Tuesday, April 18, 2017

SNES Podcast -- Talking Donkey Kong Country & My Super Nintendo Book

 I recently appeared on the SNES podcast, talking the Super Nintendo in general, and my forthcoming SNES book and Donkey Kong Country specifically. You can listen HERE.
ENJOY! 


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Fan Expo Dallas Report


The comic book convention scene is much different now than it was in 1983, when I first started going to Larry Lankford’s late, lamented Dallas Fantasy Fairs, which had begun a year earlier. Back then, the Dallas Fantasy Fair was one of the biggest comic cons in the country, drawing around 2,500 fans. According to some reports, only San Diego Comic-Con and Chicago Comicon were bigger, the former bringing in around 5,000 people (grown to more than 160,000 today).

Compare that to my experience over the weekend at Fan Expo Dallas, where close to 50,000 fans (according to pre-show estimates) converged on the Dallas Convention Center. In the old days (the last Dallas Fantasy Fair was in 1996), comic books were king—most of the guests were comics-related, and most of the vendors sold comic books.

Nowadays, movie and TV celebrities have taken over the bigger comic cons. There are still plenty of comic books for sale (along with action figures, trading cards, T-shirts, and the like), but today’s shows have a different, more corporate, more mainstream vibe than those older, more intimate shows, where you felt like you were part of a secret society.

Before this column devolves into a “get off my lawn” type of rant where I lament “the good old days,” where we would stay at the Dallas Fantasy Fair all weekend without renting a hotel room (the back row of the all-night film room made for a good place to sleep), I’ll try to stay focused on the here and now of Fan Expo Dallas.

Both of my kids were home from college for the event, so that meant I would likely have a great weekend no matter the quality of the convention.

We set out Saturday morning and arrived a few minutes after the show opened. We had media passes, so we didn’t have to hassle with getting tickets, but we still had to wait in a pretty long line just to get in (lines for pretty much everything else were long as well).

After taking a brisk survey of the vendor’s room, we made a beeline to the celebrity area, where several rows of movie and TV stars were meeting, greeting, and taking pictures with fans. One reason my son Ryan wanted to go to Fan Expo was to collect autographs for Hearts of Reality (www.heartsofreality.com), an annual non-profit charity event that helps support Give Kids the World. Located in Orlando, Give Kids the World provides children with life-threatening illnesses and their families an all-expenses-paid trip to Orlando to visit the area theme parks.

With paperwork in hand, and with my daughter Katie and I acting as backup support (at least part of the time), Ryan waited in each line, bravely approaching the celebrities’ handlers, managers, etc., telling them what he was doing, explaining the charity to them, and hoping they would comply. Since Ryan had never done this type of thing before, we didn’t know what to expect.

Much to our delight, a number of celebrities happily agreed. Among others, Ryan collected autographed glossies from such Hollywood types as Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy from Harry Potter), James Marsters (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Khary Payton (King Ezekiel from The Walking Dead) and Robin Lord Taylor (The Penguin from Gotham). Several cast members from The Rocky Horror Picture Show also complied, including Tim Curry (Dr. Frank-N-Furter), Patricia Quinn (Magenta), Nell Campbell (Columbia), and Barry Bostwick (Brad).

Each autographed photo Ryan collected will be auctioned off, and 100% of the proceeds will go to Hearts of Reality. While Ryan won’t benefit monetarily from the autographs he collected, he was the benefactor of a super fun day talking to celebrities, in addition to the good feeling one gets from charitable works. Even some of the celebs who didn’t fork over a photo were a blast to speak with. For example, Rocky Horror cast member and rock and roll icon Meat Loaf didn’t donate a signed pic, but it was pretty cool talking to the legend up and close and personal.

Speaking of Meat Loaf, the highlight of Saturday for me was attending his Q&A panel, where he waxed eloquent about his long career, which includes numerous movie appearances, a brief stint with Ted Nugent (he sang lead vocals on five tracks on Free-For-All), and collaborating with lyricist Jim Steinman on several records, including 1977’s Bat Out of Hell, one of the best-selling albums of all time.

Not only did Meat Loaf tell interesting stories, he was downright hilarious, such as when he mimicked his “moronic” self being absolutely star-struck and unable to speak when he met Elvis Presley and John Lennon (on separate occasions).
Since the floor was open to questions, I tossed out one of my own, inquiring about where he got the idea for combining operatic vocals with rock and roll. Meat replied, “No one. I didn’t want to copy anyone else. I didn’t want to sound like anyone else.” A little later he said, “The only other people who could do what me and Jim Steinman did were Brian May and Freddie Mercury of Queen and Pete Townshend with The Who.”

All in all, Saturday was a blast, and I even found some graphic novels for $2 each, a small stack of old MAD magazines for $2 each, and a large stack of recent Marvel and DC comic books for 75 cents each. I bought these things to resell in my antique mall booth, but I did find one item for my collection: an official Tron joystick (1983) for the Atari 2600 for only $10 (they go for about $25-$30 on eBay).

Ryan and I had decided not to go to Fan Expo on Sunday, since we were both exhausted, and since Ryan figured he had collected about all of the signatures he could. However, Katie talked us into going by insuring us that we would have fun, reminding us that she had driven five hours from Lubbock just to go to the convention, and telling us we’d be crazy to miss the Rocky Horror Picture Show panel scheduled for that afternoon.

It was raining like crazy on our way to the show Sunday morning. While driving in those conditions was a hassle, I was glad I was at the helm and Katie wasn’t driving there by herself. I’m sure she could have handled it, but, even though she’s 19, I’m not ready to give up the role of protective father just yet.

As Katie predicted, we had an amazing time on Sunday, and Ryan even managed to snag a few more charity autographs. The highlight was meeting Jason David Frank, the original Green Ranger in multiple seasons of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. We’re not really Power Rangers fans, but we immediately became huge Jason David Frank fans when he signed FIVE photos and insisted that we pose for a picture with him free of charge. His energy and generosity were awesome.

The coolest part of the entire weekend, as Katie predicted, was indeed The Rocky Horror Picture Show panel. With no need for a moderator, Patricia Quinn, Nell Campbell and Barry Bostwick kept a room full of fans mesmerized and howling with laughter. If you’ve seen Rocky Horror at the theater or on DVD, you can imagine some of the ribbing Quinn and Campbell gave Bostwick about his “tighty-whities.”

The panel was poignant as well. During one especially moving moment, a young woman said that watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is a musical about a “sweet transvestite from Transylvania,” saved her life. Feeling suicidal after her parents had rejected her when she came out as gay and transitioning, she watched the film, and it gave her some measure of comfort and a sense that she wasn’t alone.

I’ve got many more stories to tell about Fan Expo Dallas 2017, such as James Marsters bursting into song at his panel, but those will have to wait until another day.

You can donate to Ryan's Give Kids the World page HERE.

  








Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Vintage Sega 32X Article - Fort Worth Star-Telegram

I was doing some research the other day and found this article in a 1993 issue of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Considering how the Sega 32X failed in the marketplace, it's interesting to note how the console got a feature write-up in a major metropolitan newspaper. There was a lot of hype surrounding the add-on all over the country, but many gamers just didn't feel like titles for the system  offered enough of an advancement over standard Genesis games.

Click on each page for a closer look:





Friday, February 24, 2017

My Super Nintendo Book


For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook, you may not know I'm working on a Super Nintendo book. I've actually been working on it for several years, on and off, but the end is finally in sight--the manuscript is due at the publisher this summer. In addition to descriptions/reviews of every original SNES game released in the U.S. (more than 700 games in all), the book will have personal stories, anecdotes and the like  by prominent retro gamers, including programmers, reviewers, YouTube celebs, convention organizers, etc. My memories will be included as well. This will be a full-color hardcover coffee table book with hundreds of photos and screen shots. 

If you're involved in the video game industry in a professional capacity and would like to submit your story about an SNES game or two for inclusion in the book, send me an email, and I'll fill you in the details and let you know what titles are still available (mostly lesser known games at this point). Your story could be beating a particular game, getting it for Christmas, bonding with a friend or family member over a game, finding a rare title in the wild, beating a world record, special hate for a game, etc. Recent as well as distant memories will work. My email: brettw105 [AT] sbcglobal.net

One of my favorite stories so far is from my wife, Charis, who became an industry insider, whether she like it or not, when she married me. Here's her inclusion in my forthcoming SNES book:

When I married into the whole gaming world, I was such an imposter. My video game experience was limited to post-football Friday nights at the Mazzio’s Pizza arcade with my fellow marching band buddies, and even then, my playing time was limited by my shortage of quarters, not to mention my lack of eye-hand coordination. I didn’t get a lot of practice at home, either, since our only game console was a Sears Pong knock-off. Even through college, I spent more time playing cards and watching movies than firing digital missiles or jumping pixelated barrels.
Then I met Brett. Brett, the guy who knew every old and new game. Brett, the one who kept a running tally of his high scores in a spiral notebook. Brett, who owned more than a dozen old consoles.
I could’ve just cut my losses and left the gaming to him, but I happened to like spending time with him, and if a round or two of Street Fighter II could make him happy, I could oblige. But there was a problem: I happen to be a tad competitive—OK, a LOT competitive. What were supposed to be cozy evenings spent bonding over the SNES turned into unrelenting beat-downs when the experienced gamer pummeled the n00b. Our “together time” was overshadowed by cussing and yelling, and yes, tears, all because E. Honda never gave poor Chun-Li a chance.

Then Donkey Kong Country changed my life and saved my marriage.
Pardon the hyperbole (and the ridiculous undersell of our love), but my savior was that one blessed word: COOPERATIVE. Finally, we had a game we could play together. With Brett as Donkey Kong, I could tag along as his Diddy. Off we’d go through Ropey’s Rampage or the level that warmed my roller coaster-loving heart, Mine Cart Carnage. My Diddy happily played second banana (so to speak) to the master gamer, tagging in when we needed to jump extra high, tagging out when the big bad boss showed up. We’d work together to collect our emus and swordfish, and we’d take turns playing those fun bonus rounds.
Knowing that we could bank those extra life balloons made DKC even better; sometimes one of us would fire up the game before the other was even in the room to build up a bunch of lives before we returned to our saved game. Added bonus: DKC was linear enough for my old-school brain to get, unlike some of the more spatial wandering games that lost my interest along with my avatar.
Brett’s video game collection has grown over the years, but nothing in his big ol’ gameroom will ever take the place of the cart that soothed my Street Fighter II-broken heart, Donkey Kong Country. ~ Charis Weiss, journalism teacher and wife of gaming author Brett Weiss.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pinball Books Worth Reading


Invented during The Great Depression, when Americans needed cheap, escapist entertainment, pinball has been around almost as long as the talkies, but there are very few books on the subject when compared to the film industry. Fortunately, there are some worth recommending.

Here are seven quality pinball tomes—impressive volumes that you’ll be proud to display in your office, library or game room. You might even want to keep a couple on your coffee table for company to flip through.

Pinball!
by Roger C. Sharpe
Publisher: E. P. Dutton
1977 
A pinball collector, designer, licenser, and competitive player, Roger Sharpe is an industry icon. In 1976, when pinball was illegal in many states, he demonstrated before the New York City Council that it was a skill game—not a gambling game of chance—by nailing a clutch plunger shot.

In addition, he authored Pinball!, one of the earliest books on subject. Now an out-of-print collectible, it is a virtual trip through time, bringing to life in text and gorgeous color photos (by James Hamilton) not only the machines themselves, but also the places where they were played in the United States and in Europe, such as arcades, bars, restaurants, and laundromats. Sharpe’s experience with and love for the hobby shine through.

Pinball: The Lure of the Silver Ball
by Gary Flower and Bill Kurtz
Publisher: Chartwell Books
1988 
Gary Flower and Bill Kurtz collected pinballs, contributed to various pinball magazines, and were active participants in pinball festivals for years before penning Pinball: The Lure of the Silver Ball. The book is a sturdy hardcover with color photos on most every page, documenting our favorite hobby from 1930 to 1988. There are also chapters on “Pinball at Home” and “Pinball Ephemera,” along with an appendix listing every pinball manufactured in the U.S. from 1939 to when the book was published.

The book is relatively slim at 128 pages, but it gives readers a nice overview of the industry and brief commentary on many of its key machines, including such classics as Mirco’s Spirit of 76, the first digital pinball, and Williams’ Firepower, the first digital pinball to feature multi-ball play.

Encyclopedia of Pinball: Vol. 1
by Richard M. Bueschel
Publisher: Silverball Amusements
1996
The late pinball historian Richard M. Bueschel plumbed the depths of the Great Depression when penning Encyclopedia of Pinball: Vol. 1, which covers 1930-1933, including such early machines as Whiffle and Rocket. In addition to a wealth of pinball history (origins of pinball, mechanical marvels, the pinball patent wars, payout machines, etc.), this hardcover book features photos of vintage flyers, sales literature, patents, and the pins themselves.

Bueschel followed a couple of years later with Encyclopedia of Pinball: Vol. 2, which covers 1934-1936 and features such topics as bells, kickers, lights, buttons, and electricity. Both books are out of print, but well worth hunting down.

The Complete Pinball Book: Collecting the Game & Its History
by Marco Rossignoli
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
2011
A thick coffee table book with tons of color photos, including extreme close-ups of art and playfields, The Complete Pinball Book: Collecting the Game & Its History was first published in 1999, but is now in its third edition. Rather than list the games by title or company, the book focuses on the evolution and implementation of particular pinball components, such as art, scoring, tilt mechanisms, voice effects, flippers, bumpers, and ramps. A convenient index helps you locate pics of specific machines.

With all the recent pinballs produced by Stern, along with a couple from Jersey Jack, we’ve got our fingers cross that this book will be expanded into a fourth edition.

The Pinball Compendium: 1982 to Present (Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition)
by Michael Shalhoub
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
2012
Michael Shalhoub likely devoted hundreds (if not thousands) of hours to his series of pinball books, the most current of which is the revised and expanded edition of The Pinball Compendium: 1982 to Present. Instead of focusing on detailed rules of the games, Shalhoub shines the spotlight on the artists and designers, such as Ted Estes, one of the programmers on The Twilight Zone. Estes is given two pages in this massive hardcover book to discuss his history in the industry, accompanied by two color photos: one of Estes in his office and one of him standing in front of The Twilight Zone.

Depending on your preference, this emphasis on the creators can be a good or bad thing, but we like the format as it sets the book apart from the pack.

The Pinball Price Guide, Ninth Edition
by Pinballeric
Publisher: PINBALLERIC LLC
2013
Listing the price values of more than 2,000 pinballs released for the U.S. market from 1931 to 2012, The Pinball Price Guide, Ninth Edition distinguishes itself by dividing pricing into three condition classes: 1 (best), 2 (good), and 3 (okay). A Condition Grading Guide helps you determine the grade of the pinball you are trying to evaluate, from its backglass to its cabinet to its playfield.

In addition, the book has tips on caring for and maintaining machines, along with four articles: “Electro-Mechanical Games of the 1960s and 70s” by Brian Saunders, “Woodrail Pricing: The Big Picture” by Gordon A. Hasse, Jr., “Prewar (Flipperless) Pinball Machines” by Rob Hawkins, and “Bingo-Style Pinball Machines” by Dennis Dodel.

Pinball Machine Care and Maintenance
by B. B. Kamoroff
Publisher: Bell Springs Publishing
2015

Pinball machines are fun to play, but with all their moving parts, they do break down from time to time. If you have one or more pinballs in your game room, or you are responsible for maintaining the machines in an arcade, grab a copy of Pinball Machine Care and Maintenance 3rd Edition (third edition), which offers easy-to-read instructions on fixing flippers, checking fuses, identifying pinball parts, protecting the backglass and playfield, disassembling and setting up a machine, general cleaning and maintenance, and much more. This is a useful tool for beginners and veterans alike.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Collecting Abraham Lincoln


In the 1992 feature film, Wayne's World, which is based on the Saturday Night Live skit starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, Garth Algar, speaking to Wayne Campbell, compliments Cassandra—the film’s requisite bodacious beauty—with the following epithet: “If she were a president she would be Babe-raham Lincoln.”

So entrenched is Abraham Lincoln in the collective consciousness of America that even a mindless Hollywood comedy can—without hesitation and with nary a lick of context—name-drop the 16th president in a joking manner and expect everyone in the audience, even younger viewers with little care about what happened before they were born, to immediately get the reference.

Widely regarded as the best president in the history of America (numerous surveys, including a 2007 Gallup poll, have ranked him number one, ahead of such luminaries as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson), Abraham Lincoln deserves his posthumous fame and his reputation as a great leader, thanks in no small part to his brilliant leadership during the most trying time in the history of the country: the Civil War.

While in office Lincoln had his share of detractors, including many slave owners in the South and those who violently opposed his suspending of the writ of Habeas corpus during the Civil War. However, these days you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t love Lincoln, who, as anyone with even the most rudimentary understanding of American history is all too aware, was assassinated by actor and Confederate spy, John Wilkes Booth, on April 14, 1865.

One of Lincoln’s most ardent admirers is Dan Weinberg, owner of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, which, as the name suggests, specializes in Lincolniana. In addition to rare books, the store carries autographs, manuscripts, prints, paintings, sculptures, stamps, pamphlets, and much more.

According to Weinberg, who began his involvement with the store in 1971 and in 1984 became sole proprietor, Lincoln was indeed the greatest American president.

“When I came to the shop 40 years ago,” Weinberg said, “I knew about Lincoln’s major accomplishments, of course, but when I began studying him in depth I discovered that the ‘mythology’ surrounding Lincoln is essentially correct. His honesty, ethics, and morality were second to none. He was an amazing leader and a true genius.”

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in a one-room cabin in Kentucky. In December of 1816, the Lincoln family, who lost their land partly due to a faulty title, moved to Indiana. Abe’s mother, Nancy, died of “milk sickness” when he was only nine years old. In 1819, Abe’s father, Thomas, married Sarah Bush Johnston.

Thomas was a frontiersman, meaning Lincoln grew up doing exhaustive, physically demanding labor, including splitting fence rails, chopping firewood, and plowing fields. Despite his rural upbringing, Lincoln had an aversion to killing animals, meaning he didn’t care for hunting and fishing.  

Lincoln received limited formal education and was primarily self-educated, literally reading everything he could get his hands on (books were a rare commodity in largely illiterate frontier Indiana), including such volumes as Robinson Crusoe, Dillworth’s Spelling-Book, and Life of Washington (it should come as no surprise that Lincoln greatly admired the founding fathers).

In 1842, the tall and gangly, yet athletically adept (he was a renowned wrestler) Lincoln married
Mary Todd. Prior to being elected the 16th president of the United States on November, 16th of 1860, Lincoln held a variety of jobs, including general store owner, postmaster, county surveyor, congressman (initially a member of the ill-fated Whig Party, Lincoln later helped shape the new Republican Party), and lawyer (practicing law under Mary Todd’s cousin, John T. Stuart).


“Part of Lincoln’s brilliance is that he was self-taught,” Weinberg said. “Through self-directed study and innate genius, he was able to understand issues and the law. He learned how to write speeches, how to be a lawyer, and how to be the Commander in Chief.”
Lincoln’s exploits during his presidency are the stuff of legend. His famed Emancipation Proclamation helped ensure the freedom of more than three million slaves and provided the groundwork to outlaw slavery altogether. His concisely elegant Gettysburg Address, which typified his rarified oratory skills, remains one of the most quoted political speeches in history. And, of course, there’s that little matter of preserving the state of the Union.

“We [as a nation] were very lucky to have him in office at that tumultuous time in history,” Weinberg explained. “A lesser president might have let half the country go. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, inclined toward real dictatorship (as opposed to merely suspending Habeas corpus and shutting down a newspaper or two).”

While Lincoln has been elevated to virtual sainthood over the years, he, like all presidents before and after him, wasn’t perfect, something Weinberg freely admits.

“I wish Lincoln would have learned the military aspects of being president more quickly,” Weinberg said. “Strategy he understood almost immediately, but I wish he would have found a general more quickly. Maybe then the war could have ended a year or three earlier.”

Also, while it’s generally understood that Lincoln was fond of children, he didn’t necessarily take to parenting right away.

“He had to learn how to become a father,” Weinberg said. “I don’t think he was a good father in the beginning. He was away a lot, and I think Robert [Lincoln’s first son] may have felt that. It really wasn’t until Willie [Lincoln’s third son] came along that he learned fatherhood.” (Lincoln had a total of four children—all boys).

Despite these perceived shortcomings, Lincoln remains largely above reproach. And, in addition to being regarded as the greatest president of all time, he’s the most collected as well. Collectors all over the world clamor for original Lincolnalia from the 19th century.

According to Weinberg, some of the rarest, most valuable Lincoln items are letters written by Honest Abe. “I had one spectacular letter that sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It was written to Thomas Corwin during the presidential campaign of 1860. Lincoln succinctly explained that he was against slavery and that he would do something about it.”

In addition to selling Lincoln items, Weinberg is a collector as well. “Hanging on my wall right now is the only known instance of Lincoln misspelling his name. He crossed it out, and it became ‘Linclon.’ He crossed it out and did it again until he got it right.”

One-of-a-kind Lincolnalia, such as the aforementioned letter, are clearly out of the price range of the average collector. However, there are many vintage Lincoln items that are highly affordable, including such mass produced items as books, electoral tickets, and pamphlets. Even more affordable are replicated items, such as archival quality reprinted photos, which can sell for as little as $55.

Easily the most common Abraham Lincoln collectible is the Lincoln Cent, which was commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt, designed by Victor David Brenner (who placed his initials conspicuously on the back of the coin), and released into circulation on August 2, 1909. Prior to the taboo-busting Lincoln Cent, it was considered indecorous by many to feature the image of a person—living or dead—on a circulating coin (despite, or maybe because of, such precedents as the infamous Julius Caesar coin).

The 1909 Lincoln Cent—more commonly known as the penny—featured a profile of Abraham Lincoln, an image still used today, making it one of the longest-running coin designs in the history of the world. The reverse side depicting “wheat ears” was changed in 1959 to a depiction of the Lincoln Memorial. While most so-called “wheat pennies” are only worth a few cents each, certain issues with die flaws or with Victor David Brenner’s initials are worth considerably more. (For more info on coin values, consult the 2011 Hand Book of United States Coins: The Official Blue Book by R.S. Yeoman and Ken Bressett).


One of the more colorful Lincoln collectibles is Classics Illustrated #142 ($30), which tells—in comic book form—the tale of Honest Abe’s personal and professional life. Released in 1958, the issue was reprinted in 2010 by Jack Lake Productions. 
Also released in 1958 was Dell’s Abraham Lincoln Life Story #1 (1958, $20). More recent sequential art offerings include the graphic novels New Adventures of Abraham Lincoln (1998) and A Treasure of Victorian Murder: The Murder of Abraham Lincoln (2006).

In 2010, Seth Grahame-Smith, author of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, released Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, an illustrated, critically acclaimed novel that melds history with fantasy and horror.

Whether you’re a serious student of presidential history, or you’re simply a fan of Honest Abe and would like to acquire a few mementos, the collecting possibilities are virtually endless, ranging from vintage campaign items to post-assassination commemoratives to modern day kitsch.

Weinberg has advice for the aspiring Lincoln collector. “I always tell people ‘quality over quantity.’ Of course, it’s a hobby, and you have to collect in a way that makes you happy. I don’t recommend collecting Lincolnalia solely for investment purposes, but if you do then you’d better collect top of the line stuff, something that has spectacular content or a great story behind it.”

Here’s a look at the selling prices of a recently completed run of eBay auctions for various Abraham Lincoln items:

*1860 campaign ribbon: $4,051.
*1860 Abraham Lincoln/Hannibal Hamlin ferrotype campaign pin: $993.57.
*1861 CDV photo by Mathew Brady: $416.92.
*1864 campaign medal: $887.77.
*1864 campaign buckle: $416.44.
*1865 “pewter rim type” mourning piece with a Mathew Brady albumen photograph: $2,940.
*1865 silk mourning ribbon: $99.99.
*1866 Memorial Address on the Life and Character of Abraham Lincoln (George Bancroft, Government Printing Office): $199.00.
*1867 15-cent U.S. postage stamp: $70.39.
*1890 first edition 10-volume book set, Abraham Lincoln: A History, by John G. Nicolay and John Hay: $1499.99.
*1954 Baccarat paperweight: $127.51.
*1993 Budweiser Civil War stein: $99.99.
*2009 commemorative silver dollar: $137.50.

For more information on Lincoln collectibles, check out these two books: A Guide Book of Lincoln Cents (Official Red Books) by Q. David Bowers (2008) and the older, but still useful Collecting Lincoln (Schiffer Book for Collectors & Historians) by Stuart L. Schneider (1997).


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Celebrities of the Late 1970s Talk Video Games

Check out what Charlton Heston, Dr. Joyce Brothers and Martin Landau had to say about video games back in the day. Fascinating stuff!
Click on the image for a closer look. 


Thursday, January 5, 2017

The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987 -- Reviewed in Digital Press #75


The new issue of the long-running Digital Press fanzine is now available. Editor in Chief Jeff Spega reviewed my "100 Greatest" book, giving it high marks all around. Thanks to Jeff for taking the time to write such a thorough, thoughtful and entertaining review.
Click on each page for a closer look: