Friday, October 30, 2009

Brandon, aka Obliterator918 on the Digital Press message boards, took this video footage of OVGE 2009:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Book Review

Thanks to Earl Green for the following write-up about and photo of my books in his report on OVGE:

Author Brett Weiss had his new Classic Home Video Games book for sale too, and I made sure I grabbed one by the end of the show; this is a companion volume to his incredible all-encompassing volume covering the early years of the industry; this volume covers the NES (a huge library which takes up a lot of the book), Sega Master System and their contemporaries. Very highly recommended.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oklahoma Video Game Expo 2009 -- REPORT!

I got back late last night from the 2009 Oklahoma Video Game Expo, which was held at the beautiful (and quite accomodating) Spirit Bank Event Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is about a 4.5 hour drive from where I live in Fort Worth, Texas. Fortunately, the drive was well worth it as I got to catch up with friends, sell and sign a bunch of books, and even unload some extras from my collection. Kudos to con promoter/organizer Jesse Hardesty for putting on a great show.

Both editions of Classic Home Video Games for sale.

I sold a number of hard-to-find ColecoVision games and much more.

An interactive display...

...of the infamous Nintendo Power Glove.

Trade-N-Games was on hand, selling games and their photo/price guide, Classic '80s Home Video Games. With its color pictures and prices, their book would make a nice companion to my first book (Classic Home Video Games 1972-1984), which contains descriptions/reviews of each game.

Boxed NES goodness from Trade-N-Games. Check out their online store here:

A number of arcade cabinets were set on free play, including Space Duel, which famously appeared on the cover of The Who's It's Hard album.

Cool Pac-Man collectibles.

Proof that women attend video game conventions.

It was nice catching up with Rob "Flack" O'hara, who had a table next to mine, selling boxed systems and copies of his books, Commodork and Invading Spaces. You can check out Rob's always interesting blog here:

Though they weren't for sale, it was cool to see all these fighting games on display.

It was nice visiting with Earl Green, whose DVDs are indespensible for classic gamers. You can catch up with Earl here:

Darren "98PaceCar" (on the right) had a table next to mine, and it was a blast hanging out with him, joking around and talking videogames. Thanks to Darren for watching my table periodically so I could check out other tables and take restroom breaks.

One exhibitor had at least one copy of every known videogame-based board game on display. Very cool.

All in all, OVGE 2009 was a success. I had some laughs, made some extra cash, and even won the Atari 2600 tournament, which included 3-minute rounds of Berzerk, Kaboom!, and Centipede. The prize was an Atari Jaguar (which will make a nice backup system, since I already have one) and a Coleco tabletop Pac-Man, which is an excellent addition to my collection.

One more thing. Before I even got to the con, I stopped off at a couple of Vintage Stock stores and made a great find: Mattel Basketball 2 and Tandy Championship Electronic Football, both boxed with manual and in excellent condition for only $7.99 each.

Recently published in...

Comics Buyer's Guide #1660, in which editor Brent Frankenhoff asked us writers to submit our holiday wish lists:

Here's mine:

1. Bone Volume 1: Out from Boneville from Scholastic. Introducing this fun, funny, and adventurous series to a traditionally non-comics reader of any age would be a great Christmas gift indeed. And it’s only $9.99 in color.

2. The Flash Archives, Vol. 1. Robert Kanigher, John Broome, and Carmine Infantino (bolstered by editor Julius Schwartz) introduced Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash, by way of ingenious (if sometimes endearingly ridiculous) SF stories that remain enjoyable today.

3. Super Friends: The Lost Episodes DVD. As a huge Super Friends fan, I purchased this recently released, two-disc set and discovered that there were two or three episodes that I have little recollection of seeing back in the day. Includes an episode where Superman journeys back to Krypton in his Supermobile an hour before Krypton exploded.

4. Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell (hardcover). Originally published in 1936, this is the best piece of fiction I have ever read, telling the story of impoverished poet George Comstock, his tease of a girlfriend, his job as a lowly book clerk, and his seemingly unkillable plant. Anyone with artistic aspirations should read this humorous, yet heartbreaking novel.

5. Classic Home Video Games, 1985-1988 by Brett Weiss. Okay, this is a shameless plug, but anyone with a fondness for the era of gaming that gave us the Nintendo NES, the Sega Master System, and the Atari 7800 could do worse than this book, which describes and reviews every game for those systems (moreover, there’s a foreword by ex-comic book writer Bill Kunkel).

The top gift idea for me:
Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music Director’s Cut (40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition with Amazon Exclusive Bonus Content).
I was born during the Summer of Love (1967) and didn’t have hippie parents (meaning I wasn’t one of the little naked two-year-olds at Woodstock), but I am a hippie at heart (if not in execution) and would love to snag this DVD boxed set from some sympathetic flower child.

Also, CBG #1660 includes my review of:

Nick Magazine #157
Nickelodeon Magazines
$3.99, color, 32 pgs.
Grade: 2 Stars (out of four)

Like many newsstand magazines, Nick Magazine has shrunk in size, with this installment weighing in at only 34 pages. Dubbed the “frighteningly funny October issue,” the mag contains mostly comics, including four SpongeBob strips, the funniest of which has Plankton zapping Krusty Krab customers with a cyclopto-ray. The second funniest (not to mention the grossest) finds SpongeBob clipping (and replacing) his fingernails.

Another strip worth mentioning is “Don’ts” by the legendary Gahan Wilson, whose work has often appeared in such weighty publications as Playboy and The New Yorker. “Don’t” exhibits Wilson’s trademark creepy characters, dark surprises, and downright amusing moments. Comic book fans may miss it if they blink, but Evan Dorkin has a small cartoon panel on page 20.

Otherwise, Nick #157 is readable, but nothing special. The real shame is its thinness. The Internet is an incredible tool and source of entertainment, but the unfortunate downside is the effect it’s had on the magazine publishing industry. Most kids, teens, and twenty-somethings seem to prefer online content to flipping through actual magazine pages.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Oklahoma Video Game Expo 2009

While the family holds down the homestead this weekend, I'll be up in Tulsa at the Oklahoma Video Game Expo, signing copies of my new (and old) book, selling classic video games, and hanging out with fellow gamers.

Here's the official press release:

Oklahoma's Only Retro Video Game Exhibition Returns!

Classic video games will once again rise from history as mid-America's one and only OVGE returns for the sixth Oklahoma Video Game Exhibition.

On October 24, 2009 video game collectors and enthusiasts from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, and even further will come together at the Spirit Bank Event Center in Tulsa to celebrate the history of the video gaming industry. “Before the OVGE, people from the surrounding states had to travel across the country for an event such as this,” said Jesse Hardesty, founder and organizer of the OVGE. Doors will open to the public at 9:00 a.m. and close at 5:00 p.m. Cost of admission for ages eight and above will be $5 dollars at the door.

In 1972, the video game industry began with the release of the Odyssey by Magnavox, the first multi-video game system for the home. However, in the early ‘80s an overflow of games and poor sales forced many companies to close resulting in drastic drops in prices for their merchandise. Companies still in business could not compete with the low pricing and lost money from their over stocked inventory causing the great crash of the video game industry in 1983. Since the rebirth of the industry in 1985, with the introduction of the Nintendo Entertainment System, video game sales have flourished.

Still, many video game players are returning to classic video games. With the advanced graphics of today’s video games, why are so many people fascinated with the classics? “Even though modern game systems have amazing graphics and sound, the most important aspect of any video game is that it actually be fun to play. Because classic game systems, like the Atari 2600, had very simple graphics, game designers had to focus on the game-play. Those same games that were fun in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s are still just as much fun today,” stated Albert Yarusso, modern video game programmer and co-founder of

"With video gaming being today’s main form of home entertainment, the history behind it should not be forgotten,” said Hardesty. “The Oklahoma Video Game Exhibition is providing the youth and their parents a chance to visit and interact with that past.” Numerous video game systems, computers, and arcade machines, will be set up for the public to play. Vendors and exhibitors will have memorabilia on display with many items for purchase.

The OVGE is organized by a group of gaming enthusiasts who want to share their hobby and passion for classic and modern video games with the public.

For more information, visit