Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Classic Game Fest 2016 -- I'm a Video Game Character!

Classic Game Fest returns this summer for their biggest event yet at the Palmer Event Center in Austin, Texas on July 30-31, 2016. CGF will feature more than 45,000 square feet of vendors, special guests, free play arcade/console games, musical acts, tournaments, and so much more. This family-friendly event is open to all ages, and kids under 12 are free.

I’m flattered to be depicted on the advertising poster with the other guests, such as best-selling author Ernie Cline and Intellivision king Keith Robinson, and I totally dig being depicted as a 16-bit video game character!

(click on the image for a closer look)

Monday, May 30, 2016

Filmfax Publishes Their First Video Game Article

I've been reading and writing for for years, but they've never done a article before. Until now. They've been on a robot kick lately, so I thought I would take a chance and pitch my article on robots in video games, and they took the bait. Click on the images if you want to take a closer look and read the article. Or, you can pick up the issue at Barnes & Noble. The editor botched some of the photo captions ( is an arcade game, for example), and color would've been nice, but I'm pleased overall with the presentation.

Click on the pages for a closer look:

Sunday, May 29, 2016

HoldSquare Videogame Podcast #9 - Chewbacca Mom - Ghostbusters - Flash Gordon - Gran Turismo

Join outlawcurtis and myself for the latest HoldSquare Videogame Podcast as we discuss the Chewbacca mom, Gran Turismo, racing games, Flash Gordon, Ghostbusters and more.

Click HERE to watch our videos in full screen. Thanks for watching, subscribing and liking our videos!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Encyclopedia of KISS: Music, Personnel, Events and Related Subjects -- Author Copies

My Encyclopedia of KISS has finally been published. It is a labor of love as I've been a huge fan of the band since the mid-1970s. I worked on the book on and off for two-and-a-half years, and I'm proud of the finished product. The book distills the massive scope of KISS--the albums, band members, magazines, books, toys, girlfriends, wives, tours, movie and TV appearances, and much more--into a fun, well-researched, 227-page encyclopedia. Everything is listed in alphabetical order for your convenience, and the book includes photos, a preface discussing my interest in the band, a history of KISS, and a thorough index. By clicking on the cover on Amazon, you can read the first few pages for free. Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Laughing Chewbacca Mask Lady -- Funny or Not?

I'm a Star Wars
 fan with a sense of humor. Not only do I enjoy the films, I like the parodies of and comedies about the franchise as well, including the first and best, Hardware Wars. I also like Spaceballs, Fanboys, The Family Guy Trilogy and others. However, I didn't laugh once or even smile during the latest YouTube video to go viral, the laughing Chewbacca lady. I found it annoying, shrill, and obvious. Maybe my soul is dead, but I didn't get the appeal. Your mileage may differ. Did you find it funny or not? Please leave a message in the comments on your opinions of this popular video. Thanks! 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Summer 2016 Video Game Guide

There’s rarely a dull moment in the video game industry, and now is certainly no exception.

Nintendo has announced that they are launching their next console, the Nintendo NX, in March of 2017. Techies eagerly await Sony’s groundbreaking virtual reality system, the PlayStation VR, heading to stores this October.

And rumors abound regarding possible upgrades to the  and the  (you may have heard mention of the “PlayStation 4.5”), consoles that are only about two-and-a-half years old.

Meanwhile, gamers are having a blast with such recently released blockbusters as Doom - PlayStation 4(PS4, Xbox One), Star Fox Zero(Wii U) and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End(PS4), the latter of which many are already calling one of the greatest video games of all time.

Here are nine more tantalizing titles you might enjoy. Two you can pop in and play right now; the rest you can enjoy over the next couple of months to escape the summer heat.

As always, release dates are subject to change.

PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Publisher: 2K Games. Developer: Gearbox Software.
ESRB Rating: Teen
Available Now

Many gamers are currently knee-deep in Battleborn, a frenetic first-person hero shooter with elements of a MOBA, which, for you noobs, stands for multiplayer online battle arena. If you have yet to take the plunge, know this: the game features a robust lineup of 25 playable, upgradeable characters, each of which has a storyline and distinctive abilities, weapons and techniques. Five of the characters are immediately available. To unlock the others, you must finish story missions, achieve new player ranks or complete an assortment of tasks.

Developed by Frisco-based Gearbox Software, creators of the hugely popular “Borderlands” series, Battleborn released to mixed reviews, but I like its visual panache and plethora of playable characters.

Disney Art Academy
Nintendo 3DS
Publisher: Nintendo. Developer: Headstrong Games.
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Available Now

Disney Art Academylets budding Botticellis and those of us who can barely draw figures put stylus to screen and illustrate more than 80 Disney and Pixar characters, from Mickey Mouse to Donald Duck to Snow White to Elsa from Frozen. Step-by-step lessons with tutorials make illustrating easy, and you can select from nine different art tools, including pens, markers and spray cans. New to the “Art Academy” series is a magic brush that lets you add such flourishes as clouds, stars and glitter.

Once you’ve created your 2D masterpiece (there is no 3D option), you can post it directly to the Miiverse or on social media via the 3DS Image Share tool.

Dangerous Golf
PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Publisher: Three Fields Entertainment. Developer: Three Fields Entertainment.
ESRB Rating: TBA
$ TBA (digital download only)
Release date: June 3

Golf is the most genteel of sports. Players wear slacks and collared shirts while viewers speak in hushed tones, clapping politely when their favorite golfer sinks a long putt. Scratch all of that with Dangerous Golf, a game of destruction the programmers refer to as a cross between Burnout, Black and NBA Jam.

Up to eight players take turns “golfing” in such indoor locations as a kitchen, a bathroom, a castle and a palace. Instead of just hitting the ball into a flagged hole, gamers also splat food on walls, spill paint on works of art, set fire to gas pumps and smash everything from dishes to microwave ovens to grand pianos and grandfather clocks. Sounds like my kind of golf.

Kirby: Planet Robobot
Nintendo 3DS
Publisher: Nintendo. Developer: HAL Laboratory.
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Release date: June 10

Everyone’s favorite pink puffball returns for another side-scrolling platform adventure in Kirby: Planet Robobot. Invaders have mechanized Dreamland. To battle the baddies, Kirby, who can maneuver in the foreground and background, uses more than 25 copy abilities, including three new ones: Doctor, Poison, and ESP. Better yet, Kirby can now walk, slide, shoot, fly, smash through obstacles and lift heavy objects while wearing Robobot armor, which makes him more powerful than ever.

The game also includes a mode called Team Kirby Clash, which lets up to four players level up their characters (in RPG-like fashion) and cooperate to battle bosses.

Grand Kingdom
PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Publisher: NIS America. Developer: Monochrome.
ESRB Rating: Teen
Release date: June 21

Fans of JRPGs (Japanese role-playing games) should be excited for the U.S. release of Grand Kingdom, a tactical, squad-based game that launched to largely positive reviews in the Land of the Rising Sun last November. Players lead a team of mercenaries through the fantasy world of Resonail, using bows, swords and magical attacks in turn-based battles against such enemies as dragons, harpies and giant wolves.

The single-player campaign has you trying to unravel the mystery of the collapse of the Uldein Empire while online play lets you participate in continental warfare between the Four Great Nations.

No Man’s Sky
PlayStation 4
Publisher: Hello Games. Developer: Hello Games.
ESRB Rating: Teen
Release date: June 21

An immersive adventure set in a vast universe, No Man's Sky looks to be one of the most open-ended electronic experiences we’ve ever seen. Exploration and survival take center stage as you traverse uncharted solar systems, travel to distant planets and suns, catalogue new life forms, search for ancient artifacts, dogfight in outer space, engage in first-person combat and collect resources to trade for ships, space suits and other equipment.

You can play solo or hop online and share your discoveries with other players, “naming them and adding them to the Galactic Map, forever associated with your PSN ID.” This game could literally keep you busy for years.

Umbrella Corps
PlayStation 4
Publisher: Capcom. Developer: Capcom.
ESRB Rating: Mature 17+
$29.99 (digital download only)
Release date: June 21

An offshoot of the popular “Resident Evil” series, which began on the original PlayStation 20 years ago, Umbrella Corps takes place in 2015, two years after the storyline from Resident Evil 6. The game side-steps the survivor horror genre the series popularized in favor of third-person shooter action, not unlike the non-canonical Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City.

As a mercenary with a mission, you, cooperating with fellow mercenaries, compete online to eliminate zombies while battling rival teams. Defeating enemies grants points for use in customizing your mask, helmet, armor and Zombie Jammer, the latter of which helps keep the baddies at bay. You can also unlock and customize weaponry, such as the new, super powerful Doberman Pincer shotgun.

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U
Publisher: Warner Bros. Developer: Traveller's Tales.
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+
$29.99 (3DS, Vita), $49.99 (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U), $59.99 (PS4, Xbox One)
Release date: June 28

If you’re a diehard “Star Wars” fan, but you’ve dismissed the “LEGO” series as mere kiddie fare, you might want to think twice about skipping this game, which includes playable (not to mention canonical) story content bridging the gap between Return of the Jedi and .

Gameplay is similar to previous “LEGO” titles, with one or two players walking, jumping, solving puzzles, piecing together items and engaging in comical, lighthearted battles. New to the series are Multi-Builds, which let you use LEGO bricks to open up new paths and then break them apart to open more paths, and Blaster Battles, which let you use your surroundings as cover while facing the First Order.

Star Ocean 5: Integrity and Faithlessness
PlayStation 4
Publisher: Square Enix. Developer: tri-Ace.
ESRB Rating: Teen
Release date: June 28

Set between Star Ocean: The Second Story and Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, this is one of those epic, cinematic, all-consuming role-playing games that just may absorb your life, making you forget to shower, shave or interact with actual human beings. It’s action-oriented at its core, however, with players, as swordsman Fidel Camuze, engaging in real-time battles with beasts, bandits and other enemies on the planet of Faykreed, which is 6,000 miles from Earth.

The basic fighting system consists of simple three-button combat (light attack, heavy attack, and guard), but gamers can create weapons and other items and switch between seven controllable characters on the fly, each of whom has a different fighting style. Japanese through-and-through, the anime-style characters were designed by “Street Fighter” veteran Akira Yasuda.

Carmageddon: Max Damage
PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Publisher: Stainless Games. Developer: Stainless Games.
ESRB Rating: TBA
Release date: July 8
Remember the 1975 Roger Corman-produced cult classic, Death Race 2000? It’s the one where “Machine Gun” Joe Viterbo (Sylvester Stallone) and other racers run over pedestrians for points. With Carmageddon: Max Damage, the latest title in a series that began in 1997, you can cause similar mayhem while driving down grannies, nuns and cheerleaders, along with pedestrians on bicycles, wheelchairs and mobility scooters. You can even hit such targets as aliens, bears and penguins.

There are more than 30 drivable vehicles to select from in this politically incorrect game, and you can grab more than different 90 power-ups for increased carnage. The action takes place in small battle arenas and across such large open environments as city streets, arid deserts, country trails and icy wastelands, “all packed with juicy meatbags for your killing pleasure.”