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]

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.

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