Thursday, September 25, 2014

Blue Wizard : Second Impressions

Blue Wizard is about to Die is a book of poems about Video Games by Seth 'Fingers Flynn Barkan.  One thing i didn't say in my first impressions of this book is that these poems are pretty much EXACTLY what I'm going for with this blog.  Or, at least, with a lot of what I've written.  Particularly the memory posts.  The visceral, the nostalgia, the sense of memory, of childhood daydreams.  Teen Angst and vulgarity.   It's all in this book.  Really quite remarkable.

Video games are a refuge, but they were also a calling.  When I was young, many days there wasn't anything I'd rather be doing than playing an awesome video game.  And then other times, they were a way to escape when the rest of the world seemed shitty.

It should be noted that, while much of the spirit of this book is right on the marker, by now, I've really noticed a divergence from my own experience. First off, Flynn Barkan has a much deeper connection to arcade games than I do.  While I played plenty of arcades at the bowling alley, pizza places or TILT, our former Mall Hangout, I never got particularly good at any arcade games.  I just didn't have the time, the funds, or the skill.  

I've never considered myself to be a particularly skilled video game player.  I enjoy competing at games like Goldeneye, Mario Kart or even Street Fighter II, but I regularly have my ass handed to me by friends like Cortez, and later ZorTheRed or Ghost.   I'm not the worst, but I'm certainly not the best.  This, I learned early on.  The author of Blue Wizard, on the other hand, spends some time illustrating his expertise at various arcade games.  Additionally, he gets pretty lifestyle-gritty.  Smoking, doing drugs, that kind of thing.  Things that I don't associate with nostalgiac video game good times.

Finally, in this entire book (complete with citations and a list of the best games ever - nice to read)  He mentions an RPG all of once.  Well there you go.  That's the difference.  While I enjoy action games as much as the next guy, I also have spent equal amounts of time just playing RPG games.  RPGs made up a significant piece of the game-times pie that I baked for myself.  This is a portion of gaming not at all represented in Blue Wizard is about to Die. 

So, after the novelty wears off, I see that this author and myself are really quite different.  However, I don't think this is a bad thing.  Actually, it's a good thing!  A testimate to the variety of gamer identities out there.  And I don't have to like everything he does to appreciate his work. Which I do!  And I think you will too.   



  1. Sounds like a good read, sad that it's not available as an eBook, but that's a problem I can easily get over.

    I've noticed that people growing up around the same time as we did can fit into a couple of categories when it comes to nostalgic video games. You have the people like us who were primarily console gamers with dabbling into arcade games and a bit into PC gaming; then you have people who were all about PC gaming and then people who grew up in arcades. I don't know if this means anything or what the specific reasoning behind said observations is, just that I've haphazardly noticed they exist. I'm sure I could expound a bit, but maybe I'll leave that for another time.

  2. Is epub not the format of ebooks?

  3. Yes, yes it is. And if I had remembered about how you acquired said book in your first impressions post, that would have clued me in.