64 of 64

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64 of 64

Postby Flack » April 24th, 2010, 4:58 pm

I love writing game reviews, and I came up with this concept several years ago. Again, "64 of 64" is not the final title; it's more of a description.

The concept of this book was/is that it would contain sixty-four separate reviews of Commodore 64 games. I spent several months and consulted a couple of online forums to help me generate the final list of games. Ultimately I got it whittled down to 32 great games and 32 terrible ones, so the idea was that each review would alternate.

In college I spent a lot of time using PageMaker and I really wanted to put out a book that had interesting layouts. The problem with self-publishing these kinds of books is that they are crazy expensive. A full-color coffee table book would cost me somewhere between $50-$60 just to print it, and I don't think anyone would pay that for a coffee table book full of video game reviews. I know I wouldn't.

Eventually I came up with the idea of putting it out as a PDF, either for pay or for free, I haven't decided. Any time you mention putting out a book of game reviews, people always chime in with, "there are a million video game reviews out there on the web for free, nobody will pay for yours." That's probably a good point. I've never written any of my books with making money in mind. If I write this one and put it out for free, so be it. What do they call that, a loss leader or something?

Here were a couple of "proof of concept" reviews and layouts I did. The Law of the West one is closer to what I originally had in mind.

http://www.robohara.com/64/LawOfTheWest.pdf
http://www.robohara.com/64/Transformers.pdf

I'd say the odds of this one getting completed are 8/10. I will most likely finish it this year. It's just hard moving forward too hard on a project that has essentially no market.
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby Gapporin » April 26th, 2010, 1:15 am

Good Lord, Law Of The West is one of my Top 10 all time favorite C64 games. Fun fact: There was a Japanese-only version released for the Famicom. I may have mentioned this before. It's 1AM and I should not be allowed anywhere near the Internet.

I like the idea of game reviews, and I've tried writing them with some regularity before (i.e. personal blog, webzine) but I feel like I tend to sound like a broken record. I appreciate each game (or album) on its own merits, so I hardly have any bad words to say about either. I'm a bit more critical of movies because I'm not a huge movie watcher in the first place.
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby Flack » April 26th, 2010, 6:45 am

I wrote music reviews for an online website for a few years and you're right, it's easy to fall into a formulaic rut. When reviewing "bad" albums, I'll always find something good to say; likewise, when reviewing "good" albums, I'll always find something they could have improved on. I started doing the same thing with game reviews for a while, which is when I took a break from cranking them out so regularly. You know you're falling into a rut when you can write and pretty much finish a game review before you've played the game, and that's no good.

One good thing about doing reviews from the game pool (ie: C64 game reviews) is that you can do away with the pleasantries. You don't need to put the C64 into context, or explain the machine's graphics and sound capabilities ... you can do all that in a forward and then just focus on each game.
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby hexcrass » April 26th, 2010, 1:27 pm

I'd be really into reading a c64 review book. Hopefully you'll review that one game that was like the best c64 game ever that I can't remember the name of...you know the one with the little dude exploring a deep cave full of demons! :lol:
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby Flack » June 11th, 2010, 10:06 am

Montezuma's Revenge? H.E.R.O.? I'm not sure, but it sounds like a game I would play!

I need to research more about how to write books in an "ePub-friendly" format. PDF is okay if that's what people are reading. I think this book really lends itself to an online/digital distribution model, something with bright colors and stuff that people could read electronically.
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby le geek » July 15th, 2010, 9:06 am

I still think you could look into doing a print copy through Blurb as well, even if it would be in black and white...
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby Flack » June 23rd, 2011, 8:43 am

I've been trying to come up with a better name for this book. Once I get the name down, serious work will commence on it. What I need are two things that are opposites, but that also somehow relate to the Commodore, or computers, or games, or something. Again, the theme is, the book will have 32 good reviews and 32 bad reviews, so in the back of mine I've always been thinking "Heaven and Hell" or something like that. Other ideas included Hot and Cold, Yin and Yang, etc. Whatever I pick also has to have some sort of graphical element to it. For example, I was thinking "Good Fish, Bad Fish" or something, where the good games would have a little picture of a happy fish and the bad ones would have a dead one. Fisher of Games?

Right now I've been thinking about Entertainment or Death, and putting the comedy/tragedy masks on the front and using them throughout the book. The only real problem with this is, Motley Crue used that line ("entertainment or death") on their Theater of Pain album, which also had the masks on the cover. Too similar?

Any input is appreciated.
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby AArdvark » June 23rd, 2011, 5:17 pm

I would pay fifty bucks for a coffee table book of C64 game reviews. Ever stand in line at Barnes & Noble? Infested with oversize books about the STUPIDEST stuff. This would be classy! When is Commodork 2 coming out? I want the hardcover....



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Re: 64 of 64

Postby ubikuberalles » June 24th, 2011, 10:46 am

Maybe some brainstorming on titles will loosen up some of your creative juices. I don't expect you to use the titles I put forth, but rather inspire you to come up with alternative titles or feel better about the title you selected. You like that dichotomy thing so that's the theme of most of my ideas.

"Video Games or Death"
"C64 or Death"
"Awesome Games or Death"
"C64 Reviews: The Good, the Bad, and the Fugly."
"C64 Games: A Blessing and a Curse"
"The study of the Dichotomy of C64 games: Awesome vs. Suckitude"
"C64 Games: 32 Games to Play and 32 Games to Avoid"
"C64 Games: What to Play and What to Avoid"
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby Flack » June 24th, 2011, 2:18 pm

AArdvark wrote:I would pay fifty bucks for a coffee table book of C64 game reviews. Ever stand in line at Barnes & Noble? Infested with oversize books about the STUPIDEST stuff. This would be classy! When is Commodork 2 coming out? I want the hardcover....


I just checked Lulu, and for a 138 page book in full color, they're charging $42.50/book. That's the manufacturing cost. I could sell those for $50 -- of the remaining $7.50, Lulu would keep 20% ($1.50) which would leave me with $6. I'd have to figure out a new shipping method.

I suspect I could get it printed much cheaper locally. I just don't know how MANY I would have to order. It's a scary time to be investing a lot of money into dead paper ...
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby Flack » November 18th, 2011, 10:46 am

I don't have my Commodore hooked up in the new house yet, but I have a spot for it and I started working on this project again.
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby Ice Cream Jonsey » December 2nd, 2011, 8:29 pm

DIGITAL SPOCK'S BEARD BY ROB O'HARA
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby le geek » February 13th, 2012, 5:01 pm

Flack wrote:I just checked Lulu, and for a 138 page book in full color, they're charging $42.50/book. That's the manufacturing cost. I could sell those for $50 -- of the remaining $7.50, Lulu would keep 20% ($1.50) which would leave me with $6. I'd have to figure out a new shipping method.


How about Blurb?

Here is the pricing for a SNES book that I wrote a few articles for with a bit of a profit margin...
http://www.gamespite.net/toastywiki/ind ... OfContents

Black-and-white paperback ($16)
Black-and-white hardcover ($38)
Full-color paperback ($38)
Full-color hardcover ($60)

B+W would be an easy purchase, plus you'd have the color, for the C= nutjobs out there (i.e. me)
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby Flack » June 22nd, 2012, 1:43 pm

So I've been working on this a bit, and I have a question for you all. No matter what you say, you won't hurt my feelings. If I don't get any feedback here, I'll take it to Facebook/Twitter later.

The whole idea of this book was to contain Commodore game reviews. 64 in all, 32 for good games and 32 for bad ones. The good reviews are of games like, oh, Archon. Archon's a good game, and fun, and you can say a lot of good things about it and recommend it. then the other 32 would be about terrible games, and I would have a lot of fun skewering them.

The more I work on it, I see that the bad ones are a lot more fun to write. And I'm wondering, does anybody care about the good reviews? You can find lists of recommended Commodore 64 games anywhere on the Internet. The good reviews are simply game reviews. The bad reviews are the funny ones.

So now, and maybe I'm second guessing myself, but I'm thinking maybe the book would be better with just 64 bad video game reviews.

What do you guys think?
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby ubikuberalles » June 22nd, 2012, 3:20 pm

Review books about video games are a dime a dozen. If you want your book to stand out then you need to make it unique somehow. A book that does nothing but trashes games might work if you make it funny enough. It's all about the writing and making it interesting to the reader.

If you can apply just as much humor on a review about a good game than I think you would on a review about a bad game, than the 32/32 approach will work. However, I think that will be harder to do humor well on a good game. Trashing something is so easy and fun. Sounds like you won't be enjoying funny reviews about good games.

With that in mind I say, yes, go for the trashing of bad games. At the very least you'll have a consistent writing style throughout the book. With a 32/32 approach your writing style will switch gears every time you switch from good to bad games and vice versa. Harder to read. You might get away with it if all the good reviews were in the first half of the book and all the bad in the back. The reader would then only switch gears once.
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby obliterator918 » June 22nd, 2012, 5:06 pm

Write 64 reviews of Transformers.

Seriously though, I would read it either way. I have the Commodore 64 Book which is basically "all this was great" and it was enjoyable to read (even considering the overdone production and too-busy backgrounds/fonts/etc). A book of 64 worst would be enjoyable. Certainly it sounds like more work reviewing the "great" games.
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby Kid Ice » June 23rd, 2012, 12:31 am

I think you should do 64 good games, and then an appendix of maybe a dozen or so of the worst. I don't think bad games should get half the space.

If I were put to the task I could name 100+ good c64 games. The other 1900 are bad. Of those 1900 maybe 25 are bad in an interesting way. The rest are just blah.
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Re: 64 of 64

Postby Flack » January 8th, 2013, 5:08 pm

I decided to go with the bad reviews (for now), with possibly a sequel of 64 good ones. A title popped into my head last night: "64 Bites". One of my new year's resolutions is to write every day and I have been. I'm waking up every day at 5:30am to write for an hour before work. My goal is to have this done by the end of March.
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