Sunday, September 15, 2019

Old School Gamer Magazine #12 - READ FOR FREE!

Old School Gamer Magazine #12 is now available!
It features articles on Nolan Bushnell, the Magnavox Odyssey, Space Invaders, Yar's Revenge (by designer Howard Scott Warshaw himself!), and much more, including my article on YouTubing.

You can read the digital version for FREE by clicking HERE. Enjoy!


Friday, September 13, 2019

A New Review of Both Volumes of The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games

One of the longest reviews ever written about any of my books popped up on Amazon recently. Very thorough. Here it is:
 

By Samuel Stinson

BrettWeiss has done a great service for the classic gaming community, not only in his earlier work writing for the All Game Guide and other publications, but most recently in his creation of both volumes of the SNES Omnibus. Weiss’ two volumes of the omnibus include and A-Z approach to listing all of the published SNES games released, with A-M appearing in the first volume and N-Z in the second volume. I would highly recommend both volumes for the personal libraries of classic gamers, as well as for reading material for those who are new to the classic gaming scene. In addition, the variety of materials included is a helpful representation of the classic gaming community, so those interested in the discourse community of classic gamers as a whole will highly benefit from reviewing these texts. In this review, I will review the general structure and content of the omnibus, briefly beginning with the material included in the front matter, then discussing the the structure of the entries themselves, and finally the back matter.

Front Matter

The front matters provide a fascinating review of how these materials came to be, and how we might appreciate the contributions of the teams that developed both volumes. The foreword in volume 1 is provided by Bill Loguidice, the producer of the documentary Gameplay: The Story of the Videogame Revolution. Loguidice provides a technical breakdown of the SNES and discusses the affordances of the system and how it relates to the designers’ intents for releasing a system that at the time represented the cutting edge of 16-bit game systems. Weiss then includes a preface that overviews how he got into writing about video games and how he assembled the group that contributed to the writing. For volume 2, Weiss again writes the preface, this time more briefly. This time around, however, Ben Reeves, the senior editor for Game Informer, pens the foreword. Reeves notes that compared to the competition, the SNES was actually “underpowered” in terms of processor—though the production team made specific use of the system’s technological constrains with respect to music and visuals.

Structure of the Entries

Each entry in the omnibus includes the selected game, publisher information, selected box art and scenes from gameplay, a summary of the game’s story, and a fun-fact about the game or the game’s production. Also included is contributor information from developers or players commenting on their experiences playing or purchasing the game. Much of the game summary helps the reader to understand play mechanics. For instance, for the “Illusion of Gaia” entry in the first volume, Weiss notes that the protagonist “Will must converse with townsfolk to gather clues, solve puzzles (by flipping switches, moving blocks and the like), dash quickly to smash obstacles and climb steep hills, slide through narrow openings or into foes, collect jewels to trade for items and powers, and destroy monsters to garner extra hit points, strength, lives, and defense.” The insider insight for this game was written by Kris Randazzo, who notes that the promoters of Illusion of Gaia framed the promotional materials to trick players into thinking the game was another in the Zelda series, which led to better sales for the title. For the game “Home Improvement,” based on the TV show, I appreciate the inclusion of the fact that the original game did not include an instruction manual: “There’s no true instruction manual for Home Improvement. Rather, it has a fake manual with a sticker plastered over it claiming, ‘Real men don’t need instructions.’” Funnily enough, this makes the omnibus’ entry more extensive as to the controls and story of the game than the original game’s in-box materials.

Back Matter

At the conclusion of the omnibus entries, each volume includes several essays written by contributors on topics of significance to the classic gaming community. The first volume includes an essay titled “The Console Wars” by Rusel DeMaria that describes that role of the SNES in the 1990s market-place conflict between Nintendo and Sega. The writer’s personal interview with Minoru Arakawa, the then-president of Sega of America, offers insights into the conflict. In “Emulating the Super Nintendo,” Alex McCumbers provides four points of consideration for video game emulation, that emulation is not new, that it is too simple to call all emulation illegal, that emulation benefits the industry, and that emulation provides an educational benefit. While I appreciate the sentiment of these points, I would have preferred to see Nintendo and the other members of the industry have their legal perspective included here: Nintendo has been very clearly and staunchly not an advocate of unauthorized fan emulation as well as being strong protectors of their IP. These positions on emulation while not being popular in the classic gaming community are directly responsible for the creation of the gaming industry that creates the games the community so much appreciates. A more balanced perspective that invited a representative from the industry would have useful and interesting as a counterpoint.

Volume 2 also includes essays that alone may be worth the price of admission. ZoeHoward’s essay “The Super Game Boy” provides insights into the SNES’ (perhaps) most prized library-extension-tool, allowing players to load and play early Game Boy titles on the SNES. Ken Horowitz provides an extended reflection on immersion in “A Deeper Meaning for Super Metroid,” discussing how the title creates mood and atmosphere in its 16-bit virtual environment. Ah, Super Metroid—you were such a cinematic and ludic joy to play—but I digress. Finally, Michael Thomasson gives an expose of “The Super Scope 6” and Nintendo’s promotion of the peripheral and other gamic guns.

Conclusion

My only real complaint about the entries is that I was not invited to provide insider insight for any of the games! Aside from that, and more seriously, the entry list is extensive and reading about other players’ and collectors’ experiences with the SNES library brought back a nostalgia for me that, outside of watching reruns of the Angry Video Game Nerd and the Gaming Historian, often stays cuddled beneath the surface and thinly caked veneer of modern life. And given the extensiveness of the SNES library, I enjoyed reading about games that I never got a chance to experience, rent, collect, or play back in the day. While the collector market for video games has exploded in recent years, leading to ballooning costs for retro games (perhaps best represented by sites such as pricecharting.com), the entries in this omnibus would most certainly be of benefit for the SNES collector who encounters a flea-market bargain but does not have ready access to information about the titles.

The price tag for each volume of the SNES Omnibus sits at $49.99 (US), so that snagging both volumes will put the collector at a little over a hundred dollars for both, after tax. But it is worth it--I cannot think of a single collection that offers this much nostalgia for the price, with respect to the reviews, box and screen art, insights and reflections, and contributor essays. These volumes are both a ready and welcome addition to bookshelves and coffee tables of collectors in the SNES classic gaming community.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

SNES Omnibus Writer Spotlight #51 - Patrick Hickey

In all the years I’ve been writing professionally—more than two decades (yikes!)—few people have been as supportive as my good friend Pat Hickey Jr., a journalism professor who has shared my videos and Amazon links, contributed stories for my Super Nintendo books, promoted my 100 Greatest book, reached out to ask how I was doing, given me shout-outs in multiple podcasts, interviewed me about my work, and much more. He even asked if I’d like to write the foreword to his excellent book, The Minds Behind the Games, which of course I readily agreed to.

In addition to writing about games, Patrick is a devoted family man to his beautiful wife and daughter and an all-around cool guy. When I had the chance to meet up with him on my trip to New York last summer, we had a blast talking shop and checking out the local sights, bookstores, restaurants, and, of course, video game haunts. Pat is all energy all the time, and I’m proud to call him my friend and colleague. Thanks, Pat!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Let’s Play Gaming Expo 2019 -- Rampage Creator Brian F. Colin

The Let’sPlay Gaming Expo, one of the most interactive video game conventions in the country, is returning to Dallas/Fort Worth for an action-packed weekend of alien invading, dot munching, and pixel blasting. The annual, all-ages event will be held August 9-11 at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas.

 If you’ve never been to Let’s Play, here’s the deal: you can get your game on with console and arcade games all weekend long, leaving your quarters at home as all games are set on free play, including such classics as Pac-Man, Q*bert, and Space Invaders. Convention organizers team with some of the premiere collectors in Texas, so there will be rarities to you can check out as well. If you haven’t played the Atari 2600, ColecoVision, or Nintendo NES in decades, the console area will send you back in time to your childhood.

It’s all about having fun, whether you’re a seasoned joystick jockey, a NOOB who wants to see what gaming was like in the old days, or a pop culture fan who enjoys getting their geek on. Tournaments will be held throughout the weekend, meaning you can test your mettle against other gamers. Most tournaments are free with admission, but you will need to pony up $10 to take part in the Southern Regional Qualifier for the Classic Tetris World Championship, which will be held at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo in Oregon.

If you’re looking to add to your collection, Let’s Play features a sprawling vendor’s area with more than 85 booths filled to the brim with cartridges, consoles, and collectables. You’ll be able to purchase boxed rarities, complete game systems, toys and related items, and much more.

No world class video game con is complete without special guests, and in this respect Let’s Play delivers. The featured guest speaker is Brian F. Colin, who designed and created the art for Rampage, the 1986 coin-op classic from Bally/Midway. The game, which featured giant, Godzilla-type monsters crushing buildings, was made into a feature film last year starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Much to his delight, Colin, who lives just outside of Chicago, was invited to the set during the production of the movie, part of which was filmed in Chicago. “Someone from the Chicago casting company called me and said they’d love to have me down since I created Rampage,” he says. “I was an extra running through the streets of Chicago a couple of weekends, and then someone called me over and said, ‘Hey, this is the second unit director and the assistant director, would you like to do a cameo?’, and I said ‘Sure.’ I spent an entire afternoon running away from an imaginary building, running behind cars, cameras mounted on huge trains. It was fun and wonderful, but exhausting—It was 90 degrees, and I thought I was gonna have a heart attack.” [Laughs]

Colin received praise for his effort, with some of the other extras saying he did a good job and that he “really looked scared.”

A couple of weeks later, Colin got a call from the John Rickard, who produced the film. He invited Colin out to Hollywood for the final week of shooting.

“I got to hang out and meet The Rock,” he says. “He was as nice as everybody says he is. He was in the middle of filming one of the final scenes of the movie while I was taking pictures with the producers. He was like, ‘Stop, stop I’ve got to be a part of this.’ He came down, and I found out later he was a big fan of Rampage as a child, so I’m geeking out over him, and he’s geeking out over me. It was a wonderful, wonderful experience. I was treated like royalty and got to go to the premiere.”

Sadly, as so often happens in Hollywood, Colin’s scenes were cut from the film, which he discovered while watching the premiere. He was disappointed, of course, but far from bitter.

“I loved the movie,” he says “I knew it wasn’t going to be my slapstick game, but I thought they did a really nice job.”

Unlike many people in the video game industry, Colin didn’t grow up a gamer. In fact, he barely gave them much thought and was a casual gamer at best.

“I’m a little bit older than most, so video games for me were the original Magnavox Odyssey, which my dad got us for Christmas in the early ’70s” he says. “The fact that you could put a green static cling gel over the screen to get color was the advancement of technology. I was an artist. I was a filmmaker. I went to school for film, and I never really connected with video games. Nothing drew me to video games at all growing up other than, ‘Hey, this is fun, this is interesting.’”

Colin says he “backed into” the video game industry when in 1982 he answered a classified ad for an artist from the Bally/Midway company. He thought they were looking for someone to paint pictures on pinball machines.

“I went in expecting to be interviewed for a job as a pinball back-glass artist,” he says “The gentleman who interviewed me, George Gomez, was the heart and soul of Bally/Midway’s new in-house development group. He told me they wanted me to do art for video games, that they need someone who understands the principals of animation because they want this stuff to look better.”

Colin says that he was “crushed,” but that he “kept a smile plastered on my face the whole interview.” The pay was good, so he reluctantly accepted the job, which he ended up loving.

“I started by working with a programmer named Bob Dinnerman on Discs of Tron,” he says. “I fell in love. I thought, ‘There is so much I can do with this. There are so many ways to push this industry.’ The restrictions on 16 colors and the pixels…the challenge grabbed me completely, totally engaged me. I did a complete 180. I was in love with making games and coming up with things that hadn’t been done before. I stumbled into this industry at exactly the right time.”

Colin proceeded to work on and have a hand in creating such arcade classics as Rampage, Arch Rivals, and Rampage: World Tour (a sequel to Rampage), as well as General Chaos for the Sega Genesis. He did the art for numerous other games as well, and today he’s the CEO of Game Refuge Inc., a company he co-founded in 1992 with Jeff Nauman. Game Refuge creates games for arcades, consoles, casinos, computers, touchscreen countertop machines, mobile devices, and Facebook.

Colin is looking forward to coming out to Let’s Play and meeting and greeting fans.

“Some of the nicest fans and collectors are in Texas,” he says. “I don’t think I get embraced anywhere as much as I do in Texas. They are so welcoming, and they tell me great places to go after the show.”

Colin has appeared at numerous trade shows around the country, but he didn’t even know about video game conventions until a few years ago when Doc Mack, owner of the Galloping Ghost Arcade near Chicago, turned him onto them.

“I went with him to a couple of shows, and then I started getting invited,” he says. “It blew me away. It’s incredibly flattering that people remember my games, and they share their stories about how this was the game they played, this was the one I played with my brother…The stories are wonderful, but some of them will break your heart. ‘This was the game I played with my friend in the seventh grade before he died.’ I’m thrilled and humbled at the same time.”

Other special guests who will appear at Let’s Play include voice actor John St. John (Duke Nukem), voice actor Dameon Clarke (Borderlands), cosplayer Dee Rich, YouTuber The 8-Bit Guy, and voice actor Jeff Baker (Star Trek: Legacy), among others. A 30th anniversary celebration of The Wizard video game movie will take place, featuring actor Luke Edwards, who played Jimmy Woods in the film. The Wizard writer David Chisolm and producer Ken Topolsky will be there as well.

For more information, check out the Let’s Play Gaming Expo website: www.letsplaygamingexpo.com.

500 W Las Colinas Boulevard
Irving 75039
Aug. 9-11
Weekend Pass: $35
Friday Only: $20 (12PM - 8PM)
Saturday Only: $25 (10AM - 6PM)
Sunday Only: $$20 (10AM - 6PM)
Children 7 and under get in free
$10 extra to enter Tetris tournament

Monday, July 22, 2019

Land of the Lost Article - Written During the Original Run!

I found this article on Land of the Lost the other day while rummaging around in my office. What's cool about it is that it was written during the production of the show, not as a nostalgia piece years later. Amusingly, it appears alongside a story about Flesh Gordon, the soft core porn version of Flash Gordon.

CLICK ON EACH IMAGE FOR A CLOSER LOOK:







Monday, July 15, 2019

Old School Gamer Magazine #11 - Kelsey Lewin Article


Old School Gamer Magazine #11 is now available. It features such writers as E.T. and Yars' Revenge programmer Howard Scott Warshaw, The Father of Video Game History Leonard Herman, historian and professor Michael Thomasson, and yours truly. You can read my article about popular YouTuber Kelsey Lewin by clicking on the images below.

You can read the digital version of the magazine for free HERE, and you can subscribe to the mag HERE. Thanks for reading and enjoy!



Saturday, July 13, 2019

Tales from a Retro Gamer -- My New YouTube Show!

My latest venture is called "Tales from a Retro Gamer", a YouTube series where I discuss the history of video games from a personal standpoint. Things like my first video game, rare finds I've made, conventions I've attended, famous gamers I've met, the first time I played the NES, and much more. I'll cover various retro gaming topics in the news as well. New episode every Tuesday at 2:00 PM Central Standard time. Click HERE to check out the channel. Please subscribe--after all, it's free! Thanks--enjoy the videos!







Thursday, June 20, 2019

SNES Omnibus Writer Spotlight #50 - Cierra Caballero

If memory serves, I was the first person Cierra Caballero interviewed for PopNerdTV, a geeky news site covering all the cool things in life, such as comic books, movies, and video games. She interviewed me at the 2016 Retropalooza video game con in Arlington, TX, where I was selling and autographing my books. I could tell right away that she was a cool and fun person to be around, thanks to her chill attitude and big smile.

Cierra and I have been friends ever since, and we’ve even collaborated on a few projects, such as my 50th anniversary feature on Night of the Living Dead and a story I did for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on the Texas Frightmare horror convention. Cierra is a purveyor of all things pop culture, but she’s especially keen on horror, and she’s always interesting to talk to about things that go bump in the night. I was very happy when she agreed to write a story about SimCity for my latest book, The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games,Vol. 2 (N–Z).

Here’s her bio from that titanic tome:

Cierra Caballero is a versatile writer and show host whose passion for creating and storytelling lead her to wanting to create her own path in the entertainment world from a young age. From writing articles, to singing in a band, to hosting her own horror edutatinment show “Jump Scare” on PopNerdTV, there is no limit to the mediums she wants to create in. Cierra stars in Berenice and Irene, a comedy web series she co-created with Jacqueline Davis.



Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Ozzy Osbourne, Wanna Play Pac-Man?


In the latest episode of my new YouTube series, Tales from a Retro Gamer, I talk about the time I met Ozzy Osbourne and asked him if he wanted to play Pac-Man. We also met Sharon, as well as Ozzy's band. Earlier in the day, we met Metallica at a record store signing. You can watch the video HEREThanks for watching!


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Final 12 Games Announced for the Sega Genesis Mini


And the final 12 games for the Sega Genesis Mini are:



- Tetris
- Darius
- Road Rash II
- Strider
- Virtua Fighter 2
- Alisia Dragoon
- Columns
- Dynamite Headdy
- Kid Chameleon
- Monster World IV
- Light Crusader
- Eternal Champions

Strong titles. I think it will be a trip playing Tetris on the Genesis, and I'm a big fan of Columns, Road Rash II, and Strider. Can't go wrong with Darius, a cool shooter, and Light Crusader and Alisia Dragoon are hidden gems.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Old School Gamer Magazine #10 Now Available -- READ FOR FREE!

Old School Gamer Magazine #10 is now available! And you can read it for FREE. Simply click HERE to download the new issue. You can subscribe to the digital or physical edition HERE. Enjoy!


Thursday, May 23, 2019

SNES Omnibus Writer Spotlight #49 - Kelsey Lewin

When I went to my first Portland Retro Gaming Expo more than two years ago, one of my primary objectives was to meet the Seattle area YouTubers, specifically the “Metal Jesus Crew”: John Riggs, Reggie Williams, John Hancock, Kinsey Burke, and Kelsey Lewin (I had already met Metal himself and interviewed him for a Retropalooza article). They were as cool and as nice as I expected—what you see on their channels is what you get—and it was great talking to them in person, as opposed to mere online correspondence.

I discovered that Kelsey grew up near me in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, so the next time she was in town, we went to The National Video Game Museum in Frisco, and then had some dinner later that day at a video game-themed restaurant called Nerdvana. Her brother went with us as well, which was cool. What struck me about Kelsey is that she’s mature, intelligent, and composed beyond her years. She’s also a lot of fun. We had a blast playing the world’s largest Pong machine, checking out the rare games, investigating the back room (thanks to John Hardie for the grand tour), and talking about all kinds of geeky stuff.

At the Portland Retro Gaming Expo the following year, Kelsey’s boyfriend proposed to her at the Saturday night auction in a highly unusual way, which you can check out HERE. It was awesome watching it live, and we were all super happy for the couple.

If you enjoy watching Norm “The Gaming Historian” Caruso’s videos, you should subscribe to Kelsey’s channel. She recently hit 100,000 subscribers—she really knows her stuff! I’m honored that she has a story in The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 2 (N–Z). Want to know why Kelsey is obsessed with strange and unusual gaming items? It’s in the book.

Here’s her bio as it appears in The SNES Omnibus Vol. 2:

Kelsey Lewin is a YouTube content creator covering weird and obscure games, consoles, and accessories. She co-owns Pink Gorilla Games, a retro and import video game store in Seattle, Washington, and she donates her spare time to the Video GameHistory Foundation.



Tuesday, May 21, 2019

New Video! - Arcade Gaming on a Budget



Tales from a Retro Gamer episode 2 is now online! In this video, I discuss Breakout, pinball, and how my brother and I played arcade games on a VERY limited budget. You can watch the video below or click HERE to watch it in full screen. I'm trying to grow my channel, so if you like the video, please consider clicking on thumbs-up and subscribing. Thanks and enjoy!



Sunday, May 19, 2019

MY NEW YOUTUBE SHOW - Tales from a Retro Gamer #1: My First Video Game

I’ve been gaming since the mid-1970s, collecting since the late ’70s, and writing professionally since 1997. Sorry if that sounds like some kind of a sad bragging montage, but my point is that I’ve been doing this for a very long time, and I’ve got stories to tell. So I’ve started a new YouTube show called Tales from a Retro Gamer, the first episode of which is now online. I discuss my first video game, dating all the way back to 1975. You can watch it below or check it out in full screen by clicking HERE.

Thanks for watching, liking, and subscribing!



Saturday, May 11, 2019

Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the Game Boy Color - Review


Back in the late ’90s and early 2000s, I wrote for the late, lamented All Game Guide. It was a fun writing gig, and I became an editor as well. The company, which was based in Ann Arbor, Michigan would send me games to review (unfortunately, I usually had to send them back). Buffy the Vampire Slayer was my favorite TV show at the time, so I jumped at the chance to review the Game Boy Color cartridge based on the program. Here’s that review:









Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Publisher: THQ
Developer: GameBrains
Side-Scrolling Platformer
2000

SYNOPSIS:

Into each generation, a Slayer is born. One girl, in all the world, a Chosen One. Or so the legend goes on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a weekly horror series airing on the WB. Created by Joss Whedon, the show follows the exploits of Buffy Summers, gorgeous college girl by day and vampire hunter by night.

Using her super strength, heightened agility, lethal weapons (primarily sharp stakes) and wicked one-liners, she patrols the town of Sunnydale, which sits on the threshold of the Hellmouth, a vulnerable spot where forces of darkness are frequently unleashed upon the Earth.

Joining Buffy in her fight against the undead are members of the so-called Scooby Gang. The Scoobies include Willow, a computer hacking witch; Xander, a wisecracking wiseacre; and Anya, an ex-demon with a propensity for social faux pas. Watching over the group (and Buffy in particular) is ex-librarian Giles, an erudite British gentleman with a fondness for arcane, mystical reference tomes.

Buffythe Vampire Slayer for the Game Boy Color finds Buffy in a world of trouble. Mesmerized by vampire Ethan Rayne's reading of the Book of Ancients, a coven of vampires from different countries has descended upon Sunnydale by way of the Hellmouth.

There are six standard types of vampires in this coven: Tux Vampires, Punk Vampires, Disfigured Vampires, Tribesman Vampires, Euro Vampires and Guardian Vampires. Master vampires (bosses) include Ninja Vampires, Viking Vampires and Beast Vampires.

These creatures of the night are raising hell in various spots around town, including the old mansion, the graveyard, the zoo, the cemetery, the sewer and the city streets. They've even crashed The Bronze, which is the local hangout, and The Initiative, which is a covert military facility that captures and/or kills vampires and demons.

As the Scooby Gang's key member, Buffy Summers, you'll run, jump and slay your way through eight levels of vampire-infested action. To vanquish a vampire, you must hit it and/or kick it until it falls beneath your slayer might. Once a vampire is down, you must stake it and watch it turn to dust. You can also throw the undead, block hits, roll on the ground and perform super leaps.

If you get knocked down, a vampire will jump on you and drink your blood. No matter which level you are playing, you will face only one vampire at a time. Arrows point your way to each successive bloodsucker. Throughout the game you can find soda cans that will enable you to do super punches and kicks. Paint cans and other items are scattered about for use in throwing at enemies.

In between each level you can watch a series of cut-scenes featuring dialogue between the characters. One scene even refers to Angel, the Buffy spin-off featuring her ex-boyfriend, a vampire with a soul. Angel's secretary Cordelia phones to warn Buffy of a dream that Angel has had in which Buffy is in danger.

A game of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ends when Buffy's life bar has fully depleted. After each level, a password appears, giving you a save point for after you shut down your game system.

REVIEW:

As expected, Buffy makes her way around various locations throughout Sunnydale and kills vampires. What wasn't expected was just how mundane this could be. No matter how far you progress in the game, Buffy only goes up against one vampire at a time. Apparently, being undead makes the creatures of the night brain dead and they never think to pair up or form a pack. Buffy is supposedly going up against a coven of vampires, but they never act very coven-like.

Until you reach the Hellmouth (the seventh level), the game is ridiculously easy. To defeat most of the vampires, all you have to do is punch them a couple of times, then do a lower kick to knock them down, then stab them with your trusty stake. For the average gamer, it is entirely possible to beat the game in one sitting. The bosses are about as easy to kill as the standard enemies.

The levels in Buffy have no obstacles (such as electrified fences) and no traps (such as fiery pits). On some of the levels, you do have to jump up to reach platforms, but your life is never in danger while you are jumping. Even worse, there are no non-vampire enemies to fight. Where are the werewolves or the demons? There's not even a lousy rat to trip over. You can see the eyes of the hyenas at the zoo, but they are merely background eye candy.

And what of hidden items, alternative weapons and secret passages? None to be found. Sure, occasionally you can pick up a can or something to throw at the vampires, but this feature is all but useless. It's easier and more expedient to simply engage the vampires in hand-to-hand combat. When a vampire isn't onscreen, you can't even pick up the items.
 
The graphics are actually quite good. The animation is nice and the levels are replete with detail such as armor in the mansion and hieroglyphics in the Hellmouth. Buffy fights smoothly and with style. The vampires are fairly well drawn and come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. The theme from the television series has been replaced by generic, forgettable songs. The sound effects are solid.

Overall, Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the Game Boy Color is a disappointment. Watch the show; skip the game.