Seeking Holy Arcade Grails with Author Sean Newton

Grail Hunting

You may remember that the The GameRoom Blog talked with Sean Newton last year about his excellent book Bits, Sticks, and Buttons.

Well Sean has a new book coming out soon and wanted to give us the exclusive scoop on it. So here goes…

 Sean thanks for talking with me today. I take it the new book is related to arcade games somehow? Do you have a title already in place?

You got it, Kevin. Another book about arcade games. However this time around I focus on the most prized, highly sought after, and fan-cherished rarities found in the hobby.

Fifty identifiable classics with another 30 or so more games mentioned throughout this book. Some people call them jewels. I call them grails. In fact, the title of this book is Grails. The Cool, the Rare, and the Obscure of Arcade Games.

 I like it. Great idea. This is something I have not seen before. Do you want to share a few of the games that we might be seeing in the book?

Expect games that have been lost through time. These titles may not have sold thousands of units like Pac-ManAsteroids, or Defender, but they nevertheless have become a staple in most mainstream collector’s hearts.

Readers will be able to get a light-hearted look at such beloved classics like BurgertimeComputer SpaceCosmic Chasm, and Tapper.

Like the last book, I have a mission to fulfill to the reader: to give them a look into our hobby without all the overly indulgent mumbo-jumbo of an encyclopedia. I give it to the reader hard and fast.

A perfect balance between what you need to know about these icons to what you need to see for a proper presentation befitting a good coffee-table book.

 Burgertime is one of my all time favorites — even though it still to this day totally murders me. I still have trouble just getting past the second level. Those classics were so darned tough!

Since you are focusing on obscure and rare games —  I take it that it may have been tough to get information or pictures for some of them. Was there one game that stood out as being particularly tough for you to include in the book for one reason or another?

Most everybody in the community has been real generous with supplying photos and information on some of these titles.

Like the first book, I wanted to have the collectors themselves show the reader their games and add their own two cents on what made them so sought-after.

A few of the titles have become quite troublesome to isolate for decent pictures. War of the WorldsSundance, and Aztarac were all note worthy for their unreachable photos. Luckily, I was able to find a few collectors who would at least offer up standard photos of their cabinets standing solo for the page.

 What did you learn from creating and marketing your first book that changed your approach to this second title?

Creatively, I learned that there are several tricks to take advantage of available layering templates. By maximizing the total number of photo layers, I’ve definitely been able to give some sporadic page layouts a much more filled-in appearance.

Probably the number one tool I am utilizing this time around for marketing the book is…well…marketing the book.

The first go around, I didn’t let the cat out of the bag until the week it was released. Then, only after it came out did I agree to appear on podcasts, web shows, and interviews for the book.

For the second book, I tried to alert the community far in advance for the new project.

 So what is your favorite game room gem?

If we’re strictly talking about the games listed in this book, then I’d have to lean toward the EDOT. (That’s an Environmental Discs of Tron).

It’s probably the biggest, most flamboyant use of all things awesome to attack a player’s senses both before and during game play. Looks too cool to own. Seems like something a gamer can only dream about.

 That’s a great pick. Mine would have to be House of the Dead 4 Special or maybe Galaxian 3.

Fans of the Galaxian Theater will be happy to know that at least Starblade made the cut of fan-favorites. It has a rather huge cult following.

 I know you are still working on it. Do you have any rough ideas of pricing or a when it might be available?

Still looking to be ready by the end of May. It’ll be released thru Blurb again, so the price is fixed at around $36 for the soft cover.

 Thanks Sean for talking with us and giving us the exclusive preview. The book sounds great.

If you want to learn more about Sean and his previous book check out our last interview.

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