Sunday, January 27, 2008

Now playing...

Odama for the GameCube!

The Japanese-flavored Odama is a truly original creation: a cross between pinball and military strategy. The titular gigantic "pinball" is used to destroy buildings, crush enemies (and friends, if you aren't careful), and in general pave paths of destruction. Players can tilt the various battlefields (which are viewed from an overhead perspective) to guide the massive orb.

Odama makes interesting and enjoyable use of the GameCube microphone, which players use to shout commands to their soldiers, who must carry items to safety. Voice-activated commands include: Advance! Fall Back! March Left! March Right! Press Forward! and Rally!

Odama with the microphone attachment originally retailed for $49.99, but GameStop has recently marked it down to $12.99. If you like quirky games with a sense of humor, you'd do well to pick it up, especially for that price.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

GameCulture Journal #4 Now Available!

The new issue of GameCulture Journal, which is a free, PDF file format video game magazine, is now available. Much to my delight, it includes a review of my book.

The review was written by pop culture critic John Kenneth Muir, author of Horror Films of the 1970s, The Encyclopedia of Superheroes on Films and Television, and many other books.

Here's a sampling of quotes from Mr. Muir's review of Classic Home Video Games 1972-1984:

"Weiss's deep familiarity with his chosen subject matter is an asset of the text, and as a writer he conveys information clearly and without pretension"

"Weiss's reviews of obscure games make the book a treasure"

"impressive and fun book"

"the breadth of coverage here is astounding"

"a fun read and a nostalgic trip supreme"

"undeniably smart, historically valuable and wide-ranging in coverage"

Sunday, January 20, 2008

2600 Connection

As many of you know, I'm fairly aggressive when it comes to marketing my book. After all, a prestige format, niche market item like Classic Home Video Games 1972-1984 needs all the exposure it can get. But I also routinely promote classic gaming endeavours by other folks, including books (Steven L. Kent's Ultimate History of Video Games), websites (Digital Press, Atari Age), and stores (Movie Trading Company, Game Over Video Games).

This time out I'd like to put the focus on 2600 Connection, the labor-of-love fanzine started by Tim Duarte and currently published by Al Backiel. The breezy, fun-to-read mag began in the Summer of 1990, when Atari was still releasing games for the Atari 2600. The first issue was a mere two pages in length (front and back on one piece of paper), but the publication has evolved to include much more content, including photos.

Currently, circulation for the 2600 Connection is just under 100 copies, but it deserves a much wider audience. In addition to subscribing to the 2600 Connection (issue #91 is now available), you can purchase the first 50 issues directly from Tim Duarte. For more info, check out the 2600 Connection website. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Recently published in...

Comics Buyer's Guide #1639, where I review Iron Man and Power Pack #1.

The issue also includes: a feature on The Hulk, a piece on the NBC hit Heroes, an interview with Gene Simmons, "25 Years of CBG," and much more.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Clearing up some misconceptions.

When hearing about my book, some think that it is merely a dry listing of games or a stuffy reference volume. This is not at all true, so I've written a new description of the book that will hopefully provide better insight into what the book is all about. Much of the gameplay information in the book cannot be found anywhere else (other than through experience playing the actual games), plus there's loads of editorial content.

So, without further adieu, here is the new description:

Classic Home Video Games, 1972-1984: A Complete Reference Guide is the only book ever written that contains detailed gameplay and review content for EVERY game for EVERY programmable console of the Golden Age of gaming.

The book provides comprehensive coverage of the following game systems: Adventure Vision, APF MP1000, Arcadia 2001, Astrocade, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 7800 (a bonus, since it was released in 1986), ColecoVision, Fairchild Channel F, Intellivision, Microvision, Odyssey, Odyssey2, RCA Studio II, Telstar Arcade, and Vectrex.

Also includes:

*Historical data
*Console biographies
*Genre definitions
*Video game term definitions
*Release dates
*Developer/Publisher info
*Crisp black-and-white photos
*Durable hardcover binding with excellent paper stock
*Appendix listing homebrew titles
*Editorial content based on the author’s 30+ years experience playing video games
*Author preface
*Full coverage of post-1984 releases for the Atari 2600 and Intellivision

“Quality writing”—Retro Thing
“a labor of love…comprehensive…recommended”—Library Journal
“a great-looking new book”—
“Brett Weiss knows his video games, and this book is a must for all fans”—Bart Bush (former editor of Larry Bieza’s Pinball Price Guide)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Trade your unwanted comics for my book!, which is run by Lone Star Comics, is now carrying Classic Home Video Games 1972-1984. They have an excellent, user-friendly program where you can trade your comic books for their merchandise (or simply purchase the merchandise via payapal or various other methods). For more info, check out MyComicShop.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Recently published in...

Scary Monsters Magazine #65, where I review the Flash Gordon: Saviour of the Universe Edition DVD. I also talk a little bit about meeting Melody "Dale Arden" Anderson at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Bill "The Game Doctor" Kunkel

As I alluded to in a previous post, one of the highlights of my writing career thusfar has been meeting (and selling a book to) Bill "The Game Doctor" Kunkel, a legend in the field of video game journalism. He was co-founder and executive editor of the groundbreaking Electronic Games (an early '80s mag that I read religiously during my teens) and has been active in video game writing ever since, covering both modern and classic consoles. His latest print gig as editor of Tips & Tricks magazine was cut short due to the cancellation of the magazine, but I stumbled across a website that is currently host to his always insightful, always entertaining musings. Bill adds new content to his column on J2 Games on a regular basis, and the site sells games as well. Retro gamers and modernists alike should definitely check it out.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Now watching...

Spider-Man 3!

Despite its overly long running time and a handful of blatant flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed Spider-Man 3, both on DVD and in the theater. The film had dazzling action sequences, incredible special effects, and enough Peter Parker/Mary Jane relational dynamics to keep even non-comic book fans interested. And, of course, the bit players did their usual fine job, most notably Rosemary Harris as Aunt May and J. K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. Many critics and fans complained that three villains were too many, but that didn't bother me at all--it simply amped up the action.


Now for the flaws:

#1. The worst part of the entire film was when the Venom symbiote infected Peter Parker's personality. Parker becoming angry and cold hearted was fine, but him strutting about town and acting "cool" came off as extremely silly and not at all funny.

#2. Tying Flint Marko to the death of Ben Parker was a bad idea that was clearly shoehorned into the film to create additional hero/villain conflict. It didn't achieve its goal. Not even a little bit.

#3. Spider-Man letting Sandman go near the end of the film was ridiculous. During his rampage through the city, it was clear that Sandman injured (and probably killed) numerous innocents, including police officers. Forgiveness is fine, but heinous actions deserve fitting consequences.

#4. Gwen Stacy, whose death in the comics is mourned to this day by fanboys worldwide, was given very little depth. Her apology to Mary Jane in the night club was a nice touch, but she seemed vapid and empty headed overall.

For an action flick, Spider-Man 3 definitely works. Discriminated viewers, however, will have to overlook a few sore spots.