Sunday, October 28, 2018

SNES Omnibus Writer Spotlight #35 - Alex McCumbers

Alex McCumbers, who, like me, anxiously anticipates Vol. 2, was a supporter of the SNES Omnibus project from the get-go. His enthusiasm for the books and his excitement at the prospect of being involved as a contributing writer are infectious. When Vol. 1 shipped, he blew it up on social media, which of course helps get the word out. Since I’m not a famous YouTuber with a built-in audience, this support really is important. Thanks, Alex, for your terrific write-ups, and for your energy and passion for writing about video games. This type of vibe keeps me going when I get bogged down and feel like I can’t type another word. You rock!

Here's Alex's bio as it appears in The SNES Omnibus Vol. 1:

Alex McCumbers hails from the mountains of West Virginia. Always in the pursuit of video game academia, and fighting against all odds to be a writer, he sharpens his mind and skills with daily practice. Find him on Forever Classic (YouTube, Twitch, podcast), Marooners’ Rock and Giga Geek Magazine.

Friday, October 26, 2018

The SNES Omnibus Writer Spotlight #34 - Christopher Pico

When I sent out the call for contributors to the SNES Omnibus project, Christopher Pico enthusiastically hopped on board. He loved the idea of writing about his favorite console, the Super Nintendo. His stories in both volumes show that he knows his stuff. Not only is Christopher involved with the project on a creative end, he’s helped promote it by hosting a book giveaway and creating a review for his Old Ass Retro Gamer YouTube channel. He reviewed my Sega Genesis book as well. Chris is also an expert on movies, and it’s fun to read his Facebook posts about film. I hope to hang out with Chris at a video game convention soon. He’s a cool cat. Thanks, Chris!

Christopher “The Old Ass Retro Gamer” Pico is a filmmaker and has been a die-hard gamer since his parents purchased an Atari2600 when he was a child. When he lost his job of 11 years in 2011, he was forced to sell his video game collection, which he had been amassing since the late ’90s, to pay the bills. When he returned to the hobby in 2013, he created The Old Ass Retro Gamer YouTube vlog to document his quest to reclaim his collection. He counts the Super Nintendo as his favorite console of all time, followed by the Sega Dreamcast and the PlayStation 2.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Family Guy - Tecmo Bowl, Double Dribble, and ColecoVision

The writers of Family Guy have an obvious love for retro gaming. Check out Peter and the boys playing Tecmo Bowl and Double Dribble:

And in this clip, Peter finds his long-lost ColecoVision:

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

SNES Omnibus Writer Spotlight #33 - Holt Slack

As with my buddy Delf Meek, I met Holt Slack in Tulsa, Oklahoma well over a decade ago at the late, lamented Oklahoma Video Game Expo. Over the years, we’ve become good friends, hanging out at video game and comic book conventions and meeting up at the National Video Game Museum. I recently interviewed Holt for an article for AntiqueWeek about The Transformers, and his answers were fun and informative (surprisingly, he didn’t say a single sarcastic thing during the entire interview—LOL). We are about the same age and have a lot in common, including an interest in cycling, comic books, and 1980s rock ’n’ roll. Holt, who is clearly devoted to his wife and boys, turned in some fun stories for The SNES Omnibus project. Thanks, Holt!

Holt Slack discovered his love of video games via a friend’s home Pong console in 1975. Soon after, other friends introduced the Odyssey, Atari, and Apple II computer before Holt finally got his own Atari 2600 for Christmas in 1979. He began reading magazines like Electronic Games and Creative Computing and video game tip books in the school library. Now the father of two competitive gaming sons, he remains an avid collector and exhibits at regional gaming conventions like the Let’s PlayGaming Expo in Dallas and the late, great Oklahoma Video Game Expo in Tulsa. Holt’s greatest gaming achievement is getting a letter to the editor published in the June, 1983 issue of Electronic Fun with Computers & Games magazine—look it up!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

SNES Omnibus Writer Spotlight #32 - Delf Meek

I’ve been attending video game conventions since 2003. During that time, I’ve met many cool people, including friends I never would have met otherwise. One of my best friends I’ve met through gaming is Delf Meek, who has helped me set up and run my booth at shows, manned the table so I could be freed up to do panels, and let me crash at his place in Oklahoma to save on travel costs. We always have a lot of laughs at gaming cons (he's funny and often sarcastic--he's probably puking at the sight of this post). We’ve also been known to kick back a brew or two, eat way too much, and throw down on some classic arcade games. He’s become a friend of the family as well. Delf contributed a couple of fun nostalgic stories to The SNES Omnibus project, and I was glad to include him. Thanks, Delf!

Here’s Delf’s bio as it appears in the books:

Delf Meek has been gaming since he begged his parents to buy him an Atari 2600 back in 1981, when he was just five years old.  Since then, he has evolved through every gaming system up to modern consoles, but his true love is for the classics.  An exhibitor at various gaming conventions in Texas and Oklahoma, Delf enjoys collecting and restoring old game consoles and arcade machines.

Click HERE to pre-order The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games Vol. 2 (N-Z) with pre-order bonuses.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

SNES Omnibus Writer Spotlight #31 - Patrick Scott Patterson

One of the cool things about working video game conventions is that I’ve gotten to know many people in the industry, including Patrick Scott Patterson (a.k.a. PSP), who works to preserve the history of video games, both in terms of physical cartridges, discs, consoles, and documentation, and in terms of recording their history in print, including in The SNES Omnibus volumes 1 and 2. He also works as an advocate for gaming, frequently speaking to the media on behalf of the industry. Scott, the name he prefers to be called, is a devoted family man, a talented gamer, and an all-around cool guy, and it’s always good to see him at trade shows. We’ve even done a few panels together. Thanks, Scott!

Here’s Scott’s bio as it appears in The SNES Omnibus:

Patrick Scott Patterson is a video game advocate, historian, and preservationist. Gaming since 1981, Patterson works full time in his efforts to ensure the legacy of the industry and culture are not lost to time. Check out his work at

The SNES Omnibus Vol. 2 is now available for pre-order. Check it out HERE.

Friday, October 12, 2018

SNES Omnibus Writer Spotlight #30 - Jerry Bonner

Jerry Bonner gets paid to write stuff. A whole lot of stuff, as you can see by his bio below. Yet he, like many other "industry insiders," gladly volunteered to contribute stories (good ones at that) to the SNES Omnibus project to help preserve the history of the Super Nintendo and the 1990s in general. Jerry is also a devoted family man and by all accounts a valuable asset to his community, working for the Camden County Police Department.

The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 2 (N-Z) is now available for pre-order. Check it out HERE.
Jerry Bonner is a writer who lives in New Jersey. He’s had a love affair with video games since the dawn of Pong. Jerry has written for Gentleman’s Quarterly, IGN, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Ars Technica, Yahoo!, 1UP, Playboy, GameCrate, What They Play, GamePro, Imagine Publications (NOW Gamer, X360, Play tm, Retro Gamer, etc.),  Gameranx, Geeks of Doom, Deep Silver/Koch Media, Twist-Ed Games, Manwin/SuperHippo Games, Indie Gamer Chick, GameFront, Next Media Animation, Artistry in Games, Geekadelphia, Bitmap Books, The Sims Magazine, Pixelkin, Cosplay Culture Magazine, WaterMelon, and Little Player magazine. Check out his random nonsense on Twitter: @jbonner71.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

SNES Omnibus Writer Spotlight #29 - Jon D. Harrison

Jon D. Harrison is an enthusiastic supporter of and true asset to The SNES Omnibus project. Not only did he contribute some cool stories, including memories of playing Final Fight 2 for Vol. 1 and Street Fighter Alpha 2 for Vol. 2, he frequently helps promote the books on social media. As you can judge by his bio below, which will appear in the books, he’s also wicked smart. More importantly, he’s a nice guy and a devoted family man. Thanks, Jon!

Jon D. Harrison, MBA, ODCC is a TEDx Speaker, author, blogger, and podcaster. His unique approach to teaching business, leadership, and life lessons with video game analogy and metaphor has appeared on FastCompany, Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, The Good Men Project, Monster, The NY Daily News, NG4, IGN, The Computer Games Journal, and his site, His book Mastering The Game: What VideoGames Can Teach Us About Success In Life is available on

Click on the pic for a closer look:

New Podcast! - Procedurally Generated Show

I was on a recent podcast, the Procedurally Generated Show, where we discussed The SNES Omnibus and other topics. Advance to the 1:06 mark to hear my interview. You can listen HERE.

Monday, October 1, 2018

SAMPLE STORY - The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 2 (N–Z)

Check out this sample story from video game journalist Keith Good for my forthcoming book, The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 2 (N-Z). It's a heartfelt, literary account of growing up playing Super Bomberman with childhood friends. Below that, you can read my review of the game, along with my memories of the game and some quotes. The layout of the book will be much better than what you see here, but these are the images and text that will be used. The SNES Omnibus Vol. 2 will release April 28, 2019.

Insider Insight:
We were three: Jon, Laura, and Keith. From the day we met waiting for the school bus, our number caused nothing but consternation. Three is not a number equally divided. Three cannot play one-on-one basketball. Three will not evenly distribute the penny candy which always seemed to fill our pockets. Only the swing set behind Jon’s house, with its three plastic seats, and bike rides to the comic book shop kept any truce.

Had we grown up in the ’50s or ’60s, we could have played three-player marbles without worry. Children of the ’80s and ’90s, though, were divided into two discrete groups: Player Ones and Player Twos. The NES—and its two controllers—always left a third of us (impatiently) waiting. Our rules dictated home field advantage won Player One, leaving the two visitors to barter and cajole for the second controller. “Take turns on lives” and “Each play one game” seem like perfectly reasonable sharing systems until you’re at level 8-4 of Super Mario Bros. and the game cheats to kill Luigi. Hand over the controller when the game cheats? Not going to happen.

We all had NES decks, but Jon was the first to get a Super Nintendo. I remember thinking his parents had a sort of technological magic; games seemed to appear in his room before they’d even been released. You can imagine my surprise, in an age before internet forums and publicized release dates, walking into Jon’s room to find him and Laura playing Super Bomberman. Their little avatars toddled around a block maze, setting bombs which exploded in fantastic plumes of red and orange flame. The music bounced as they exploded the computer’s players and each other. The game felt utterly bright and new.

I remember the darkness of the room, the midnight blue carpet, the curtains drawn. Jon and Laura sat cross-legged before the TV, faces glowing bright from the game. Two extra controllers snaked over the carpet beside them. I followed the cords to a half-moon looking hunk of plastic plugged into the player two port. I did some quick math and was left dumbfounded: four controllers?

I pointed to the peripheral (thought I probably wouldn’t have known to call it a ‘peripheral’ in 1993). “What’s that?”

Neither Jon nor Laura looked away from the screen. “Super Multitap,” Jon said. He always knew everything's exact name. “Four players.”

I picked up the third controller like choosing Indiana Jones’ Holy Grail. Super Bomberman felt like a discovery, like the dawning of a new age. Game mechanics quickly learned—blow up blocks, gather power-ups, blow up more blocks (and each other)—the three of us played together. It must have been hours. All three of us playing the same game, at the same time? It felt we’d finally arrived in the future, that following three-player Super Bomberman, hovering skateboards and flying cars couldn’t be long after.

Which isn’t to say our arguments magically disappeared. Who got to be which color sprite caused heated arguments and Jon’s habit of shouting “To the victor go the spoils!” after every single win often caused friction. But we no longer needed to argue over who sat out. Now, with Super Bomberman and a Multitap, we could have the best possible video game argument: who was going to blow the crap out of whom in the next match. - Keith Good

Super Bomberman
Publisher: Hudson Soft. Developer: Produce.
Maze, 1-4 players (simultaneous). 1993.

One of the best party games for any system, Super Bomberman maintains the basic gameplay of the popular, highly addictive Bomberman for the NES, but adds something crucial that is a trademark of all the sequels and spinoffs: multi-player action. The two-player mode is great, but things get really exciting and chaotic when three or four gamers go at it. This is achievable via a multi-tap adaptor, which is available separately or packaged with the game via a special release packaged in an oversized box called the Super Bomberman Party Pak.

Gameplay is simple, but hugely entertaining, with gamers guiding their BomberMan around a non-scrolling maze (a grid of 143 squares, placed 13x11), setting bombs to kill opponents and other enemies and getting out of the way before the bombs explode. Helpful items appear as you destroy enemies, walls, and opponent Bomber Men. These include extra bomb (increases the number of bombs you can lay on the ground), accelerator (increases your running speed), explosion expander (increases range of your explosions), indestructible armor (makes you impervious to explosions), remote control (lets you detonate bombs by remote), super bomb (lets explosions pass through obstacles like enemies, skulls, and walls), kick (enables you to kick bombs away from where they are placed), power glove (lets you punch bombs away), and more.

There are 12 selectable battle stages, a.k.a. zones: Normal, Western, Bomb, Jump, Belt, Tunnel, Duel, Flower, Light, Power, Warp, and Speed. Destroying certain walls reveals level exits; exiting through there after all the enemies are destroyed clears the level. In multi-player games, the last surviving player wins. The storyline revolves around the evil Carat Diamond and his cohort, Dr. Mook, who are hosting a Robot Tournament in Diamond City in order to steal BomberMan’s advanced combat abilities. The one-player game is a little too easy this time around, and the graphics remain simplistic, but that’s okay: the multi-player action will keep you and your friends entertained indefinitely.

Memories: When my children were little and my wife and I would go visit her mother in Tyler, Texas during the late 1990s, the women and kids would go to the mall or wherever, and I would strike out on my own, haunting game stores, used book stores, thrift stores, and the like. One of my better finds during these outings was a boxed copy of Super Bomberman Party Pak with the multi-tap and manual included. I paid $10 at a pawn shop. It is now worth around $200.

Notable Quotable: “An addictive game that does not become repetitious…The graphics in Super Bomberman are good and extremely cartoony. They fit the game well, as do the sounds which benefit from the fact that they do not get annoying after a long play period. But where this game excels is in the play.” - Electronic Games (September 1993)

Notable Quotable: “This game is the bomb! Magazine and game development houses across the globe have all missed a deadline or two to Super Bomberman’s charm. Certainly, the one-player adventure has its moments, but the true way to experience Super Bomberman is with three of your friends in multiplayer Battle Mode. It may look cute and happy, but multiplayer Bomberman is nothing but brutal and bloody because, once you start talking smack, the hours just disappear.” - Game Informer #100 (August 2001), which ranked Super Bomberman the 90th greatest video game of all time.

To pre-order a signed copy of The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 2 (N-Z) direct from me, with bonus items, click HERE.

The SNES Omnibus Vol. 1 is available now, and you can order it HERE.