Review Fix Exclusive: Inside The NES Omnibus Vol. 1 A-L With Brett Weiss

Review Fix chats with video game historian, Brett Weiss, who discusses his upcoming book, The NES Omnibus Vol. 1 A-L and its current KickStarter campaign. Detailing his love for the NES, as well as what makes the book different from its competition, Weiss explains why the tome is a love letter to the console.

Find out more at his Kickstarter, here.

Review Fix: Why is the NES special to you?

Brett Weiss: My older brother got the console for me for Christmas of 1987. I was floored. A parent-level gift from a sibling! I was still playing Atari, Intellivision, and ColecoVision at the time, so I didn’t think I needed an NES, but boy was I wrong. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and playing with Super Mario Bros. There was nothing even remotely like it previously. The cartoon graphics, expansive levels, freedom of movement, excellent controls, and secrets and surprises were amazing at the time. Over the next few years, I got Batman, Castlevania, Contra, Double Dragon, and countless other great games. I still love the console, and it was great playing the heck out of it while working on the NES Omnibus. So nostalgic!

Review Fix: What makes this book different than your other ones?

Weiss: It’s actually similar to the books in the SNES Omnibus two-volume set: gameplay info, history, data, reviews, nostalgic stories, and the like, but I think it will be better in terms of layout and what photos to use because I learned a lot working on the SNES books. The publisher actually does the layouts, but I have a lot of input. Compared to my Classic Home Video Games books, the Omnibus books have much better production values: color photos, slick pages, large format, hardcover binding, etc.

Review Fix: How do you think it stacks up with other NES books of the same style?

Weiss: Much more in-depth. The NES Omnibus Vol. 1 A-L will have well over 220,000 words. Each game gets at least one full page of text and images, which is why it has to be spread over two books. Full coverage for every game, no matter how mainstream or obscure. In addition to box art and screenshots, there are ads from vintage magazines. These are really colorful and fun to see after so many years. There are quotes from classic magazines as well, giving you an idea of how the games were received at the time. More importantly, many of the game entries have supplemental nostalgic stories by industry pros, authors, programmers, popular YouTubers, and the like. My readers LOVE these types of stories in the SNES Omnibus, and they will be sure to love them in this book as well. Plus, the book has a professional publisher, the highly respected Schiffer Publishing. This doesn’t really affect the content—they give me free reign what to write and what stories and art to include—but it does affect production values. The pages are top-notch, and the binding is super durable.

Review Fix: What was the hardest part of putting this all together?

Weiss: The sheer exhaustion of editing and fact-checking so much content, both the game synopses that I write and the stories submitted by contributing writers. It’s a blast to read those stories, though. This is a professionally published work, so there are no shortcuts. Not that I would want there to be any. I work as hard as I can to produce a quality book.

Review Fix: What else did you learn through this all?

Weiss: That video games mean much more to people than simple entertainment. I already knew this on some level, of course, but the stories submitted for this book, and for the SNES Omnibus books, illustrate this exceptionally well. Stories about beating a particularly hard game, renting games on Friday night with the family, bonding with friends after school over certain games, playing a game to get through a particularly rough patch in your life, such as the death of a loved one. Gaming can be life-affirming and life-altering, as many of the stories show.  

Review Fix: How would you like this book to be remembered?

Weiss: As a testament to the greatness of the NES and what it has meant to so many people who work in the industry as authors, journalists, programmers, store owners, and the like. Also, as a book that is super fun for fans to pick up and peruse again and again. It also works as a great reference tool if you want to know whether you should buy a particular game, or if you just want to know what a particular game is all about. I want people to keep it out on their coffee table or at least visible in their game room so friends and family can check it out. It’s basically a window back in time to an amazing era of gaming: the mid-late ’80s and early ’90s.

Review Fix: What makes the Kickstarter different than other book crowd-funders?

Weiss: Backers get their name in a professionally published book that will stand the test of time. There are some neat perks, such as stickers, buttons, and desktop wallpaper. I haven’t really done merch outside of books before, so these things will be a first for fans of my work. 100 of the books will be numbered and signed. The top tier reward is interesting: meeting me at a certain video game mecca in the Dallas area, where I will give a personal guided tour for the backer and up to four of their friends and family members. There are only five of these rewards, and it’s going to be a total blast! 

Review Fix: What’s next?

Weiss: The NES Omnibus: The Nintendo Entertainment System and Its Games, Volume 1 (A–L) will be out in December of 2020, but you can back it now on Kickstarter. At least go over to the Kickstarter page and watch the video. It’s pretty cool:

The second volume covering M-Z will be out in the spring of 2021.

After that, I’m either going to do an Omnibus for another console or maybe a sequel to The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987. I’d also like to update Encyclopedia of KISS, my book about the famous rock band. 

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

Weiss: If you’re a retro gamer, I think you’ll enjoy my books and YouTube channel. I’ve been at this a long time, as a journalist, author, and fan. I’ve been gaming since 1975, turned 10 when the Atari 2600 and Star Wars came out, began writing professionally in 1997, and started working on my first book in 2006. I’m now up to 11 books and counting.

If you’d like to subscribe to my channel, go here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/BrettWeissRetroGamer

And you can order signed books direct from me here:

https://brettweiss.square.site/

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About Patrick Hickey Jr. 12726 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late Examiner.com. He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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