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INTERVIEW
D.B. Weiss

D.B. has authored what we believe as the first fictional book about
videogames. "Lucky Wander Boy" tells the tale of Adam Pennyman
obsessed in pursuing the truth about a mysterious coin-op from his
youth, and the trouble that follows his wreckless course of actions.

MT> Lucky Wander Boy is so full of nostalgia and videogame truths that it often seems to be more of a biography than a work of fiction. Was this intentional?
DB> Although I sometimes regret that I haven't done anything as crazy as the things Adam Pennyman does in LWB, the book is all fiction, I'm afraid. Of course, I borrowed some details from the world, because making up every little detail on your own can take a lot of time, and I wanted to get the book out there before 2008. But the way those details are arranged into characters and a story is almost completely fictional.

MT> Would you consider yourself an "Adam Pennyman?" What characteristics do you share with the books main character?
DB> Let's see... I like videogames, although unlike Adam, I like the new ones and the old ones. I sometimes display an obsessive, fetishistic relationship to the things around me, although unlike Adam, I realize the foolishness of this, on a rational level. Like Adam, I'm very interested in Japan. Unlike Adam, I have a healthy and positive relationship with my girlfriend.

MT> Okay, so one day you woke up and decided to write a book. What is the real history of your first endeavor as a professional writer?
DB> Well, that's true, one day I did wake up and decide to write a book -- but that day was probably in 1978, when I was in 4th grade. After that came 5th-12th grade, four years of college, a few years dithering around the fringes of the film industry, a Masters in Irish Literature, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, two or three finished novels, and some screenplays as well. Not everyone takes this long, though. I'm a slow learner.

MT> My favorite idea in the book was when the young Adam Pennyman was convinced that he was prolonging his terminally ill grandmother's life by playing Microsurgeon on his Intellivision. It almost brought tears to my eyes when the console broke and the repair shop couldn't repair the unit in time to save her. What is your favorite part of the tale?
DB> I like that part... but I have to say, the part I'm most proud of is the excerpt from the Lucky Wander Boy script commissioned by Adam's boss. I really think I captured a very specific kind of bad writing there -- the kind that often makes people a lot of money. I could only do it for 5 pages or so, or my head would have imploded.

MT> It has been said that there are no healthy obsessions. When determining the character of Adam Pennyman, why did you choose to create the main character to be flawed on a psychological level?
DB> Because I know lots of reasonably well-adusted and together people, and I know their lives would make extremely dull reading. Psychological flaws usually arise from disjunctions between the way the world is and the (often unrealistic) way we would like it to be, and the actions that spring from those disjunctions make for stories worth telling. Additionally, I thought that Adam's specific flaws were probably familiar to a lot of people.

MT> When creating the gameplay idea of the Lucky Wander Boy coin-op, were you influenced by non-fictional arcade games? Which real coin-op do you think most resembles the fictional Lucky Wander Boy?
DB> The fictional game does share many features with many real games, from Asteroids to Battlezone to Lode Runner and beyond. I'd say the one game that most resembles Lucky Wander Boy, though, is Raiders of the Lost Ark for the Atari. I see now that all the serious classic gamers tend to denigrate that game, but as I remember it, my friends and I were obsessed with beating it.

MT> Was Adam's employer, Portal Entertainment, inspired by any particular company or organization?
DB> "Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author's imagination, or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental."

So... no. I made it all up. Every bit of it. And I don't have any money anyway, so why sue me?

MT> In my youth, my friend David Lewis and I created the "Colecovision Checklist" to help catalogue our games. Did you ever personally have anything similar to the "Catalogue of Obsolete Entertainments" that is featured in Lucky Wander Boy?
DB> I never had anything as detailed as the C.O.E. -- but I think I had something almost identical to your Colecovision checklist, except that it was for Intellivision. I didn't learn to dig deep into the things that occupied my time searching for hidden meanings until later, when I went to college, and I had nothing else to do with my time.

MT> What type of individual do you think will enjoy Lucky Wander Boy the most? For whom did you compose the book?
DB> There are a lot of people who currently play videogames out there... but there are also a lot who played them years ago and don't play them any longer. And there are those who have never played them and will never played them, and don't understand how such a seemingly fruitless activity could mean something to people. I tried to keep all three groups in mind while writing and editing the book -- actually, my editor Kelly Notaras was instrumental in making sure I didn't forget the third group, for which I thank her very much.

Good Deal Games appreciates D.B.'s contribution to classic gaming and feels that
the premiere of quality fictional videogame literature was long overdue.
We recommend this book highly and look forward to a sequel.

Visit the official Lucky Wander Boy Website
e-mail D.B. Weiss



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