Sunday, February 3, 2019

Review Fix Interview with Brett Weiss - SNES Omnibus Vol. 2

I was recently interviewed by Patrick Hickey Jr. of Review Fix, and he was kind enough to let me reprint it here for your perusal. Enjoy the interview!

ReviewFix chats with author Brett Weiss, who discusses the creative process, vision and goals for his new book, The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and ItsGames, Vol. 2 (N–Z).

Review Fix: What was the reception like for The SNES Omnibus Vol. 1?

BrettWeiss: Overwhelmingly positive. Readers like the straightforward layout, the large format, the quality of the binding and paper, and the fact that there are tons of photos. More importantly, they love the nostalgic “insider insight” stories written by YouTubers, authors, programmers, and others involved in one form or another in the video game industry. They love the memories associated with the stories, from getting a special Super Nintendo game for Christmas to shopping at Toys R Us and Blockbuster to the comfort a particular game gave to someone going through a rough time. These were fun for me to read as well when I was editing the book.

Readers have also told me that they discovered games they didn’t know about through the book, and that they like the fact that even the obscure games get at least one page of content.

Review Fix: How did that influence Vol 2?

Weiss: The books were basically written concurrently, so the format is essentially the same. However, I did spend a little more time working with the publisher on the positioning of the photos, so readers may notice that. This book has more pages and text because of all those “Super” games, and I made sure to include more photos.  

Review Fix: What games in this volume do you think stand out the most?

Weiss: Most of the triple-A titles get two full pages, such as Star Fox, Super Bomberman, Super Castlevania IV, Super Mario All-Stars, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World 1 and 2, and each of the titles in the Star Wars trilogy. Certain other titles that you might not think of right away get two pages as well, such as Q*bert 3, Shadowrun, and Phalanx. Not only are these great games, I really like the two-page spreads.

Review Fix: What’s your favorite entry? Why?

Weiss: That would have to be Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting. Not only is it a nice two-page layout, it’s got a great story written by my wife about how we would pummel the hell out of each other and how we decided to stop because it wasn’t the best thing for our relationship (we started playing Donkey Kong Country instead). The vast majority of insider insights were written by industry people, but my wife’s story was too strong to leave out of the book. And besides, she’s an insider by marriage and a terrific writer. My son’s got a couple of stories in the book as well. As I’ve said before, you could argue that I’m only the second or third best writer in the family.

Review Fix: What did you feel like once all the work was done?

Weiss: A great sense of relief and accomplishment. Writing a book like this, if you’re doing it right, is a massive undertaking. It can be a lot of fun, but those weeks leading up to the deadline are brutal. It’s tedious going over each page again and again to make sure everything is accurate, concise, and grammatically correct, but it’s very important for posterity’s sake and for the reader. When customers are shelling out their hard-earned money, I want them to be happy with their purchase.

Review Fix: Bottom line, why must someone pick this one up?

Weiss: The nostalgic stories. They’re like a trip back in time to the 1990s, not only in terms of gaming, but the general zeitgeist. Also, instead of slogging through a lot of poorly-written crowd-sourced stuff online, you can read game write-ups that are concise and accurate. The quotes from old issues of Electronic Games Monthly and other magazines are also pretty cool.

Review Fix: What’s next?

Weiss: Good question. Maybe a Sega Genesis Omnibus, if the Super Nintendo books sell well enough. Or maybe a sequel to The 100 Greatest Console Video Games:1977-1987. I think it would be fun to cover the next decade. I’m also busy writing for a variety of magazines, websites, and newspapers, including OldSchool Gamer, CultureMap Fort Worth, CultureMap Dallas, and AntiqueWeek, where I have a national column called The Pop Culture Collective.

Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?

Weiss: We live in an age where some people don’t “get” books. People will ask, “Why should I buy a book? I can just find that stuff online.” Not true. The nostalgic stories in the SNES Omnibus books are original and exclusive to this project. Also, reading a professionally written, professionally edited, professionally published hardcover book you can hold in your hands is a much different experience than reading a bunch of crowd-sourced stuff online.

Volume 2 of SNES Omnibus is a fun and informative look at ALL the original Super Nintendo games released in the US starting with the letters N-Z. More than 375 games are featured, including such iconic titles as Star Fox, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Tetris Attack, and Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Each game, whether obscure or mainstream, is covered in exhaustive detail. In addition to thorough gameplay descriptions, the book includes reviews, fun facts, historical data, quotes from vintage magazines, and, best of all, nostalgic stories about many of the games from programmers, authors, convention exhibitors, video game store owners, YouTube celebs, and other industry insiders. The book also features more than 2,000 full-color images, including box art, cartridges, screenshots, and vintage ads. Plus, there’s a gorgeous centerfold starring your favorite SNES characters.

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