Saturday, May 29, 2021

Help Me Open and Unbox These FACTORY SEALED Atari 2600 & Intellivision Games!

Help Me Open and Unbox These FACTORY SEALED Atari 2600 & Intellivision Games!

I've got eight vintage factory sealed video games I'd love to open in a (near) future video: Ms. Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Space Attack, Venture, and Jungle Hunt for the Atari 2600, and Space Armada, Space Spartans, and Triple Attack for the Intellivision.


Here's how it works:

If you--US residents only--place a $25 (or more) order for any of my gaming or pop culture books via by June 7, and then mention your order in the comments of THIS VIDEO, I will open/unbox the game you mention in a subsequent video. I will also plug your website, YouTube channel, business, or anything else in that unboxing video. So, with your book(s) purchase, you are also getting a free plug on my channel, as well as the fun of watching me open a factory sealed game(s) in a video. And I will be happy to sign the book or books that you order. :)

Keep in mind that you are NOT buying the game or paying me to open the game--you are buying a book (or books), getting a free sponsorship on my channel, and helping me open a factory sealed game (your order offsets the fact that opening factory sealed games devalues them). There can be more than one sponsor for each game. For example, if three people purchase $25 or more worth of books for me to open Dig Dug, I will mention all three people and plug their channel/website/business in the subsequent Dig Dug unboxing video.

The one exception to the $25 price is Ms. Pac-Man, which will require a $50 (or more) order since it is a more expensive factory sealed game, and opening it will devalue it more than the others. (BTW, if you order $100 or more of books direct from me, shipping is free.)

So, US residents, get your book orders in by June 7, comment on the video which game or games you'd like for me to open, and I will do so in a subsequent video. And I will plug your gig! Thanks!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) - One of the Greatest Consoles of All Time & One of My Favorites!

The NES is one of the greatest game consoles of all time, home to such legendary titles as Contra, Castlevania, the original Super Mario Bros. trilogy, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, and the classic Donkey Kong trilogy (Donkey Kong 3 is so underrated!), as well as such hidden gems as Trog!, Cowboy Kid, and Felix the Cat. I could go on all day about the excellent library of games, which I in fact do in The NES Omnibus volumes 1 and 2.

The NES Omnibus: The Nintendo Entertainment System and Its Games, Volume 2 (M-Z) is currently on Kickstarter, and you can back it HERE. There are only a couple of days left, so if you miss it, you can still do a standard pre-order for the book HERE. And you can read sample pages from the book HERE.

You may be surprised to know that I didn’t actually play the NES until I got my console for Christmas in 1987. I was 20 years old at the time and was no longer going over to friends’ houses to play video games. I was still gaming on my Atari 2600, ColecoVision, Intellivision, and Odyssey2, but my social life consisting primarily of working, dating, shooting hoops, and hanging out with friends in bars, restaurants, and the like. In addition, I never saw the VS. System version of Super Mario Bros. in the arcades until later. I had heard of the game, though, and was absolutely floored by it when I first booted it up. I was especially impressed with the cartoonish nature of the game, the secrets and surprises, and the near-perfect controls, at least when compared to what came before.

I went on to amass an awesome collection of games, and I’ve written about the NES for the late, lamented All Game Guide, Old School Gamer Magazine, AntiqueWeek, and various other publications. I even wrote the WORLD’S FIRST book featuring write-ups for EVERY U.S. release for the console.

In short, I’m a huge NES fan, and I love playing the games and writing about them and the system.

Long live the NES!

Monday, May 10, 2021

NES Memories from The NES Omnibus: The Nintendo Entertainment System and Its Games, Volume 2 (M-Z) - NOW ON KICKSTARTER!

In addition to reviews for 350+ games and all that goes along with that, such as history, box art, screenshots, developer info, and the like, The NES Omnibus Vol. 2 (M-Z), which is NOW ON KICKSTARTER, is loaded down with essays on and nostalgic stories about many of the games featured. This book was a labor of love for myself and all the contributing writers involved, including such noteworthy talents as 8-Bit Eric, Chris “The Irate Gamer” Bores, John “Gamester81” Lester, David Warhol (former Intellivision and NES programmer), Greg Sewart (former Electronic Gaming Monthly editor and reviewer), and many other content creators and personalities. The NES Omnibus Vol. 2 (M-Z) will ship Oct. 28. Enjoy an advance look at this terrific Metroid essay by artist and developer Kale Menges:

Few games have had an impact in my life like Metroid. Without a doubt, it is my favorite video game of all time. In fact, it is the game that most inspired me to become a developer. I first played Metroid in the autumn of 1989 at a cousin's house and was immediately entranced. Being a somewhat introverted kid growing up, and at the time coping with my family's recent cross-country relocation, I found myself easily relating to protagonist Samus Aran's isolation and loneliness in her quest to eradicate the devastating bio-weapons being harvested by space pirates on the planet Zebes. There was something so incredibly surreal about the way Metroid seemed to defy the 2D platforming conventions of the time. The game was just so amazingly innovative from both a creative and a design perspective.

After playing so many other platform games on the NES back in the day, merely being able to scroll left was mind-blowing. The morph ball power-up was a stroke of genius, a design decision the team arrived at when they simply couldn't figure out how to effectively animate Samus crawling (the technical limitations of the NES hardware were what made so many of these 8-bit games so great). Samus' screw attack, a special ability that allowed her to somersault right through enemies like an energized saw blade, remains famous as one of the greatest power-ups in the history of gaming.

The game's password system (the cartridge version's replacement for the original Famicom Disk game's writable save feature) provided players with what basically amounted to a primitive hacking tool that opened up a unique dimension of experimentation and exploration rarely found in console games. Metroid's non-linear gameplay, set in an exotic and hostile ecosystem where the player is the alien exploring a vast subterranean landscape of labyrinthine caverns and ancient ruins of a forgotten alien civilization, creates a fantastic gaming experience that crafts a wonderfully unique experiential narrative that somehow always feels personal. Even the soundtrack is perfectly attuned to the game's atmosphere and ambiance. There is something almost romantic about it all, in a classic pulp sci-fi sort of way.

I have no idea how much of my life I've spent navigating that hostile planet's dark interior, desperately searching every nook and cranny for hidden power-ups and secret passages. Metroid remains one of the gold standards for how to do hidden secrets in game worlds, and it succeeds so well at teaching players to explore and experiment (rather than just holding their hand and spelling everything out for them all the time), and to view roadblocks as signs that they're on the right path. Even the game's protagonist, Samus Aran, represented a veritable ace up the sleeve as the game's ultimate secret, her true identity only being revealed if the player finished the game within a certain time limit. Nowadays, Metroid's design philosophies are central tenets of the genre it helped create, taking 2D platform games to a whole new level of depth and challenge well beyond mere running and jumping.

I don't know how many times I've defeated that mechanical life vein known as the Mother Brain, but I can draw out the entirety of the game's immense map from memory. I still do a play-through of the game at least once a year, even three full decades since the first time I played it. And yet, despite the game's technical shortcomings (pervasive slowdown in enemy-crowded areas and quite a few exploitable glitches), and even though I've thoroughly relished and enjoyed all of the games in the Metroid series over the years, the original NES game still stands out to me as more of a pure, focused experience whose simple narrative perfectly complements its wonderfully organic game design. - Kale Menges, artist and game developer

Monday, May 3, 2021

Twitter Autographed Book Giveaway! The NES Omnibus: The Nintendo Entertainment System and Its Games, Volume 1 (A–L)

Hey, I’m giving away a SIGNED copy of The NES OmnibusVol. 1 (A-L) over on Twitter. US residents only.

To be entered into the random drawing, all you have to do is retweet the contest Twitter post, which you can find by clicking HERE. The contest will end Wednesday—thanks for playing!

Below are a couple of reviews of the book, including one by HP Lindsay, who is Papa Pete on YouTube.

Anthony E. Micari

5.0 out of 5 stars

A definitive work for all NES fans!

Reviewed in the United States on December 21, 2020

Brett Weiss has been writing amazing Video Game compendiums for years. Ever since I stumbled upon his SNES Omnibus, I have been a fan. This one does NOT disappoint! I like to read these kinds of books cover to cover, and Weiss fills this with interesting reviews, anecdotes and facts on every game in the NES Library (in this case A - L). The quality of the hardcover is great and everything is nicely laid out. I can't wait for the next volume coming in 2021. I also suggest that anyone interested in video game history or collecting check out his other books.

HP Lindsay

5.0 out of 5 stars

The True "Ultimate" Nintendo NES Encyclopedia

Reviewed in the United States on February 8, 2021

Like Weiss' prior releases, the SNES Omnibuses Vol 1 & 2, The NES Omnibus Volume 1 is the most thorough and appealing guide to the NES Library that's available today. Covering games from A-L, author, Brett Weiss provides extensive descriptions, screen shots and other details on on every licensed and unlicensed game released for the system. Many of the games also include personal stories from various members of the retro game and YouTube communities, to accentuate that particular game.

The clean, clear layout of each page...and every single game gets at least one full page of extremely easy and appealing to read, much different from other books on the same subject, which are so cluttered and "busy" that it takes away from overall experience. This isn't an arbitrary review book. This is an encyclopedia, where Brett Weiss covers each and every game, in a fair and unbiased manner. Overall, as a lover of all retro video games, I have to say that this is by far the best compilation available for the Nintendo Entertainment System, today.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

8 Nintendo NES Couch Co-Op Games You MUST Play - Including Contra!


I recently uploaded a video on YouTube of eight couch co-op games you MUST play for the Nintendo NES. These are titles I’ve played countless hours on over the years, so they come highly recommended. You can watch it HERE.

Contra is among these games I included, so I thought it would be cool to post text from the Contra chapter in The NES Omnibus Vol. 1 (A-L), including author Patrick Hickey Jr.’s nostalgic "Insider Insight" story down below. ENJOY!


Publisher: Konami. Developer: Konami.

Platform Shooter, 1 or 2 players (simultaneous). 1988.

Putting the “hard” in hardcore, Contra is a tour de force of macho gaming, casting the player in the role of a musclebound soldier from the Special Forces elite commando squad. Armed with the ability to run, jump, duck, and fire a gun (at aliens and their evil henchmen), the guerilla warrior must blast his way through eight stages of brutal action: Jungle, Base 1, Waterfall, Base 2, Snow Field, Energy Zone, Hangar Zone, and Alien’s Lair. Bases 1 and 2 sport a behind-the-soldier perspective while Waterfall features vertical scrolling. Capturing flying power-ups enables the player to upgrade their firepower to machine gun, laser, fireball, rapid fire, and, most famously, the awesome spread gun. Like its more graphically detailed (yet less well known) coin-op counterpart (Konami, 1987), a second gamer can join in for cooperative action. Pressing up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A at the title screen lets the player begin with 30 lives, a maneuver that popularized the famous Konami Code.

Memories: As with Castlevania, I bought Contra shortly after it came out. Buzz for the game was strong, and it did not disappoint. I absolutely loved it. I didn’t find out about the Konami code until later, so I played it over and over again with the few lives it would give you. I didn’t mind, though, because I dug every second of it and didn’t know any better. I got so good at Contra—jumping and flipping away from bullets like some kind of buff ballerina—that I beat it without using any cheats. This says more about how many hours I put into the game than it does how skilled of a gamer I am.

Notable Quotable: “Two-player contests are always in demand, because most video games are designed for a solo gamer. Contra is doubly welcome, because it is a truly outstanding action epic.” - Computer Gaming World (June 1988)

Notable Quotable: “Requires all the skill you can muster. The aliens come at you from every which way, and only the fastest responses will save you! The action is non-stop…graphics are quite good…If you like action, you should find many hours of exciting play here.” - Computer Entertainer (March 1988)

Notable Quotable: “The commandos are awkward to control, and have an annoying habit of crouching down facing in the wrong direction. The graphics improve throughout the game, but then again they have to; the early levels look primitive in the extreme. So, considering the NES games coming out at the moment—games that have outstanding graphics, sound, and playability—this really can't be recommended.” - Mean Machines (January 1991)

Insider Insight: It was the summer of 1988. I wasn’t even five years old yet, but I had amassed quite a reputation for myself in the apartments where I lived. I could already read, I always ate my vegetables, and I loved gaming. R.B.I. Baseball, Super Mario Bros., you name it, I was awesome at it.

Then one day my neighbor—let’s just call him Mike (who 20 years later would end up in prison on a murder charge. Hey, it was Brooklyn.)—introduced me to a game that changed my life forever. It kind of looked like Mario, but it was in the jungle and you had guns. Wait, this was nothing like Mario. This was nuts. The guns change when I pick these things up? This was amazing. But it was hard. I didn’t want to play anymore. Wait, what? There’s a fix? A secret code?

The Konami code, which “Mike” introduced me to, changed everything for me and made me absolutely love Contra. No longer would I have to wait for Dad to get home and plot our course of action. No longer would I have to ask my friends how to beat a level. No longer would I get angry when I died. Why? I had 29 more!

The Konami code allowed me to explore the levels of Contra, to take in its undeniable beauty and killer soundtrack and learn the ways of the alien force attacking. That code wasn’t just a cheat to me—it was an introduction to gameplay design, mechanics, and the thought that what you saw wasn’t what you got and that a video game is always more than the sum of its parts. Without Contra, it’s fair to say I don’t end up with the appreciation of games that I have. Yep, it’s that heavy.

While it also incited a cheating scandal in gaming the industry had never seen before (real men don’t need the code to finish Contra, or so they say) and changed the way we play in other regards, the code’s inclusion on one of the best side-scrolling shooters was just another reason why the game is so special. It also fostered an extra strong bond between players in two-player action. Allowing players to “borrow” lives (the same way that a neighbor’s mother would borrow bread no one ever returned) the stronger player could essentially guide the weaker player through the level.

Great games are played in a variety of ways. Contra is an excellent single-player shooter and an even better two-player romp. Add in the storied Konami code, and you’ve got a game that is absolutely iconic. - Patrick Hickey Jr., author of The Minds Behind the Games, founder and editor in chief of