Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987 - NOW AN EBOOK

My most popular video game book, The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987, is now available via Amazon Kindle, which is a free app on your smart phone, tablet, or computer. You can check it out HERE. Or, you can order a hardcover version of the book, signed or unsigned, directly from me HERE.

There have been many top 100 books before, but rarely one like this. Here are the best of the early video games, shown in over 400 color photos and described in incredible detail in the entertaining and informative text. Each game's entry features production history, critical commentary, quotes from industry professionals, gameplay details, comparisons to other games, and more. This book celebrates the very best of the interactive entertainment industry's games from this highly crucial, fondly remembered decade. This pivotal period was marked by the introduction of the indispensable Atari 2600, Odyssey2, and Intellivision, the unleashing of the underrated Vectrex, the mind-blowing debut of the next-gen ColecoVision and Atari 5200, plus the rebirth of the industry through Nintendo's legendary juggernaut, the NES. Whether you're young or old, new to the hobby or a hardcore collector, this book will introduce you to or remind you of some of the greatest, most historically important games ever made.

*"This is an amazing book...detailed information...very high quality all around. - 8-Bit Eric

* "Truly beautiful from cover to cover...It should be a fixture on every coffee table in a video gaming household...Each section of the book is well-written and accompanied by high quality artwork and photos." - Patrick Scott Patterson

* "Author Brett Weiss knows his stuff...a respected name in the classic gaming community...he provides insightful behind-the-scenes information...the book is suitable for just about any type of video game fan." - The Video Game Critic

"100 Greatest Console Video Games 1977-1987 is truly an excellent book that anyone interested in video games should own. Whether you want to read about the details of the games or just admire the tons of images within its pages, this book is for you. Will you agree with every game selected? Unlikely, but thats part of the fun. If you dont find a game you think should have made it within the main book, be sure to check out the appendix at the end with 100 honorable mentions. That game may have made it there. Rating - 10/10." - Retrovideogamer.co.uk

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Coleco Expo Report by Leonard Herman

In a world that was fair and just, Leonard “The Game Scholar” Herman would be a household name, or at least as well-known as the more popular YouTubers. Not only did he write ABC to the VCS, the first comprehensive Atari 2600 book, he penned Phoenix, the first serious book on the history of video games. Alas, the world is unjust, but Lenny labors on (Phoenix is now in its fourth edition), and most everyone with a deep knowledge of retro gaming and video game history holds “Lenny the Legend” (as I and certain other gaming writers have taken to calling him) in high regard.

As a guest at the recent Coleco Expo in New Jersey, which has been getting gleefully skewered online, even by people who weren’t there, Leonard has a first-hand account of what it was like at the show. He admits that the turnout was fairly low (and my impressions are that there wasn’t nearly enough actual Coleco stuff there), but he had a nice time regardless. Without further ado, here’s Lenny's take on the event:

I first met Chris Cardillo at Toy Fair, 2016, during the Coleco Chameleon fiasco. We became Facebook friends, and I was happy when he disassociated Coleco from the Chameleon after it was definitively discovered that the console on display was a fraud. I assumed he was above board, and I personally have had no problems with him since then to change my opinion. So when I learned that Coleco was going to have a show in Edison, NJ, I immediately contacted them to sign up. Ever since Phoenix IV came out in November, it has been difficult for me to attend shows that are not within driving distance. The books are just too heavy to take with me on a plane and would be too expensive for me to ship. Then there's the added problem of having to ship them back home if I don't sell them all. So the idea that there was going to be a convention only 20 minutes from my house really appealed to me.
            Unlike other people who would be at the show, I was not invited, and therefore would have to pay for a table. Unfortunately, I inquired for details and learned that the tables were very expensive--much too expensive for a first-time unproven show.
            Chris Cardillo contacted me several weeks later and asked if I was going to come, and I told him I wouldn't be and the reason why. He then offered me a table at a much reduced price and I agreed.
            Over the next few months I received emails from Tina Cassano of Coleco about the show. I was mortified when I saw Facebook posts going out that showed the other writers who would be there, but there was no mention of me. And then Tina asked me if I wanted to give a talk. I agreed, only to discover that the best time they could give me was 8:00 p.m. on Saturday. I hadn't even been aware that the show would be open past five or six.
            I asked how many people they were expecting, and she said there were over 2,000 pre-orders. Unfortunately I only had 45 books to sell. I was very optimistic and thought that I should at least have enough books for 5% of the attendees. So I ordered another 50 just in case. And I had three of the deluxe color copies, but I ordered an additional five, not really expecting to sell too many because they are so expensive.
            So Saturday morning, August 5, I drove to the show. My friends, Rob Faraldi and Joe Mannarino, who both help produce my Game Scholar videos, agreed to meet me there to help out.
            It turned out my table was not on the main floor. Instead, I was set up by the arcade machines, which were loud. Tina explained to me that after people entered, they would walk down a small hall and enter this room before entering the main hall. I was located next to author Patrick Hickey, Jr, who was between me and author Jeffrey Wittenhagen. I had never met either of the two before but we soon became good friends. And throughout the day Tim Lapetino and Antoine Clerc-Renaud hung around with us. At one point the four of them decided to do a panel together and asked if I wanted to join but I bowed out.
            I did give my talk at 8:00, by which time I was tired. Then there were problems setting the projector. Because of this I don't think my talk about Ralph Baer and early videogames went to well. Even so, there were about 20 people in the audience, despite the time.
            Was there a good amount of foot traffic at different times? Were there 2,000 people? I don't think so. Someone later heard that there were just 650 pre-orders.
            That night I went to dinner with Tim, Jeffrey and Antoine. We had a great time together and decided that even if nobody showed up on Sunday, a day that is traditionally dead, we were going to continue having a good time.
            The New Jersey Exhibition Center was huge, and so the aisles were wide apart. This gave it an appearance of being very sparse. If the coordinators blocked off some of the room and made the aisles narrower, then it would have appeared to be more crowded. I didn't walk around that often, but I saw at least three large booths that were selling old games and hardware.
            On Sunday they moved our tables into the main room right next to the entrance. Again, there seemed to be traffic, which was good considering it was Sunday. I've been to many shows where Sundays were completely dead. I sold all of my hard cover books so I was happy.
            I also met Tyler Bushnell (Nolan's son) on Sunday. He was cool and very outgoing. I offered to drive him to the airport after the show since I was going that way, and we had a great talk about his father and Ralph and Ted (Dabney).
            I heard about the controversy regarding Chris and the community. I had been under the assumption that Coleco had banned homebrewers from using the Coleco and ColecoVision logos, which he had a right to do. I asked Chris about it, and he told me that there was one homebrewer that was producing a porn game, and Chris didn't want him using his logos, which I thought made sense. Later I learned how he was strong-arming other homebrewers. I have no opinion on this. All I could say that Chris and his staff were very cordial to us. They even had one girl who constantly came to us and asked if we needed anything.
            If I knew about the controversy right before the show, would I have attended? Probably. I had money and books invested in the show, which I couldn't afford to lose.
            In the end, was I glad I attended? Yes. I sold books and met new friends and contacts. Could the show have been better? Possibly. But I've been to shows that did a lot worse than this one. Did the show suffer because of the controversy? I really don't think so. How many additional people would have attended if there wasn't a boycott? I don't think whatever that number might be would have made much of a difference. ~ Leonard Herman

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Writers Wanted for Super Nintendo Book

The manuscript for Vol. 1 of my Super Nintendo book has been sent to the publisher. The book will be published sometime next year, hopefully spring.
I'm now accepting more submission for Vol. 2, which will feature all the SNES titles beginning with N-Z. If you are interested, please email me (brettw105 [AT] sbcglobal.net) with a brief description of your industry connection, and I will send you further guidelines and a list of games currently available. Here are the basics:
I'm looking for personal stories from industry folks about specific SNES games. By industry folks, I have a loose definition meaning reviewers, authors, programmers, retailers, convention exhibitors, YouTubers (1,000 or more subscribers), etc. 200-350 words per story.
No compensation is involved, but your story or stories with your bio will appear in the forthcoming volume, which will be a large, hardcover, full-color coffee table book. I'm not looking traditional for reviews (though some review content is fine); rather, I'm wanting stories with a personal slant: memories playing the game with friends, memories purchasing the game, memories beating the game, getting the game for Christmas, how a game helped you get through a difficult time, special hate for a game, etc. Another good thing to include is work experience related to a game, and some production history (though these things aren't required). The more insider info, the better, and if you can take readers back to the ’90s, that would be great. THANKS!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

My New Promo Poster

My new promo poster for when I set up as a guest and/or vendor at video game conventions. Thanks to my lovely bride for taking the photo, and to McFarland for designing the poster.
Click on the image for a closer look:

Monday, July 10, 2017

My Appearance on Podcast Rock City - A KISS Podcast

I had a blast the other night appearing on a KISS podcast called Podcast Rock City. We talked about my background as a KISS fan, Encyclopedia of KISS, how I got into writing, and much more. You can listen HERE.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Classic Home Video Games 10th Anniversary Press Release


Contact: Brett Weiss

10th Anniversary of the “Classic Home Video Games” book series.

June 7, 2017

This summer marks the 10th anniversary of the critically acclaimed "Classic Home Video Games" series, written by longtime gamer and author Brett Weiss.

“I can’t believe it’s already been a decade,” Weiss said, reflecting on his magnum opus. “There were very few books on retro gaming at the time. Now you could fill four or five tall bookshelves.”

The original hardcover version of Classic Home Video Games: 1972-1984 was published in July of 2007, around the time such YouTubers as The Angry Video Game Nerd were getting popular, and shortly after the debut of the Wii Virtual Console, which brought old video games into modern gamers’ homes.

A key publication in the retro gaming boom of the last decade, Classic Home Video Games: 1972-1984 was the first video game book published by McFarland (which now has an entire line of video game books), and it was the first book in the history of publishing to fully catalog and describe every U.S. release for such consoles as the Atari 5200, ColecoVision, Intellivision, Odyssey 2, and Vectrex.
The "Classic Home Video Games" series, which was awarded several official Twin Galaxies Trading Cards, also features the first books to catalog and describe every game for the NES, TurboGrafx-16, Neo Geo, Sega Genesis, Sega Master System, Atari 7800, Adventure Vision, APF MP1000, Astrocade, Fairchild Channel F, MicroVision, Odyssey, RCA Studio II, and Telstar Arcade.

What the experts have said about Classic Home Video Games 1972-1984:

“a labor of love...comprehensive...recommended” --Library Journal

“thoroughly researched” --Game Informer

“A must-read...both fun and informative, a highly recommended purchase.” --Video Game Collector

“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...valuable...the breadth of coverage here is astounding...a fun read and a nostalgic trip supreme...undeniably smart, historically valuable and wide-ranging in coverage.” --GameCulture Journal

Author Brett Weiss is available for interviews:


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Classic Home Video Games 1972-1984 - 10th Anniversary

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the "Classic Home Video Games" series. The original hardcover version of Classic Home Video Games 1972-1984 was published July 6, 2007. It was the first video game book published by McFarland (which now has an entire line of video game books), and it was the first book to fully catalog and describe every U.S. release for such consoles as the Atari 5200, ColecoVision, Intellivision, Odyssey 2, and Vectrex. You can find links to excerpts from the book HERE. And order it HERE.

The series also features the first books to catalog and describe every game for the NES, TurboGrafx-16, Neo Geo, Sega Genesis, Sega Master System, Atari 7800, Adventure Vision, APF MP1000, Astrocade, Fairchild Channel F, MicroVision, Odyssey, RCA Studio II, and Telstar Arcade. Check out excerpts from several of my books HERE.

Monday, July 3, 2017

New ColecoVisions Podcast - Our Favorite ColecoVision Arcade Ports

In the new ColecoVisions podcast, Willie Culver, John "Gamester81" Lester and myself have a lot of fun discussing our favorite arcade ports for the ColecoVision, plus a number of other topics, including TheGameCon in Galveston. You can listen HERE.

Friday, June 23, 2017

My Interview with Collected Comics Co-Owner Ron Killingsworth

I’ve known Collected Comics (several Dallas/Fort Worth locations) co-owner Ron Killingsworth since the 1980s, when he owned Heroes Workshop, which had stores in Fort Worth and the Mid-Cities area. When I was co-owner of Fantastic Comics during the early 1990s, we were friendly competitors, more concerned with advancing interest in the art form than stealing one another’s customers. A highlight was when our stores were selected as vendors for the exclusive Marvel Mega Tour in Dallas in 1993. The night before this big event, we had dinner with  and . I still run into Ron from time to time at various comic book conventions around Dallas/Fort Worth, and I’m proud to call him a friend. He’s a nice guy and a great ambassador for the industry. I caught up with Ron recently for a story I’m working on for K Magazine. Here’s that interview, uncut.  

BRETT WEISS: What are some of the differences between comic book retailing during the 1980s, 1990s and now?

RON KILLINGSWORTH: I think the main difference is in technology. Not just in the way a store operates now, but also with the internet, there is more of a sense of community in the industry, both on the retailing and the consumer sides. On the operations side, all of the manual inventory and cycling processes are now handled more efficiently by retail POS systems. On the consumer side, customers can keep up with industry news, new releases, reviews and all manner of information on a near instantaneous basis. Of course, with this instant knowledge it sometimes becomes more difficult for publishers to surprise readers in their storylines.

WEISS: Geek culture is now mainstream. How did this happen?

KILLINGSWORTH: Hollywood. Between all of the profitable and record setting movies, top TV shows such as , Arrow, Agents of Shield and , comics are reaching a larger audience than ever. The industry has also helped, with events such as Free Comic Book Day that reaches out and draws new people into the art form. Conventions are seeing record attendance numbers.

WEISS: Despite the fact that geek culture is now mainstream, comic books sold a lot better years ago when they were less socially acceptable. Why is this so?

KILLINGSWORTH: A couple of different thoughts come to mind here.  The first is that there are probably more readers now, and fewer collectors and speculators.  Collectors - back in the 80s and 90s, I had customers that would buy  month in and month out even though they weren’t reading it just so they could keep a complete run.  Speculators--during the '90s especially, people were buying multiple copies of current comics as “investments.” I remember selling 100 copies of the  to one person, and many bought 2-10 copies of all first issues.  I think with the additional mediums, TV, movies, games, etc, people are able to get their geek fix in different ways, it doesnt have to be just comics anymore.

WEISS: What is the comic book culture like in Keller?

KILLINGSWORTH: Keller is an amazing area full of young families and enthusiastic comics and pop culture fans. The comic book business in Keller is incredible. We have so many folks that love comics, science fiction, horror, and all things pop culture that it’s a pleasure to be here for them. I truly think our customers appreciate that we offer them a well-organized, clean, friendly store with a very knowledgeable staff in Michael, John and Brent—those guys know their comics, both old and new. We have a wonderful clientele for back-issue comics and have worked very hard to bring in a much larger selection of older comics for them. We have a very nice group that come in to participate in our many weekly Magic the Gathering gaming events in our dedicated event space. Gaming is a social event, and we are always teaching new people how to play thanks to our “in-house” gaming experts, Camden & Zoe. The Keller area in simply amazing, the customers are great and the area just keeps on growing. We are excited to be here and an active part of the community.

Check out Collected's WEBSITE

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pac-Man Champion Matthew Laborteaux of Little House on the Prairie Fame

Matthew Laborteaux, who played Albert Ingalls on was a champion during the early 1980s! He was also a big fan!

Click on the images to read the articles:

Monday, June 5, 2017

The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987 - NOW ON KINDLE

My most popular book, The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987, is now available via Amazon Kindle, which is a FREE app on your smart phone, tablet or computer. You can "look inside" the digital version of the book on Amazon HERE. Just follow the link and then click on the cover. Thanks for reading! (The book lists the games alphabetically.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Cloak & Dagger Filming Locations in San Antonio

One of the coolest hobbies my son Ryan has gotten me into is checking out filming locations from some of our favorite movies. This past weekend we went to Alamo City Comic Con in San Antonio, Texas and checked out some locations from the espionage movie (with some cool video game elements) Cloak & Dagger, a cult classic. 

The video game store in the movie was filmed in California, so we don't have photos from that location.