleased that he enjoyed the book. Here's a portion of what he wrote:

I recently received my copy of Classic Home Video Games. GREAT JOB!

This book is highly professional and, as such, extremely useful. The caliber of this book is along the lines of legal reference books. Frankly, I never expected to see this degree of organization and editorial discipline in this particular arena.

This contribution to the chronicling of the classic video games will be
priceless to collectors for generations to come. This book is the benchmark and basically defines the niche.

Please be aware that this is a serious reference work. It is not a "coffee table" picture book. Also, as with any type of review, there is a certain amount of subjectivity involved, however, the author provides useful, relatively unbiased information considering there were undoubtedly page limits that had to be adhered to.

I have a large library of collectible-type books spanning an eclectic variety of subjects, and this is one of the best such books that I have. If you look upon yourself as a video game collector or enthusiast, this is a MUST HAVE.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

R.I.P. Arthur C. Clarke

With the passing of Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008), the world has lost a giant in the field of science fiction (not to mention actual science). I've read and thoroughly enjoyed a number of his books, but the two that stand out in my mind are the adventure-filled Rendezvous with Rama and the intellectually stimulating Childhood's End, the latter of which is one of my favorite all-time science fiction novels.

Recently published in...

Comics Buyer's Guide #1641, where I review Looney Tunes #156.

Monday, March 17, 2008

More Texas Pinball Festival Photos

My wife took these photos Friday night.

The festival floor, or at least about 1/3 of it.

Ryan playing Super Mario Bros., one of his favorite machines.

The Twilight Zone, one of my faves.

I'm a huge Flash Gordon fan (the original Alex Raymond strip, the serials, the movie, the cartoons, etc.), so it was a thrill to play this newly refurbished machine.

Universal Monsters' Monster Bash, the greatest pinball machine ever made. I love the theme, of course, but the objectives, table layout, and level of difficulty are pitch perfect.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Texas Pinball Festival Photos

My good friend Rick tooks these photos at the Texas Pinball Festival and was kind enough to send them to me. We all had a great time. The kids and I were there all day Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:20 p.m. We were planning to stay till midnight, but sore hands, weary feet, and tired eyeballs dictated otherwise (we had also gone to the festival the night before).

Me playing one of my favorite pins, Lord of the Rings.

Saturday afternoon, I took a break from the machines to sign my book. It was nice to get off my feet for awhile, sell a few books, and talk video games with some friendly folks. Thanks to festival organizer Craig for hosting the autographing, and to Rick for bringing the Atari and the retro television set.

Pinball wizard and Karaoke queen Katie playing a little Seawitch.

Me playing one of the more than 100 machines that were set up on free play. The picture makes me look fat, but it's just my baggy shirt (I swear!).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Now watching...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

My kids and I are almost done watching the entire seven-season Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, one of my favorite television shows of all time (along with The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, STNG, and The Outer Limits). Some could argue that Buffy is a little too adult at times for preteens, and they would be right on some accounts (DVD remote always in hand, I've skipped past a number of scenes and one entire episode), but watching the show has been a worthwile experience for my increasingly inquisitive kids. While discussing certain episodes, we've had conversations about loyalty, friendship, poor choices (and their consequences), moral ambiquity, homosexuality (the concept may be icky, but it's important to treat the people with respect), sacrifice, betrayal, writing for dramatic effect, and many other topics. One setback of watching the show is that it has spoiled them to some degree for other programs, since the characters are so likable and the writing is of such high quality.

On a related note, I recently reviewed issue number six of the current Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic book series, which picks up where the TV show left off. Here, reprinted from CBG, is that review:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #6
Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Georges Jeanty

When the credits rolled on the last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in May of 2003, it left a tremendous void in primetime programming. Joss Whedon’s show about a demon killer and her misfit friends (a.k.a. the “Scooby Gang”) was a witty, pitch perfect metaphor for teenage angst (not to mention a darned good action/adventure/horror yarn).

Enter Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, a well written comic book series that gives fans reason to be excited. Issue #6 stars Faith, the tough talking, morally ambiguous slayer who is the “go-to girl for dirty deeds done dirt cheap.” She must kill off a room full of child vampires, an act that pierces even her calloused heart. She must also prepare for a special mission by learning the ways of English high society (ala My Fair Lady), setting up a potentially delicious seventh issue.

Faith looks as much like Gina Davis as she does Eliza Dushku, but Giles is recognizable, and the dialogue fits the characters. When Giles speaks, you can practically hear Anthony Stewart Head in your, um, head.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Recently published in...

Back Issue magazine #27, where I write an article about the artist formerly (and currently) known as Prince, who "starred" in a pair of comic books during his heyday in the '80s and early '90s. Not only was Prince the main character in each comic, he was a creative consultant as well, giving plenty of input on each issue.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Jabba the Snowman

We got a rare afternoon of snow here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, so the family and I had a great time making snowmen (and creatures).

To paraphrase the Weird Al song, "Can't you see we're white and nerdy."