Veteran gaming author turns to Kickstarter to update video game history book

Veteran video game author Rusel DeMaria wants a third edition of High Score!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games.  Fans of his previous work and gaming history have a chance to help.

High Score

Veteran gaming author turns to Kickstarter to update video game history book

The first and second editions of High Score were released last decade and were well-received by critics and gaming fans alike.  DeMaria now wants to do an updated third edition and has turned to a Kickstarter project to get it off the ground.

“I hate the fact that the book is out of print,” he said.  “I know there are a lot of video game history books out, and many of them are very good, but High Score is special, especially for its emphasis on graphics and showing the story in pictures as well as words.”

DeMaria is pledging to reward his Kickstarter backers with opportunities to meet some of the biggest industry names in gaming history.  Lunches with luminaries such as Trip Hawkins and Will Wright are up for grabs for reaching certain donation levels.

“There were people who were at first reluctant to participate in the book for personal reasons. In the case of Trip Hawkins, he wanted to save all the material for his own book,” DeMaria recalled.  “I was able somehow to convince him that he wasn’t done yet and it was too soon for him to write his memoires. And so there I was, in his beautiful house late at night. I mean I had the run of the house he and his family were sleeping upstairs. There were lots of rarities and treasures there, such as handwritten documents from John Madden and Julius Irving, but perhaps the greatest find (which I think he left out for me) was the original business plan for Electronic Arts. It was stunningly accurate. His five-year plan – amazingly bold and audacious for that time in history – was spot on. It doesn’t print all that well in the book, but it reads like a prophecy. I always respected Trip, but this made me see him as somewhat surreal in his vision.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCNH9qrIzgg[/youtube]

According to DeMaria, a third edition of High Score has been discussed before but was held back by a full-time job at The Art Institute in Seattle, WA.  Presently unemployed, the long-time gaming writer said he feels now is the right time but that he cannot do it alone.

“Right now I’m unemployed, so money is a serious issue for me, which is why I turned to Kickstarter,” he said. “With financial support for a few months, I think I can improve and expand High Score and put out a great new edition. I want it to be an even better book than the original versions, with all the main material, but better. I also want to find a way to publish or e-publish the extra content that I have, because there’s a lot of it, tons of graphical material and even much longer interviews that I could share. At any rate, this seems like a perfect moment to create the new edition, improve the book and expand it to cover the last decade or so, as well. Carpe diem.”

The Kickstarter project can be found by clicking here and needs to raise $25,000 by April 4 in order to fund the project.

You can also check out the second edition of High Score on Amazon.com here.

One: The Making of a Novel

One - The Novel - J.A. Laraque

 

There are a ton of stories sitting in people’s heads or on their desks and computers that will never see the light of day. When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time making up stories for my toys long before I put my hands on a video game controller.

When I was in school, I did some early writing, but then dropped off of it and really did not think about it again until I was in my late teens. In between delivery runs, I wrote a novel about the afterlife, which I hope everyone will get to read next year. To think now that I wrote a novel by hand amazes me, even more because I stopped writing again around age 20 and did not write again until age 30.

A good friend of mine had me pick a book to read from her collection and I picked What Dreams May Come. I had already watched the movie and wanted to read the book. I really enjoyed it and read it cover to cover within a few days, something I never did before. I wanted to resurrect that old book about the afterlife and so I began the writing process.

Before I knew it, I had written that novel and a second that was much more action oriented, but also based on the afterlife. Again, I hope to have those out in the future, but during this time, I began thinking about my life and the changes I had undergone.

Even though it had been more than a few years, my mother death was still in my mind more often than I thought it would be. I was lucky because I had many friends who were there to help me even though I felt I could do it all alone. I began to realize that since then I had withdrawn more. Sure, I hung with friends, but I valued being alone and kept thinking it was the best. I even began to think being alone was a virtue and it made me better, stronger. I believed I could adapt to anything life threw my way.

Strangely enough at the same time I turned to humor to make me feel better and had been a longtime member of the comedy site Something Awful. Since I was writing, I hung out in the creative message boards and one day I saw a post asking what would you do if you woke up one morning and everyone disappeared.

What captured my attention was not so much the premise, but that many people replied that they would not be that affected. Some people talked about how it would be fun or that they are alone all the time anyway so they would adapt. It made me think about my own feelings and I realized that most of these people don’t get what being truly alone is.

Later I talked with my sister about the question and told her I wanted to write a story about it. She loved the idea being a horror and Stephen King fan. I told my sister I didn’t want to write your standard last man on earth story and that it had to be about the character not so much the environment. I decided to take a part of my feelings and pull and stretch at it until Timothy was created.

Timothy is a 20-year-old man who believes he is dealing with the death of his father, who just a year prior was killed by a drunk driver. He believes it is his mother Martha and sister Ashley who are putting their own issues onto him. Timothy is smart, perhaps too smart for his own good and having to deal with his family and his girlfriend Christine, believes he just might be better off alone.

The next morning Timothy awakens to a world of one. Now Timothy not only has to find out how everyone disappeared, but why he is suddenly plagued by visions of his recent past. What keeps going through his head is something his sister told him the night before.

When you’re all alone and the only voice you can hear is your own, you find out the truth about yourself.

I wanted this story to be a mystery as well as a tale about how we view our life and how we deal with it. My hope was to put a new spin on these types of stories and when it was done, all I wanted was for people to see it.

The problem is you can never get a story 100% right. You can read it a million times, edit it, have friends and people you do not know read it. However, each time you come back and look at it you will feel something isn’t right. Also, you know there are people who want nothing more than to rain on your parade and no matter how many times you say it does not matter, you do care what people think of your work.

Getting something published is like becoming a movie star. You can be a great actor or not, you can be lucky or you are not. What I mean is there will always be great, new stories out there people will never see for many reasons be it that you are not well known, you don’t know people who can help you, you don’t have money or all of the above.

This is not to say I think my story is great or even new because I frankly do not know. The point is, many people will become discouraged by publishing houses that rather push out books from reality stars than spend the time on an up and coming writer.

What did I do, I stepped away and worked on my other novels. I was scared. Scared to fail, scared it wasn’t good enough, scared to succeed. However, I kept writing and I thought that was good enough. As time went on I came back to the story and polished it over and over, but I was never trained in writing and even with friends who read it for me and helped me edit it, I felt there must be a mistake I missed, a typo, a comma missing, something.

Finally, a good friend told me to just do it. Forget the rewrites and get it out there. Sounds simple and in the end it was. Places like Amazon and Google and even ITunes makes it simple to self-publish. The hardest part is letting go and putting it out there.

There was more editing that I did to try to catch what I could and I formatted it to look good on phones or Kindles or what have you. In the end, I had to let it go and admit I could not do any more. In my heart, I know the story is good, in my mind I assume it is not perfect, but it does not matter because it is out there.

This is the part where I say give me book a look, but honestly not so much because I think it is a great story, even though it is. This is for anyone and everyone who wants to write. I want them to see that a guy who misspells a lot, messes up with grammar and fears criticism can put something out there. I hope if nothing else it makes you say “If he can do it so can I.” I want to see more people self-publish and get their stories out because we know most movies and television have exhausted their supply of decent stories, we need new blood.

No matter what happens I will continue writing. Even writing for these websites and as part of my day job, I get a little bit better. If you need the key to this here it is, keep writing and don’t let your work sit forever. We are all waiting for you.

My book One can be found in the Amazon Kindle bookstore.

 

The man who thought the NES was worth $13,000

NES

This column has never been shy about pointing out epic fails in video gaming knowledge.   From CBS News graphics stating the Sega Genesis was recently hacked to fleshy art collectors who’d swear they saw Walter Day running from the Texas Schoolbook Depository in 1963, I take great joy in pointing out when supposed gaming information experts miss the mark by a hemisphere or two.

This gentleman on A&E’s Storage Wars takes the cake.   For those who avoid such shows like the plague, Storage Wars is little more that footage of people who buy abandoned or defaulted storage lockers at auctions and dig through the mess inside hoping to find buried treasures.

Information for what to look for is important for this line of work, and this poor soul didn’t have it.   Upon finding a cola-stained original Nintendo Entertainment System, it was proclaimed to be an NES-001, “the first Nintendo DS built” and was supposedly worth $13,000 based on the last time it sold on the “internets”.

Sadly, he failed to realize the famed $13,000 “internets” sale of an NES included the super rare Stadium Events cartridge, which is what carried the value.

Rather than take a quick stop to look at eBay, Amazon or anywhere else, he quickly calls another guy to go to a used game store and obtain the true value of the broken classic console:  $10.

Watch the video and listen carefully.  I swear you can hear that music from a lost Price is Right game at the end of the clip.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4FV512vPHQ[/youtube]