Thursday, February 29, 2024

Why I Don't Pay the Contributing Writers for My Retro Gaming Books


I’ve been asked by various people online why I don’t pay the contributing writers for my books, my NES and SNES Omnibus volumes in particular. It’s a fair question and one I’m always happy to answer. Since it seems to be an ongoing concern with certain people, and in fact some keyboard warriors have been downright hostile about it, I’ve provided a longer explanation here.

For those who aren’t in the writing business, you may not know that there are two kinds of writer’s markets: paying and non-paying. It’s always been this way, and you can find writer’s guidelines for both online and in magazines and books. During the ’90s and early 2000s, when I was still learning my craft, I gladly wrote for several non-paying markets, including Classic Gamer Magazine, Scary Monsters Magazine, and a couple of other publications. I did this to support the magazines, to get my name out there, and to help hone my writing skills. To get good, writers must write. A lot. It’s hard work, but it can be a lot of fun when you are writing about your favorite hobbies.

In recent times, I’ve written for free for a handful of projects, including my memory of meeting Walter Day for the first time for Todd Friedman’s Walter Day's Gaming Superstars: Volume Two. Todd, a good friend of mine, told me up front that it was a voluntary project, and I happily wrote the story for free—it was fun recalling the time of how I met Walter at the Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas and putting it down on paper. For Rob Strangman’s Memoirs of a Virtual Caveman, I was happy to contribute two nostalgic stories free of charge. Like Todd, Rob is a great dude, and I wanted to help him out and appear in a great book at the same time—win-win! There are other retro gaming books out there—some that have sold more copies than mine—that are non-paying markets for contributing writers as well. My Omnibus books are hardly alone in this regard.

When it came time to solicit contributing writers for my first Omnibus book, The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A–M), I quickly decided it would be a non-paying market, and of course I told the writers upfront. I was looking for authors, YouTubers, programmers, store owners, and others in the industry who wanted to tell nostalgic stories about some of their favorite and most memorable video games for the sheer enjoyment of recalling those great times. They were welcome to include critiques with their stories, but I didn’t need them to actually review the games—I primarily wanted them to help capture the culture of gaming, particularly the SNES during the 1990s (though more recent memories regarding the console were certainly welcome).

Of course, there were pragmatic reasons for making my Omnibus books a non-paying market. With 79 contributing writers on The SNES Omnibus Vol. 1 alone, most of whom wrote multiple stories, it would have been cost-prohibitive to make it a paying market. As a full-time freelance writer at the time, this made the most sense to me. During the writing of the Omnibus books, it took a ton of time away from my primary and more profitable job of being a journalist for various magazines and newspapers, including AntiqueWeek and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In short, each book was a passion project. The books have sold very well, thankfully, but all things considered, I made the correct business decision.

Regarding the contributing writers who have done the yeoman’s work of telling all these stories, they have done an amazing job, and I’m incredibly grateful. And virtually all of them I’ve spoken with have been thrilled with how the books have turned out. For one YouTuber in particular, he called it a “dream come true” to have his writing appear in a hardcover book that was for sale at Barnes & Noble and other brick-and-mortar stores. Another writer and friend of mine, Blair Farrell, said it was his first published work in print. Farrell has gone on to write books of his own, including Avengers in Video Games: A Guide to Solo Adventures and Mighty Marvel Team-Ups, with Creator Interviews.

Without these Insider Insights in my Omnibus books, they wouldn’t be nearly as interesting or entertaining. Reviews and synopses are fine, but stories are more fun to read. Countless noteworthy gamers, content creators, and industry insiders contributed amazing anecdotes to the Omnibus tetralogy, including such popular figures as Kelsey Lewin, John Riggs, Chris Bores, 8-bit Eric, John Hancock, Tim Lapetino, Blake Harris, Tyler Esposito, Shawn Long, Rob McCallum, Adam F. Goldberg, Kurt Kalata, Brittney Brombacher, Benjamin Reeves, Steve Woita, Greg Sewart, Patrick Hickey Jr., and too many others to mention. I’m forever grateful for these amazingly talented people—too many to mention them all!

You may have a problem with me not paying my writers, but they certainly don’t—they were happy to be involved and help me out! I’m friends with most of my contributing writers, which makes me incredibly happy. Some of the coolest, most interesting, and most enjoyable people to hang out with I’ve met through my interest in retro gaming. Rather than disrespecting these contributing writers as I’ve been accused, I’ve shown a great deal of respect and repaid them in kind by sharing links to their books and YouTube channels, writing about them on my website with my Writer Spotlights, and more. In fact, I’ve collaborated for free with some of them on their projects. In short, it’s a win-win for everyone! Occasionally, I might make misstep, such as not recognizing someone at a convention or being too distracted or busy to chat—apologies all around! It can be stressful and overwhelming to set up at a show and deal with a bunch of customers, but this is no excuse—I’ll try to do better!

When it came time to write The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1988–1998, I put the word out on social media and via email that I was looking for people to write essays for many of the games. While I wrote all the essays for the first book in the series, The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977–1987, I wanted help for 1988-1998 from other writers in order to get a diversity of opinions and perspectives, to save time and my sanity (I was juggling an insane amount of stuff in my personal and professional life), and to write about games that are incredible but that I’m not super passionate about, such as several of the RPGs that made the cut. I decided to stick with my format of the book not being a paying market since it had worked so well with the Omnibus volumes.

Some writers I asked to participate in the second 100 Greatest book declined because the essays are much longer than those for the Omnibus books. In fact, one writer who had contributed to the Omnibus books told me the proposed longer essays for the 100 Greatest book sounded too much like work—perfectly understandable. Conversely, other writers happily hopped onboard and were super stoked to write full essays about some of their favorite games. In my solicitation correspondence, I said I would send a free signed book to every contributing writer free of charge, but some of them supported the Kickstarter anyway—I was beyond moved by such a gesture. I’ve got an amazing support network of friends, colleagues, and fellow writers—just incredible. Regarding free books in general, my publisher sent out a bunch of review copies to many of my contributing writers—over half of them—since the vast majority have outlets to promote the books. As such, most of the writers ended up getting a free book anyway.

If you still aren’t convinced that writers sometimes write for free and do so gladly, or you can’t imagine why they would do such a thing, here are some general reasons that apply across the industry:

Exposure and Recognition: Having one's name appear in print can be a significant draw, offering writers a form of recognition that extends beyond monetary compensation. For emerging writers, this exposure can be invaluable, serving as a portfolio piece that opens doors to future opportunities.

Passion for the Subject: Many contributors are motivated by a genuine love for the subject and a desire to share their insights and experiences with a like-minded audience. This passion can make the act of writing its own reward.

Community and Collaboration: Projects like these often foster a sense of community among contributors, who can form valuable professional networks and friendships. The collaborative nature of contributing to a collective work can be fulfilling in itself. I’ve seen this first-hand the numerous retro gaming cons I attend each year.

Professional Development: Contributing to such projects can also serve as professional development, allowing writers to hone their craft, experiment with new writing styles, and receive feedback from peers and editors.

Building a Portfolio: For writers starting out, contributions to published works can be a powerful addition to their portfolio, demonstrating their ability to write professionally and meet publication standards.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for your indulgence!

And, as always, thanks for reading!

~Brett Weiss

Sunday, February 25, 2024

My Last Intellivision Amico YouTube Video? Your comments!

 I’ve uploaded a new video on the Intellivision Amico and how I just don’t care that much about it anymore. You can watch it HERE. I got some great comments on the vid, which you can read below. Thanks to everyone for weighing in on such a fascinating topic!


Couldn't care less about the Amico at this point, and Tommy's probably going to prison in the end, but the one thing that really pisses me off about the whole ordeal is the limbo that Earthworm Jim 4 now finds itself in. I was genuinely looking forward to a new Earthworm Jim game hearkening back to the franchise's actual 2D roots with so many of the original devs attached to the project. I can only hope that somehow the game finds a new publisher, though if what I've heard is true, the game never actually saw any substantial development to begin with (comparable to much of what was promised regarding all things Amico), so there's probably no real loss there when all is said and done.


The thing about Rigid Force Redux is that it already exists on Android and iOS. No crappy Amico middleware required, and its a pretty fun R-Type clone. I probably paid three bucks. Why would I want to re-buy it for $15?


I also had one pre-ordered YEARS ago and have canceled it. I couldn’t care less about Amico Home; I wanted an actual console that hooks up to our TV. Mobile games are already oversaturated, so I certainly have no interest in them. The new Atari products are AWESOME (I own both the 2600+ and the Game Station Pro) and it’s a shame that Intellivision didn’t follow this path.


To me, the system concept seem very cumbersome. The Evel Knievel game seem cool, but the cost was too high. This was not well planned-out system.


Good video! I was excited about the Amico at first, but I thought Tommy was full of it pretty earlier on, and when he started attacking Nintendo it was over for me.


Just a dumpster fire all around. I think even if it did come out it would have been doomed based on the price alone. Yes, older gamers and people into retro would buy it, but put it next to a switch for $300, and no one is going to buy it over a Switch.


Totally understand Brett, but I'm sure most of us Supporters still like you and will welcome you back when you're ready.

The console was always just an Android based hub for the controllers, really nothing more, and it also turned into a nightmare to produce for a small company. Having said that, we never needed it anyway, Brett. There are many, better Android boxes in MILLIONS of homes right now that the controllers will play on as a console. Many are dirt cheap, too.

Amico will actually be a much better product now IMO.

I know you want a proprietary console, but an nVidia Sheild is more than capable, and it will be the future of console gaming for the Non-Big Three. When this works out for Intellivision, look for Sega, Neo Geo, Atari, etc, to come out with "consoles" of their own on it.


I feel like they should have gone the pure retro route. Make a console that's JUST for retro games, not these low-end 3D games that look like mid 90s Mac games. That visual style is so unappealing. Give us pure retro gaming with a normal controller, not a gimmicky one. It could have been a $50 console. Do achievements, online co-op/versus, leaderboards, etc. Something like that would have been great.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Pat Contri Hating Me and Using Emulation for His N64 Book

Pat reluctantly posed for this photo at a convention. I thought we were still friends at the time.

My buddy Smash JT did a video recently on Pat Contri’s forthcoming N64 book. He mentions me in the video as someone Pat has unfairly insulted on his YouTube channel and podcast, which I appreciate – thanks, Smash. But just to be clear, I wasn't consulted for the video, and I've never commented on Pat’s N64 book before this blog post. I've also never commented on his and his contributing writers’ use of emulation to write the reviews. I figured that was his business, and it didn’t really affect me.

I’ve discussed other retro gaming books by other writers on my blog and my YouTube channel, but I don’t really feel comfortable commenting too much on the N64 book until I take a look at it. As far as emulation in general is concerned, it makes sense for rare and expensive games, but less so for common ones. Those should be fairly easy to purchase (and later resold if needed to recoup the money) or at least borrow and play on original hardware. I love physical media, and original cartridges are always preferable, but it is what it is. Regardless, if he wants review games using emulators, that’s his prerogative and not really my concern--it's actually a common practice. It's certainly NOT a scam to write a gaming book using emulation, as Smash JT's video states. It's not a perfect solution for games you don't have access to, but it's a solution. My issues with Pat run much deeper.

One thing is clear: had Pat, who I was friends with for almost 10 years, not only turned on me and started trashing me on his podcast as soon as my first Omnibus book came out (his attitude change toward me was instantaneous when he saw me as a competitor), I would probably be congratulating him and maybe even helping him promote the N64 book—after all, we were friends and had an amiable working relationship. I promoted the hell out of his NES book during the Kickstarter and for weeks after it came out, because I was proud to be a part of it, and to help him out. I even message him congratulations on his Super NES Kickstarter, which he ignored.

Pat was thrilled that I was a guest at Mo Game Con.

But, as soon as he saw me as competition instead of a friend and colleague, he started lying about me repeatedly on his podcast and calling me names. Among other things, he called me a "passive aggressive asshole," presumably because I've tried to deal with this pointless conflict in a cordial manner. He said my reviews for his NES book were “garbage” after he deleted them for the publication of the THIRD edition. He brought me up on his podcast periodically, just to say bad things about me and my reviews, which is totally strange and disingenuous since he complimented them repeatedly during the production of the book. In 2015, he said "great job" and that I was a "backbone" helping keeping his NES book going, as you can see by the email below. During the writing process of his NES book, and while the first two editions were in print, he was cool to me and said nice things about my reviews (while sometimes suggesting edits), but then things changed. Even before he started getting really nasty with me, he began ghosting me at conventions and acting uncomfortable around me—but only after my SNES Omnibus Vol. 1 came out.

To provide a backstory on how things went south with Pat, when it was time for the third edition of his NES book to be published, he announced that there were going to be 60 reviews completely rewritten. I remembered that I had done approximately that amount and messaged him to inquire if he was taking out my reviews. He saw the message but didn’t answer me, which was odd. I wish he had given me a heads-up because I was still mentioning that I had written reviews for his book in my bio and my resume—freelance writers like myself are constantly sending out pitches to various editors, using their credentials when submitting article ideas.

Pat had every right to remove my reviews from his book, but I just wish he would have given me the professional courtesy of letting me know. It really did cause problems for me. For example, leading up to the Portland Retro Gaming Expo around that time, my guest bio on their website, which I had submitted months before, mentioned that I had written for his NES book. Well, if someone only had the third edition of the book and then saw that bio, they would be confused or think that I was lying. So, I had to contact PRGE and have them delete that bit of information. First-world problem to be sure, but annoying. Much worse, his followers began harassing me online, based on Pat's harsh words about me. Pat even insults me “privately” on his Patreon. (Message for Pat – nothing online is private.)

The bottom line is this: Pat only started being a jerk to me after my first SNES Omnibus book came out. It is a large full-color hardcover, unlike my more basic Classic Home Video Games books, which he didn’t see as competition. He’s spreading false information when he says he thinks my reviews are garbage. He paid me for them and complimented them several times. And even if thinks they are garbage, and even if he heavily edited a few of them (a common practice for editors), is that really the way to treat one of your writers and supposed friends? I’ve written hundreds and hundreds of articles for various publications and never once did any of my other editors start insulting me about it later. In fact, Pat’s is my only editor to have ever insulted me at all. Sure, I had work rejected before, like any working writer, but those editors acted like professionals. People had warned me about working with Pat—that he might turn on me, which he ended up doing—but unfortunately I ignored them.

Oh, and one more thing: if my NES reviews in Pat's book were indeed garbage, then he should be soundly criticized for publishing them in the first two editions of his book. None of my other editors/publishers would have published and sold what they thought was awful writing. Those "terrible"  reviews of mine would have simply ended up in...the garbage.

More evidence that Pat was happy with my work during the writing of the book:

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Off the Wall - Atari 2600 Game Review


Off the Wall

Atari 2600

Publisher: Atari. Developer: Atari.

Genre: Ball-and-Paddle


One of the last games released for the Atari 2600, Off the Wall takes the classic formula we all know from Breakout and spins it into something more detailed and fairly entertaining. The game puts you in the shoes of Kung Fu Lu, on a mission to smash through a mysterious and evil wall, brick by brick, with a bouncing ball as your weapon of choice.

The game tosses in a twist with a mystical dragon perched atop the screen, guarding the wall. To complete a level, you must demolish every brick or defeat the dragon itself with six strikes. Just when you think you've got a handle on things, enter the blackbird. This feisty creature appears after the first level, fluttering close to the wall, ready to bounce your ball in the wrong direction and amp up the challenge.

Periodically, the game throws you a bone with magical tokens that drop down. Catch one of these, and you're rewarded with an
Arkanoid-like special power. One makes the paddle magnetic, allowing it to draw the ball to Lu. Another enlarges your paddle, making it easier to hit the ball. One turns your ball into a powerhouse capable of blasting a large chunk of bricks while another makes the ball travel in a zigzag pattern toward the bricks. There’s a mystery token as well that will provide any one of the four power-ups.

You begin the game as a humble peasant, but your skill and determination will see you rise through the ranks with every four waves of bricks you clear. But beware: losing a ball off the bottom of the screen costs you a life, and with only five lives on hand, every move counts.

Now, here's huge bummer for fans of classic Atari and retro gaming in general. Unlike Breakout, Off the Wall doesn't work with the Atari paddle controllers – you must use the standard joystick. It's a HUGE missed opportunity, especially considering how well-suited the game's mechanics would be for that kind of precise and speedy control. I’m guessing that this late in the life of the 2600, Atari either didn’t care or figured that consumers wouldn’t care. Even with this massive oversight, the game manages to be more than just playable – it’s entertaining.

Overall, Off the Wall is a largely forgotten title for the Atari 2600. While it shares the same genre with Atari’s own 1991 arcade game of the same name, they are very different. It’s not good enough to be called a hidden gem, and it’s certainly not as good as Arkanoid, but it does offer some simple, old-school fun. There are certainly worse ways to kill half an hour than to play this game a few rounds.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The Top 5 Reasons Retro Video Game Collecting is Expensive


I recently uploaded a video on my YouTube channel giving my top five reasons retro video games have gotten expensive, especially sealed or at least complete-in-box. You can watch it HERE. My list goes all the back to the ‘90s up until the present day. Below are some of the comments on the video. Feel free to weigh in as well over on YouTube, or here. Thanks for watching! And commenting!

@smog-097 says:

It only seems ridiculous because people were giving away 80s and 90s video games for pennies on the dollar.  When a console was considered obsolete, people literally threw them away. Even though it seems expensive today, and I agree there are ridiculous examples out there, the vast majority of classic games still barely sell for the original MSRP, and most are far less. I mean if you paid $50 in 1989 for a new Nintendo game, and it may have gone for $2 used at flea markets in the ‘90s…most of them have rebounded to what?  Like $20?  That's not a real return on investment after 4 decades unless you happened to be the one hoarding them out of clearance bins.


One of the major factors imo is that a lot of the games still hold up. There’s still a demand from people like me who didn’t even grow up with them.


 When I first got into collecting, I used to tell people that the lowest barrier to entry was the VCS/2600. You could get a working console for $10-$20, and games typically were $1-$3. My, how times have changed.


I want to collect my childhood, but it can be tough to collect video games now a days


It's getting harder to find, but still once in a while I find Atari games cheap. Got a box of 2600 games for $1 a piece last week when a local game store was having a sidewalk sale. None were rare, but a lot of them were in very good condition.

Found two NES games for $11 each that are good ones and a CIB Sega Genesis game of the Williams Arcade Collection for $11 too. Glad to see sales l😅ke that still.

Sealed, graded collectibles are silly indeed. I figure that if I wanted to just look at a game box, comic book cover, toy box, etc, I'll take or download a photo of it and hang that on the wall.

 I've done that already with covers of the super expensive first appearance comics.

 Another reason why demand has gone up for some of these games is because of emulator consoles like the HyperKin consoles and the Atari 2600+ which can play original cartridges.


I have been playing since the 70's, but I didn't have the available income to start collecting before 1997. The most amount of games I had at any one time was 60 games before 1997. However, at Christmas that year, I broke 100 games, and I haven't looked back since. Today, I own over 13,600+ games, 363 consoles and 44 complete libraries.

I will say however, that to me, collecting ended with the 360, PS3 and Wii U. Today, with the PS4/PS5, One,Series X and Switch, most games REQUIRE an update before you use them for the first time, WHICH MEANS, that in the future, when these games are no longer supported, those games will be worth about as much as a coaster. Thus, I only buy what I will play for those consoles.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Top 8 Celebrity Deaths in 2023 - Suzanne Somers, etc.

The year 2023 unfolded as yet another challenging chapter for celebrities. Despite their towering personas, these individuals are mortal like the rest of us, inevitably facing the embrace of the Grim Reaper.

The resonance of a celebrity's passing, particularly those whose work has left an indelible mark on our lives, invokes a sense of loss within me. Critics may dismiss this sentiment as trivial, arguing that mourning should be reserved for those we personally know. However, the reality is that celebrities hold pivotal roles in people's lives, mine included. Beyond mere entertainers, they possess the ability to infuse vitality and enlightenment into our sometimes-mundane existence.

After careful contemplation, I produced this (alphabetical) list of celebrities whose passing last year affected me the most on a personal level. Call it a tribute of sorts to eight people I didn’t know, but who impacted me significantly nevertheless.

David Crosby – I’m heavily into heavy metal. Bands like Dio, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden “get my motor running” (to paraphrase Steppenwolf). But I love a variety of other musical genres, including folk rock, which was perfected by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Both lyrically and harmonically, the band is one of my favorites of the psychedelic era and beyond. One of the earlier “supergroups,” CSNY created some of my all-time favorite tunes, including such timeless classics as “Helpless,” “Southern Cross,” and “Woodstock.” Crosby, of course, was the most outspoken of the band members (with Young a close second) and a great singer and songwriter.

William Friedkin – Back in the early ‘90s, when I was dating my now-wife, she came over and we watched The Exorcist with my roommate. It was terrifying, and the three of us were genuinely spooked afterward. My roommate even brought his Bible out from his bedroom and placed it on the coffee table. I had seen it before, but for some reason it seemed especially scary this time around. Admittedly, I haven’t watched many of Friedkin’s other films (The French Connection being a notable exception), but The Exorcist alone is enough to earn him a spot on my list. While I don’t believe in real-life exorcisms or any of that hoo-ha, The Exorcist made all previous horror films seem less realistic and less horrifying to me in comparison.

Marty Krofft – More than Star Trek. More than The Super Friends. The most influential television show in the history of my life is The Land of the Lost, produced by the brothers Sidney and Marty Krofft. Featuring Marshall, Will, and Holly on a “routine expedition” gone awry, the program debuted when I was seven years old, and I was absolutely mesmerized by it. Written by such sci-fi legends as David Gerrold and Larry Niven, it played a huge role in my becoming obsessed with fantasy and science fiction, which in turn played a big role in my various occupations of comic book store owner, bookseller, writer, etc. The Krofft brothers also created such wonderfully creative shows as H.R. Pufnstuf, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, and Electra Woman and Dyna Girl

Norman Lear – Like so many kids who grew up before the internet and smart phones, I spent a TON of time playing outside. However, I also watched a lot of television, especially during windy winter days when severe bronchitis forced me to stay indoors. Norman Lear created and produced many of my favorites of that era, including All in the Family, Sanford & Son, and One Day at a Time. Remember the talk show parody Fernwood 2 Night starring Martin Mull and Fred Willard? Probably not, but my brother and I loved it. Unlike so much TV, which is sheer fluff, Lear’s shows used humor to deal with serious and often controversial topics—he was a trailblazer for the medium like no other. He lived to be 101, a testament to his timeless talent.

Mathew Perry – As with countless other celebrities, the funny and charming Mathew Perry, who played Chandler on Friends, showed that you can have it all—fame, fortune, good looks, great friends—and still be a miserable mess. In his memoir, he said that he never really felt good or even normal unless he was on some type of mood-enhancing substance. A true addict. Sad. Friends hit the air when I was dating my now-wife Charis, and it's been with us ever since, like an old friend. She even has a big part of her office devoted to Friends memorabilia. It’s a highly likeable show with numerous hilarious, memorable, and even iconic moments, and Chandler was a big part of that. Could he have been any funnier?

John Romita Sr. – Decades before comic book stories got so convoluted, and when continuity was still important to publishers, John Romita Jr. took over for Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko as the artist on The Amazing Spider-Man (in 1966 with issue #39), one of Marvel’s flagship titles. Romita aped Ditko’s style initially, but after a few issues, he embraced the book and began crafting the character and his adventures in his now-iconic style. In 1973, Romita took over as art director for Marvel and played a major role in defining the look of the company’s output and in designing new characters. From a long list of great craftsmen, he’s my favorite Spidey artist of all time.

Suzanne Somers – Freud spoke of a latency period, but I never had one. I was girl-crazy all throughout my childhood. One of my biggest crushes was Chrissy Snow, the gorgeous, but ditzy blonde roommate of Jack Tripper (John Ritter) and Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt) on Three’s Company. Although he had to pretend to be gay to live with Chrissy and Janet to get landlord approval, I thought Jack was the luckiest dude in the world. He was smitten with both girls, but ultimately the show was about the trio’s close friendship and their misunderstandings and misadventures. I loved it. And, in my own childish way, I loved Chrissy.

Cindy Williams – Numerous sitcoms had a girl that “got around,” and that was part of their appeal and a big part of the comedy. Alice had Florence Jean Castleberry. Golden Girls had Blanche Devereaux. Laverne & Shirley had Laverne DeFazio, who was played by Penny Marshall opposite “good girl” Shirley Feeny, played by the incredibly cute and affable Cindy Williams. Like her boyfriend Carmine “The Big Ragoo” Ragusa, I adored the virginal Shirley, who I far preferred to loose Laverne. She was the ultimate “girl next door type,” rivaled only by Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island. And she just seemed so sweet.

While I limited my list to just eight, there were many more celebrities who died last year who played a key role in my life as a fan and content creator. These include Jeff Beck, Riccou Browning, Jimmy Buffet, Phillis Coates, Bert I. Gordon, Keith Giffen, Al Jaffee, Piper Laurie, Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Reubens, Adam Rich, Robbie Robertson, and Raquel Welch.