Saturday, March 28, 2009

Now planning to attend...

The Oklahoma Electronic Game Expo (April 11th), where I'll be signing copies of my book. It's a free event with lots of fun things planned, so if you live within driving distance (5 hours or less) of Oklahoma City (Oklahoma City Community College to be precise) and are into video games, I would recommend that you go.

For more info, check out their website:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Recently mentioned in...

Back Issue Magazine #33, which contains a few letters of comment (LOCs to use fan vernacular) referring to my article on Thundarr the Barbarian, which appeared in Back Issue #31.

Michael Aushenker wrote: "As a fan from childhood of the Thundarr the Barbarian cartoon, I appreciated the well-written overview by Brett Weiss." Darrell McNeill called it a "fine article" in his brief missive while Jeff Taylor said "Thanks for the coverage of the Thundarr the Barbarian cartoon."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Recently published in...

Comics Buyer's Guide #1653, where I review The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #1.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #1
Marvel Comics
$3.99, color, 32 pgs.
Writer: Eric Shanower
Artist: Skottie Young
Grade: 4 Stars (out of 4)

Issue #1 (of 8) of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz follows the first three chapters of L. Frank Baum’s classic novel by rote, oftentimes using lines from the book verbatim, sometimes replacing narration with dialogue, but always keeping on track. Naturally, certain details are left out (such as Dorothy buttering bread), but most of the plot points are covered, from the twister taking Dorothy’s farm house to Oz to the house landing on The Wicked Witch of the East to Dorothy letting The Scarecrow follow her down the Yellow Brick Road.

The issue’s faithful adherence to the novel may make some wonder why it is necessary in the first place, other than to showcase Skottie Young’s rag doll, storybook-style renderings, which are indeed lovely. No artist can fully evoke the utter grayness of the Kansas prairies or the colorful wonderment of Oz described by Baum’s pitch-perfect prose, but Young (along with colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu) gives it his best shot.

This entire series will cost $31.92, meaning the inevitable trade paperback will probably be a better value.

Texas Pinball Festival 2009

There were more than 100 pinball machines set up on free play at the Texas Pinball Festival, an event I attend every year.

My daughter, Katie, playing The Flintstones.

My son, Ryan, playing Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Me playing Creature, viewed from the side to show the terrific cabinet art.

What pinball hall is complete without The Who's Tommy? You didn't have to go to Soho or down to Brighton (or anywhere in between) to play tons of machines at the Pinball Festival in Grapevine, Texas.

Me playing Godzilla, trying (and succeeding only partially) to be a Pinball Wizard.

Star Wars, nothing but Star Wars, everything's Star Wars, da da da da.

This Dolly Parton machine brought back lots of childhood memories. My brother and I used to dominate this game at Malibu Gran Prix, rack up tons of credits, and sell them for extra money to play other pins.

Ryan playing Super Mario Bros., the lesser known pinball counterpart to the popular Nintendo video game.

Ryan looking serious, trying to pop a game.

My wife, Charis, a huge fan of real roller coasters, playing a Roller Coaster pinball machine.

Me playing Dig Dug, one of my all-time favorite video games. Most of the convention room was filled with pinball machines, but Warlords, Gyruss, Marble Madness, and a few other video games were available.

What's geekier than wearing a Dig Dug shirt? Wearing a Dig Dug shirt while playing the game.

Ryan, a huge Star Wars fan, got the high score on the Episode 1 pinball machine (note the RJW initials).

Katie playing Lethal Weapon 3. All four of us went to the festival on Friday night, but Katie and I returned the next day and stayed from 10:30 Saturday morning until 2:00 a.m. Sunday.

Me playing Baby Pac-Man, a highly underrated hybrid game loaded with strategy. You have to play the pinball game below to earn energizers and other helpful items used in the video maze screen above.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is Science Fiction Antithetical to Religion?

The conflict between science and religion dates back as least as far as Galileo and the Roman Catholic Church and has been debated endlessly over the years, but I ran across a fascinating discourse that attempts to answer a somewhat different question: Is Science Fiction Antithetical to Religion?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Colin All Classic Video Game Fans

I found this review of my book today on the Video Game Critic website (yes, I admit, I do "Google myself" from time to time). The review was written by someone called "Colin H Atarifever":

Classic Home Video Games 1972-1984: A Complete Reference Guide
By: Brett Weiss

Classic Home Video Games 1972-1984 covers a huge number of systems and games put out between 1972 and 1984. There is a brief description of all official releases for each system, and a brief description of each system. As a special bonus (as far as I am concerned anyway) because the 7800 was test marketed in 1984, it too is included.

The descriptions of both the games and systems are well written and informative, without being long winded or "youtube silly." Every review gives the impression that the author has taken each game in the context of its time and its system. Even games that most people give a hard time often get put into context well. For example, Computer Intro for the O2 is called "quite an accomplishment back in the relatively PC-free days of 1979."

As well, the book is well laid out. The games are listed alphabetically for each system, and the font and layout are similar to that of a good text book (two nicely organized columns of text). Like many difficult textbooks however, the book contains few pictures and what ones there are are in black and white. More pictures and some screen shots would no doubt have been nice. However, then the book would likely have cost a lot more, for something that is almost unnecessary considering how good the descriptions are. Also, what pictures are in the book are quite nice and are well labeled.

Another really good, textbook like, feature of the book is the glossary and index. These are really top notch, and make looking up anything in the book a breeze. This honestly makes the book seem like something one would find being used in a course on the history of gaming.

This book will certainly find itself staying on my coffee table (helped along by the fact that it looks really nice on the outside). I would recommend this book to any classic gaming fan, or anyone new to the hobby looking for a good, all purpose, non-online resource. It also has obvious value as a quick reference for garage sales and thrift stores. It is a very solid buy.