“Perfect!” : Book Review: Galaga By Michael Kimball

Perfect ! A Minimalist Coming Of Age Story By Way Of The Best Golden Age Single Screen Shooter

I recently finished “Galaga” by Michael Kimball, book #4 in the “Boos Fight Books” series, and I’m still kind of giddy from that “high” I get after reading something with which I truly, deeply connect.

I knew nothing of this book or the Boss Fight Series before I found it at the Retro City Festival this past weekend in Pomona, CA. Michael Kimball hits all the right notes for me in this minimalist story centered around one of the best golden age arcade games ever made: Galaga. The book is separated into 256 chapters, and structured a bit like a Gen-X Moby Dick, with “dry” historical details and playing tips mixed into an affecting coming-of-age story. The book is at once: artistic, poetic, and to borrow a phrase from Galaga itself “Perfect !” …for me anyway. After looking at some of the reviews Amazon, it’s maybe not for everyone.  I feel sorry for those people who don’t “get it”.  One day, maybe they will understand.

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Bonus Podcast: A Trip To The Retro City Festival In Pomona, CA

Summary:

In this Bonus podcast between Season 1 and Season 2, Steve takes his family to the Retro City Festival in Pomona, CA .Mild, family friendly hijinks ensue.

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S1:E10 Christmas In The Vertical Blank

S1:E10 Christmas In The Vertical Blank

S1:E10: Christmas In The Vertical Blank

n this season 1 finale, the Fulton brothers discuss the early years of Atari and Christmas, culminating in a Christmas story that ties a bow on a few of the previous stories and themes from this season. There are also some surprises, weird occurances, and awkwardness. Lots and lots of awkwardness. What were you expecting?

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s1:e9: The Weird Family Thanksgiving In the Vertical Blank

s1:e9: The Weird Family Thanksgiving In the Vertical Blank

In the penultimate episode of season one of Into The Vertical Blank, travel back to Thanksgiving holidays of the past to find out how pop culture,  games and Atari fit into The Vertical Blank.    This episode features a story by Steve Fulton named “The Weird Family” and Story by Jeff Fulton named “4 Days In November”

 

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Into The Vertical Blank S1:E8: The Bronze Age Of Arcade Games

S1:E8:  The Bronze Age  of Arcade Video Games

In this episode Steve and Jeff discuss their favorite games and memories of the Bronze Age of arcade video games, a period that spans 1971 (pong) to 1978 (Space Invaders).  The pair talk about what was special about those games, and why they matter today. Also included: new music by Jeff, Atari Haiku, a remix by Jeff, and brand-new story by Steve named “Sharpshooter”.

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Into The Vertical Blank: Generation Atari S1:E7 – Playing Together, Side By Side

This episode takes a slightly more personal turn as twin brother hosts Jeff and Steve Fulton tell stories and relive memories of playing together in both analog and digital ways  in the 1970’s. The episode includes an original non-fiction story by Steve Fulton titled “Big Mouse And Little Mouse 1.0”. This episode also features an interview with Jamie Lendino about his book “Adventure: The Atari VCS At The Dawn Of Console Gaming”.  

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Into The Vertical Blank: Generation Atari S1:E6 – Interfaces are where two worlds collide

Into The Vertical Blank: Generation Atari S1:E6 – Interfaces are where to worlds collide

The only thing from the 80’s that could rival our love for Atari was our love for punk rock and new wave, and especially, our favorite band: The Alarm.  In 1987 those two things combined in an unexpected way. So unexpected in fact, that we were only able to fully understand impact of those two world’s clashing more than 30 years later.  This episode documents that journey to understanding.

In 1987 we gave up the “Little Blue Desktop ” of Atari 800 DOS for the Little Green Desktop of the Atari 520 ST.  At that exact moment in time, the music industry was changing dramatically from one that used mostly analog recording practices to adding digital instruments and recording methods into the Studio. The ATARI (ubiquitously known without the ST) mostly in studios was the cheapest, most accurate sequencer on the market.

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Time Bandit

Atari Play field – Atari ST games #1 : Michtron.

Note: (This article was originally written by me – Jeff Fulton – in 2009 for the Retrogaming Times online magazine. The article does not show up anywhere in their archives anymore, so to make sure it is not lost forever, i am putting it here again. It might lead to new articles about ST games)
Atari Play field – Atari ST games #1 : Michtron.

This series of articles will specialize in chronicling the history of games for both the Atari 8-bit and ST (as well as STE, TT, and Falcon) line of computers. In this edition we will cover the very early ST game developer, Michtron.  The goal is to eventually cover all of the major and many of the smaller (some forgotten) releases along the way. Where I can find interviews with the developers and original magazine converge I will make sure to at least quote them to give some context to the games. Finally, if possible, I will re-play each game via emulation and discuss how they stack up with my memories, other games on the system, and games of the era in general.

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S1:E5: All Appointments Life (Asteroids Part 2 )

Into The Vertical Blank: Generation Atari Season 1, Episode 5: All Appointments Life (Asteroids Part 2 )

This is the second episode where we will be covering the game Asteroids in story and discussion form. We have a story from 8bitjeff, and also very nice contributions Shinto, and Jim Fullerton.

The discussion dives into versions of Asteroids (and clones) after the arcade 2600, 5200 and Vectrex. These the Atari 7800, ST, Lynx, and various versions released for more modern hardware.

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S1:E4: Escape To The Asteroids Zone :Part 1

Into The Vertical Blank: Generation Atari Season 1, Episode 4:  Escape To The Asteroids Zone : Part 1

Into The Vertical Blank: Generation Atari Season 1, Episode 4: Escape To The Asteroids Zone Part 1.

In Part One of our two-part extravaganza,  we delve into the that game forms the backdrop of The Vertical Blank: Asteroids. We discuss our experiences with  Atari’s best selling coin-op and discover why this game, in particular, means so much to us. This episode includes a story written by Steve Fulton named, appropriately enough, “Escape To The Asteroids Zone”

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