Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Coronavirus Update - Working From Home - Autographed Brett Weiss Books for Sale

I'm lucky to be able to write from home. I know many others are much less fortunate. However, since many of the conventions I planned on doing this year have been cancelled, I do have extra books for sale that I can sign and ship to U.S. residents. Click HERE to order direct.

My forthcoming book, The NES Omnibus Vol. 1, remains on schedule for the fall since Schiffer Publishing is still in operation (employees are currently working remotely). Click HERE to pre-order the book.

For extra content, and to show support for my work, you can check out my Patreon page and become a member for as little as $1 per month. Click HERE.

Thanks! Like everyone else, I'm just trying to figure things out in this new/temporary economy. I hope you guys stay safe, healthy, and productive during this difficult time. If you've got extra time on your hands, check out my YouTube videos HERE.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Exclusive Interview With GameStop Employee About Staying Open



After I published my YouTube video explaining my opinion on GameStop staying open during this difficult time in our country, a GameStop employee reached out to me for an interview on the condition that he remain anonymous, and with the following disclaimer: “These are my opinions, and I'm not speaking as a representative of a GameStop store or the GameStop corporation.

Without further ado, here’s that interview.

BRETTWEISS: What were you told by management regarding keeping GameStop open?

GAMESTOP EMPLOYEE: We were told that, starting tomorrow, we will condense our hours to being open from 12-8 each day.

WEISS: What are some of the things they’ve told you to do to keep safe?

EMPLOYEE: We’re basically following CDC guidelines. We are only letting 10 people in the store at a time, including the staff. They've given us extra hours to use so we can have someone work as basically a bouncer to control the flow of people coming into the store. We also stopped taking in trade. This probably won’t have much effect on not spreading the virus from just not having the items come in, but it does limit the traffic into the store and keeps people there for much shorter amounts of time. 

WEISS: Have they supplied you with things you need to keep you and your customers safe? If so, what?

EMPLOYEE: As far as sanitation supplies, this is probably the one negative thing I've seen on social media that is true. They allotted each store money to buy disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer, but have left us to figure out how to get it ourselves. We now have a timer that goes off every 30 minutes to remind us to wash our hands and sanitize the credit card machines, counters, and door handles.

WEISS: How is business? What have customers said about you guys staying open?

EMPLOYEE: Business is crazy. My store was projected to do $4000 in business for the day due to Animal Crossing and DOOM launches, and we had done $7000 by the time I left with eight hours still to go until closing. We have sold out of almost every game console we have. Customers in general have been extremely positive. I've had a couple ask me what will happen to their $5 pro membership rewards they get each month if we close for an extended period of time, but I haven't been given anything from higher to tell them other than we don't currently expect to close down. No one has openly criticized us in the store for being open, but I suppose that would make them look pretty hypocritical for being there shopping

WEISS: Anything else you care to share about GameStop staying open during this time?

EMPLOYEE: I'd just like to add that I don't know corporate’s true intentions for us staying open.  I'm sure it's based partially off of fear that s prolonged closing could be the death blow to the company. With that being said, I personally feel like I'm providing an essential service. I know this might sound crazy, but mental health is almost as important as physical health during times like this, and as you know video games do a lot in that regard for a whole lot of people. I served 10 years in the army, and I get a similar feeling from being able to do this as I did from protecting people while serving overseas. I also don't get the impression that anyone would get fired if they said they didn't feel comfortable coming to work. That's just my opinion about my particular store, though. Could be completely different elsewhere

WEISS: Great stuff, I really appreciate it. Any closing remarks you’d like to make?

EMPLOYEE: I think that memo that leaked could have been worded much better. Personally, I would have put that out over a conference call. I think it's a bit too important and damaging to just send as an email. We do sell webcams, mice, and keyboards, so there is some truth to the part about helping with those that are telecommuting to work. Though I think that would be a tough sell from a legal standpoint, given the fact that those items don't even make up 1% of our total revenue.

Monday, March 16, 2020

FREE BOOK! - Retro Pop Culture A to Z: From Atari 2600 to Zombie Films



Since so many people have downtime right now, I've posted a FREE digital copy of my Retro Pop Culture book for ANYONE who wants it. Since Patreon is the easiest way to distribute a PDF, I've posted it on my page, but you don't have to be a member since it's a public post. Enjoy and be safe! Click here:
https://www.patreon.com/posts/free-book-for-to-34936833

Retro Pop Culture A to Z: From Atari 2600 to Zombie Films is a window to the past—a time of 8-bit video games, Silver Age super-heroes, Saturday morning cartoons, rock ’n’ roll music, and scary movies at the drive-in. The book includes 60 fun-filled, feature-length chapters on such icons of popular culture as Alien, the Batman TV show, the Beatles, Dynamite Magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland, The Flash, Forbidden Planet, Golden Age arcade games, He-Man, the Intellivision, Jaws, MAD magazine, the Nintendo NES, Ray Bradbury, The Wizard of Oz, the X-Men, and many others. If you’ve ever stayed up all night trying to beat Super Mario Bros., dressed up as a member of KISS on Halloween, watched Thundarr the Barbarian while eating a bowl of sugary cereal, set a VCR to record your favorite show, wiled away an entire day reading a stack of old comics, or listened to Elvis or the Rolling Stones on a turntable or 8-track tape player, Retro Pop Culture A to Z is for you. If you haven’t done any of these things, no problem—feel free to dive right in and discover why your parents (or grandparents) are always talking about “the good old days.” Includes: *60 essays/articles on nostalgic pop culture favorites *More than 200 photos *More than 115,000 words *Quotes from the experts *Production histories *Collectibles pricing *Author anecdotes *And much more!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

PRE-ORDER NOW - The NES Omnibus: The Nintendo Entertainment System and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A-L)




NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER IN THE U.S.!

The NES Omnibus: The Nintendo Entertainment System and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A-L), covers the first half of the NES library in exhaustive and engaging detail. More than 350 games are featured, including such iconic titles as CastlevaniaDonkey KongDouble DragonDuck HuntFinal Fantasy, and The Legend of Zelda. Each game, whether obscure or mainstream, is given the spotlight. In addition to thorough gameplay descriptions, the book includes reviews, memories, historical data, quotes from vintage magazines, and, best of all, nostalgic stories about many of the games from programmers, authors, YouTube celebs, and other industry insiders. The book also features more than 1,500 full-color images, including box art, screenshots, and vintage ads. Foreword by The Goldbergs creator Adam F. Goldberg!



Pre-Order Options




Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Sonic the Hedgehog - Movie Review

I thoroughly enjoyed Sonic the Hedgehog. I wasn’t expected Casablanca or The Maltese Falcon, but I was worried it would be lame, even with the character redesign. But it was a lot of fun, from the swipes at Super Mario Bros. to the speedy humor to the fantastic credits scene with the 16-bit graphics. Directed by Jeff Fowler, the film starred James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, Neal McDonough, Adam Pally, and Jim Carrey, and they all did a great job. Ben Schwartz was energetic and funny voicing Sonic himself, and Carrey was his maniacal, 1990s self as we knew him in The Mask and Ace Ventura Pet Detective. You can watch my full review by clicking HERE.

Conversely, Simon Abrams, writing for www.rogerebert.com, hated the movie. He wrote, “Sonic the Hedgehog is the worst kind of bad movie: it's too inoffensive to be hated and too wretched to be enjoyable. You might think that this movie’s sad limbo state has something to do with the extensive and well-publicized last-minute animation redesign that made titular woodland creature Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) look more like Sega’s famous video game character. You’d be wrong: Sonic the Hedgehog is rotten because it, like too many other modern blockbusters, was seemingly made by an imaginatively bankrupt creative committee with more ideas for jokes than actual jokes to tell, and more cookie-cutter, place-holder dialogue about the power of friendship than something (anything) to say about that boilerplate quality.”

Movies like Sonic the Hedgehog aren’t intended for critics. They’re fun popcorn movies aimed at kids, families, pop culture buffs, comedy adventure fans, and fans of the franchise. I thought it was a blast.

I reviewed another good movie recently called Not for Resale. It’s about the death of physical media and stars several of my friends, including Kelsey Lewin and Joe Santulli. You can watch my video review HERE and read my written review HERE.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Movie Review - Not for Resale: A Video Game Store Documentary


Movie Review: Not for Resale: A Video Game Store Documentary

I love video game documentaries. I even wrote the foreword to the DVD and Blu-ray release of one called The Bits of Yesterday. So, when I heard about Not for Resale: A Video Game Store Documentary, I was pumped. When I heard that some of my friends were going to be in the film, I was even more excited. After watching the movie yesterday, I can tell you I was not disappointed. Not even a little bit.

As everyone knows, physical media is dying. At least it’s on life support. It will probably never go away entirely, thanks to niche projects and the need to put something on the shelves at Walmart, but more and more people, especially younger folks, are consuming music, movies, and video games through downloads and streaming services.

Not for Resale examines this phenomenon in fine fashion. By interviewing retro game store owners like Joe Santulli (Digital Press) and James Ainesworth (Thrillhouse Games), viewers get the inside scoop on what the lack of physical media may mean to the future of their retail outlets, which largely deal in used games. There will likely be relatively few physical releases for the next big consoles—the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X—resulting in a dearth of used product to sell for these systems a few years down the road.

As Santulli says in the film, “Most kids are getting games from their couch.”

As such, many retro gaming stores could suffer the same fate as Blockbuster Video. The problem is concerning, but there are potential solutions. For example, Pink Gorilla co-owner Kelsey Lewin says in the film that it’s important for her stores to diversify the stock to include peripheral merchandise, such as Mario, Sonic, and Pokemon plushies.

 
Not for Resale does an excellent job explaining the positives as well as the negatives of physical media dying off. Downloaded games have little to no resale value (hence the title of the movie), and slow internet speeds in certain rural areas make downloading games difficult. However, as Frank Cifaldi, the director of the Video Game History Foundation, explains in the film, it’s much easier and cheaper to produce downloadable games, giving independent programmers the ability to “make games for Nintendo consoles out of their homes.” Console Wars author Blake Harris adds that there’s no need to worry about chip shortages, like what happened with the NES in 1988.  

Some documentaries have a bit of a cheap look and feel, even while providing useful information, but Not for Resale has very nice production values. The visuals are crystal clear, and director Kevin J. James makes sure to relieve the potential tedium of such subject matter with a variety of camera angles and a variety of indoor and outdoor shots, including a major Sega Saturn transaction between a customer and Santulli. He also infuses the film with personal stories (I love the scene where the interviewee talks about having used rolls of pennies to purchase Donkey Kong for the Atari 2600, then crying because the game was so difficult), which are always welcome for these kinds of films.

Not for Resale: A Video Game Store Documentary is not only a look at what the death of physical media means for the industry moving forward. It’s also a history of the encroachment of digital games into our lives and what video games in general mean to the culture at large. Fittingly enough, you can rent or purchase the movie streaming via Amazon Prime.

Support author Brett Weiss via Patreon by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Ages of The Flash - Book Review!

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and that’s certainly the case with The Ages of The Flash, a newish book by McFarland Publishers. Edited by Joseph J. Darowski, the slim (186 pages) volume features a generic image on the front that evokes the Silver Age version of the Fastest Man Alive, but does not portray his true uniform. I guess the lawyers at DC Comics are waiting to pounce on any unauthorized images of their mainline heroes. Or, perhaps McFarland is just being extra cautious, as they were with my Encyclopedia of KISS, which has a silhouette of Gene Simmons on the cover instead of an actual photo of him.

Regardless, this is an interesting book that covers a wide variety of aspects of the Scarlet Speedster, from “The Birth of the Silver Age Flash” to “The Rise and Fall of Wally West” to “The Persistence of Vision and The New 52,” which was a 2011 revamping and relaunching of the DC Universe superhero line.

I found two chapters in particular especially fascinating. “Politically Incorrect Humor: Examining the Three Dimwits Through a Disability Studies Lens,” which told me more than I thought was possible to know about quirky characters Winky, Noddy, and Blinky from the adventures of Golden Age Flash, and "Barry Allen’s Social Awakening in the 1970s," where Flash stories starting featuring socially relevant storylines. As much as I love whizbang Flash fun, it was cool when the book took on social issues, such as the counterculture movement. Barry Allen grew his hair out a bit and even had a favorite band, Washington Starship, which was a fictionalized Jefferson Starship (complete with Paul and Gracie, which were nods to Paul Kantner and Grace Slick).
 
It’s a shame there are no photos in the book (more fear of DC, I would imagine), so you might want to keep your laptop nearby while you are reading so you can look up certain characters mentioned who you are unfamiliar with. A different author took on each chapter, but you won’t see any comic book writers on the list. Rather, they are English professors, lecturers, philosophers, and the like, so the book has a definite scholarly tone and approach. It’s certainly very well written.

As a massive Flash fan with a near-complete collection of his Silver Age adventures, as well as shelves of memorabilia, I’m happy to have The Ages of the Flash in my collection. It would be nice if there were images to accompany the information (comics are a visual medium, after all), but I definitely learned some new things about my favorite character (several versions of him, in fact), as well as saw him in a new light regarding his place in society. Recommended.

*Thanks to McFarland for sending me a review copy of the book at my request. You can order the book from the publisher HERE

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Top 5 Controllers from Video Game Obsession


I recently did a YouTube video on my favorite video game controller. I got some excellent comments, including a “Top 5” list by my buddy Matt Henzel, who runs the Video Game Obsession website, and who contributed stories for my SNES Omnibus books. Matt is one of the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to video games.

Here’s Matt’s comments, unedited. Thanks Matt!

Matt's favorite controllers:

5. Genesis 3 button original >> This was always my go-to controller with the Genesis. I mostly played that system between 1989 and 1993, prior to the release of Street Fighter II and 6 button pad. I like larger controllers, and was always able to pull off moves which I can't always do with other controllers, such as the Dwarf's roll attack A+B, or Joe Mushasi's double jump in Revenge of Shinobi.

4. NES controller >> It's nearly indestructible! And I've taken out some of my aggression while playing Ghosts N Goblins, too!

3. Sony DualShock 4 >> Sony took everything that made previous DualShock controllers great and streamlined it, while adding some important updates. The addition of a 3.5" headphone jack is bar far one of the most useful things for me personally. I almost always play the PS4 while using headphones plugged into the controller. It also has surprisingly excellent sound quality and amplified volume. I also love the speaker and LED lightbar for games such as GTA V. When being chased by the police your LED will start blinking red & blue, while the speaker will start placing police chatter (if in a police car), It's really more immersive than you might think, especially in a dark room!

2. Neo-Geo CD Controller >> I love the micro switched D-Pad. There is never any question if you are holding diagonally with it. It just clicks into place and feels great. The only downside is that they seem very fragile. I've had a couple of them break on me from very light usage. The parts that break are also SNK proprietary parts as far as I have seen. So that's a bummer.






1. SNES controller >> I really love this one the most. It was clear that Nintendo had put a lot of time and thought into the setup. The concave / convex differences in both rows of buttons (X Y / B A) made perfect sense when playing games like Super Mario World.  The running and fireballs controlled exactly like the NES controller, so that was basic muscle memory going on, then the new moves were on the convex buttons. The L/R were excellent additions for games like Mario World (looking up/down), Mario Kart (jumping), Doom (strafing), Pilot Wings (switching views). The diamond arrangement of the 4 buttons also worked out great for Super Smash TV.



 
I also like the Switch Pro 
Controller, Atari 7800 control pad (NES style) which was only released in Europe, The Japanese Saturn controller, CD-i Gravis pad, GameCube, Hori Game Boy controller for the GameCube is excellent.

Sorry for the length of this comment. I guess it got a little out of control. :)

Thursday, January 30, 2020

New Trailer for My YouTube Channel!

Check out this awesome new trailer for my YouTube channel, designed by James Pledger. You can watch it in full screen by clicking HERE. My full bio is below.


Longtime gamer, freelance writer, and national columnist Brett Weiss has been a respected journalist in the gaming and pop culture communities for more than two decades. He’s the author of more than 1,600 published articles. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Game Informer, Gameroom Magazine, Old School Gamer, Classic Gamer Magazine, the Pingame Journal, Video Game Collector, Video Game Trader, AntiqueWeek, Fangoria, Filmfax, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee and The Charlotte Observer, among many others.

Weiss is also the author of 10 books, including the Classic Home Video Games series, The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987, and The SNES Omnibus volumes 1 and 2. In addition to writing, Weiss hosts a YouTube show called Tales from a Retro Gamer, and his channel is rapidly growing.

SNES Omnibus Writer Spotlight #52 - Tim Lapetino

When I was sending out queries to potential storytellers for The SNES Omnibus project, I was super stoked when Tim Lapetino, author of Art of Atari, Damn Good: Top Designers Discuss Their All-Time Favorite Projects (with Jason Adam), and various other works, signed on to wax nostalgic about the Super Nintendo. Not only is Tim a talented writer, he’s a good friend.

It’s always cool seeing Tim at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. At last year’s PRGE, we had a great, lengthy discussion on all kinds of stuff, including the problems freelance writers and other self-employed people have getting reasonable health insurance in this country. Tim is truly a well-rounded person, a devoted family man, and an all-around nice guy. Thanks, Tim!

Here’s Tim’s bio from his website:

I’m an award-winning creative director and designer. In 20 years I’ve helped organizations tell compelling stories through design and creativity.

In addition to crafting brands, I’ve also built and managed high-performing creative teams in various contexts. I’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies and startups--from spirits to pharma to video games.

My best-selling design book, Art of Atari, has been published in four languages, and my writing appears in publications worldwide. I’m obsessed with exploring and understanding the creative process, and I love telling the stories of unheralded creatives who work beyond the spotlight. I live in Chicago with my wife and two kids.

I’m a proud member of the following creative arts organizations:
AIGA
The Authors Guild
Letterform Archive
Video Game ArtGallery 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Wow! Spectacular 10 out of 10 Review of My Super Nintendo Books -- The SNES Omnibus

I was thrilled to discover this review of both volumes of my SNES books by Electric Playground, a popular YouTube channel. Watch the video below, or you can check out the full screen version HERE



*Two MASSIVE, deluxe hardcover coffee table books, written by yours truly, a respected gaming historian who’s super passionate about the Super Nintendo

*More than 470,000 words; More than 870 pages

*Write-ups for EVERY U.S. release for the Super Nintendo--each game gets at least one page

*More than 4,100 full-color images: box art, cartridge scans, screenshots, vintage ads

*A pair of colorful centerfolds featuring your favorite SNES characters

*Nostalgic stories from prominent YouTube celebs, programmers, developers, authors, reviewers, and other industry insiders

*Quotes from vintage magazines like GamePro and Electronic Gaming Monthly

*Essays on the Super Game Boy, the Super Scope, the Console Wars, and Super Metroid

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Michael Mendheim Interview - Mutant League Football for Sega Genesis




Michael Mendheim was the brains behind Mutant League Football, a violent, super fun, over the top football game for the Sega Genesis. It was remade for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Journalist and author Patrick Hickey Jr. interviewed Mendheim for his Minds Behind the Games book series. Here is that interview:

Patrick Hickey Jr.: How was the original Mutant League Football born?

Michael Mendheim: I’ve always loved football and monsters. My favorite team is the Chicago Bears also known as “the Monsters of the Midway” – Football and monsters. That’s a game I wanted to play, only one problem. It didn’t exist, so it had to be created.

Back in 1991, I pitched this idea to one of my friends, Richard Robbins, who was a producer at Electronic Arts (he did the Desert Strike series). He liked the idea and set up a meeting to pitch the game to EA executives who made the product decisions. This included Trip Hawkins who was the founder and CEO of the company at the time. I spent a few weeks preparing a design and presentation, and then flew out to Redwood City. Trip and a majority of the executives liked the idea, and the project was approved with a modest budget.

Hickey Jr.: What was development like?

Mendheim: Developing the original game for the Sega Genesis at Electronic Arts was a great experience with many ups and downs. The original producer Richard Robbins, who championed the project, left the company early in the game’s development. We had no producer. It was just me and about 6 other developers (artists and engineers) who were assigned to the project. We worked without much oversite for about 9-12 months. At some point EA thought it might be a good idea to put a seasoned producer on the project, and that was Sam Nelson. He helped guide us across the finish line. Sam gave me a wealth of knowledge on how to develop and produce games. It wasn’t always easy working with him, but looking back, without him the game doesn’t ship.

Hickey Jr.: Any hurdles or moments where you thought the game wasn’t going to come out?

Mendheim: We were like salmon swimming up-stream the entire time. We had minimal support initially, EA was going through major changes (Trip Hawkins had left the company to start 3DO and there was serious restructuring going on). I worried every day the game was going to get killed, but with everything going on, we were lucky enough to fly under the radar for about 6 months. At some point someone looked at the projects in development and said, what the hell is Mutant League Football and who the hell is Michael Mendheim? I wasn’t an employee at the company, but people who knew about the project also knew I was the guy behind it. Lucky for us, by the time the big wigs reviewed the game it showed enough fun factor and potential to survive. That’s when they brought Sam Nelson on board.

Hickey Jr.: Some argue that the game is more enjoyable than Madden 93 on the Sega, the game it uses the engine of, how does that make you feel?

Mendheim: A popular misconception is that we built the game on the John Madden Football engine, which is incorrect. Our engineers built the Mutant League engine themselves, although we did consult with some of the key people working on the Madden games (Scott Orr and Richard Hilleman). Those early Madden Sega games were fantastic. I don’t think Mutant League Football is in the same league with them, but appreciate people’s love for the game. We did the best we could with the resources we had.

Hickey Jr.: How did you feel once it was released?

Mendheim: Relieved. I had played the game so much that there was no objectivity left in me. The game was fun to me, but it wasn’t clear if it was really fun or not. We had semi-mixed reviews in the focus groups. Some people liked the game, others didn’t. There was nothing like it in the market at the time, so it was one big dice roll. 

Hickey Jr.: What was the initial reception like?

Mendheim: Someone handed me a GamePro magazine with the game review. I was afraid to read the review. Seriously, I didn’t want to read it, but at the same time had to know and was relieved to see GamePro liked the game and gave it a strong review. More reviews followed and they were very good too. Then the game made the sales charts and ended up in the #1 slot. People liked it. We had a hit game. All that hard work paid off. It felt like a giant weight was lifted off of the team’s shoulders. EA immediately put other mutant sports games into production. It was a really great time.

Hickey Jr.: The game produced a spin-off in Mutant League Hockey and a cartoon- how do you feel that plays in the legacy of the game?

Mendheim: It plays an important role concerning nostalgia and awareness, and influences some of the design decisions we’ve made on the new game, but EA owns all rights to the original Mutant League Football & Hockey game and the relevision show is owned by Warner. So, all teams, characters, logos and audio/visual components from that game or television series cannot be in our game. The game we are making is very different than the original, it is going to look, sound, and play different. This is a brand-new game after all. However, it’s very important to us (and to our community) to maintain the key elements that made people love the original. People liked the original games’ political incorrectness, humor, sarcasm, and fun of obliterating your friend’s players. These are all things we can and will keep intact from the original.

Hickey Jr.: Many people prefer the hockey game to the football game but it was rushed. What happened there?

Mendheim: Yes, the game was rushed because EA had made the decision to kill the brand at that point. The Mutant League franchise was not in-line with EA’s new focus of developing and marketing sports games. Their goal was to be the “real sports” company and create the finest sport simulations in the industry. MLF did not fit into that strategy (it was the bastard child). Haha! EA made the right choice, that’s for sure. Good for them. Bad for MLF. The Hockey game was still about 12 to 14 months out from being released when the decision was made. They told us if we could finish the game in six months they would ship it, if not it would get killed.  So, we rushed a 14-month schedule into 6 months and managed to release it. They didn’t support it; hell, the cover art is a rough comp. Shipping hockey was a very hard and difficult thing to do, especially knowing that the brand was DOA. I know what Mutant League Hockey was supposed to be and could have been, so I was always sad and disappointed with that project.

Hickey Jr.: What did you learn about yourself during the development of the game?

Mendheim: To never give up…no matter how bad it gets. 

Hickey Jr.: Why do you think people still love the game so much?

Mendheim: There are two main reasons why I think people have a special place in their hearts for Mutant League Football.

1). The game made them care about their star players. Seriously, we have people after 25 years who still remember player’s names from the game. We made All-Star players very strong and important to winning, so if a star player died it really hurt your chances of winning. Gamer’s took protective care of their star players in a nurturing way. They benched them so they could rest and regain health. They held them out of the game with a lead to insure they would survive, etc. If a game can create an emotional bond between a user and a character, it’s a magical thing. I think MLF did this in a meaningful way. This is not an easy thing to do in a sports game.

2). The game made people laugh. When playing against friends, you’re trying to kill their star players, while they are trying to kill yours. There is laughing and gloating on one side and screaming and yelling on the other side and this is going on, back and forth throughout the entire game (and on almost every play). Killing a key all-star player could turn around the game – so you’re never really out of competition. There’s always the chance that you can create a forfeit and take home a win even though the score may be 65 to 0. Then you add in all the unpredictability of gameplay, the humor, sarcasm and it just creates a fun experience for everyone involved. It reminds them of fun. Good times with friends.

Hickey Jr.: You’ve gone on to play a role in other huge games the likes of Def Jam Icon, Army Men, Battle Tanx and Fester’s Quest and more. Because of that, where does Mutant League Football rest in your heart?

Mendheim: It will always be #1. Which is why we are making Mutant Football League.

We’ve had hundreds of fans of the original game play this new game at shows like PAX West and GenCon, and everyone who has played has given us a big thumbs up. This is their game. So, if anyone reading this wants to be part of this, just sign up to our MFL Fanatics Club on our website. Also, feel free to like and contribute on our Facebook page. And, of course you can follow us on Twitter: @MutantFootball.

Hickey Jr.: How do you want the game to be remembered?

Mendheim: As the videogame industry’s first action sports hybrid game… and that it made people laugh.

Like what you’ve read? Check out Patrick’s book The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers to read the full interview.

Order a personalized copy of the book and the sequel, The Minds Behind Adventure Games at his official site, PatrickHickeyJr.com and follow him on Instagram at @PatrickHickeyJr.