Paperback Book Ads FROM Paperback Books

I found the Fighting Fantasy Books on Kindle, but I still wanted a hard copy for old time’s sake. So I ordered a first-printing Deathtrap Dungeon, the printing I had checked out from the library as a kid and still remembered today. When it arrived today, I was surprised to find it was much thinner than I remembered. I guess I have grown over the years and things don’t look as big to me as they did then. I was also surprised and delighted to find advertisements for other books in the back. Paperback books, particulary of the horror/sci-fi variety (i.e., the variety I read) had ads in the back for other books. I almost never saw these books outside of these advertisements; I was limited to what the library had back then, so if the library didn’t get it, neither did I. But I always liked seeing them advertised, seeing that there was more excitement and adventure to be had out there. Here’s the ads I found in Deathtrap Dungeon:

American Scary

Netflix’s suggestions are usually nothing more than jokes. Yes, I watched Primeval, but in what universe does that mean I might also like Downton Abbey? But Netflix finally made good last night. It suggested a little documentary called American Scary.

American Scary is about our country’s rich tradition of horror hosts. It covers such VHF luminaries as Ghoulardi, Svengoolie, Vampira, Elvira, and Zacherley. Not only are these hosts and more in the documentary, but there are also interviews with Leonard Maltin (who appeared to be sitting in the same chair he inhabited in The Sci-Fi Boys), Tim Conway, Tom Savini, Patricia Tallman (drool), Joel Hodgson, Commander USA (out of uniform, unfortunately), and Neil Gaiman. Gaiman was even shown hosting a short Halloween special of his own. Big Chuck and Lil’ John also make an appearance, and there is a discussion on the abnormal abundance of Ohio horror hosts that I (being a Columbus boy) greatly appreciated. I imagined that Claymation Werewolf and Drahken would like that part as well. The only problem? They didn’t mention my two favorite hosts: Fritz the Nite Owl (who probably would have fit into their “Normal Guys” category) and Moana (an Elvira rip-off from Pittsburg we had for about a year on WTTE). How could they have missed them when they spent so much time on Ohio? I have no clue.

If you can forgive that oversight, you can see American Scary on either Netflix Instant, Hulu, or YouTube.

The Art of Video Games at Smithsonian through Sept. 30

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is hosting an exhibit showcasing the art of the video game now through Sept. 30.

The Smithsonian Web site describes the exhibit:

Video games are a prevalent and increasingly expressive medium within modern society. In the forty years since the introduction of the first home video game, the field has attracted exceptional artistic talent. An amalgam of traditional art forms—painting, writing, sculpture, music, storytelling, cinematography—video games offer artists a previously unprecedented method of communicating with and engaging audiences.

The Art of Video Games is one of the first exhibitions to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies. It features some of the most influential artists and designers during five eras of game technology, from early pioneers to contemporary designers. The exhibition focuses on the interplay of graphics, technology and storytelling through some of the best games for twenty gaming systems ranging from the Atari VCS to the PlayStation 3. Eighty games, selected with the help of the public, demonstrate the evolution of the medium. The games are presented through still images and video footage. In addition, the galleries will include video interviews with twenty developers and artists, large prints of in-game screen shots, and historic game consoles. Chris Melissinos, founder of Past Pixels and collector of video games and gaming systems, is the curator of the exhibition.

The list of games at the exhibit can be found here. The games selected were decided by popular vote and a few games represent different gaming consoles. There are 60 games on display for educational purposes and a few that are playable.

Gargoyles! They’re coming for you!

There aren’t very many made for tv movies that make it into my favorites list but 1972’s “Gargoyles” will always be included. As a kid growing up in the 70s I could not wait for Friday nights to arrive. One of the 2 (that’s right two) tv channels we received featured a scary movie at 10:30 every Friday. I would plop myself down on the floor in front of our Zenith 25 inch color console and watch until my eyelids refused to stay open. “Gargoyles” featured some pretty good makeup effects by a young Stan Winston who would go on to much bigger and better things. The movie is out of print I believe but there is was a very good copy of it on youtube.