A Page from Donald F. Glut’s Notebook

A friend of mine became friends with Donald F. Glut (DFG), a proflic writer of many cartoons (Transformers) from the ’80s and nonfiction dinosaur books. He also wrote the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back. Well, somehow my friend was able to have a number of original notes and sketches sent to him by DFG. When he originally posted this on facebook, I commented on how awesome it was and how I wanted to see them once he had them in his possession.

He did one better. He must have contacted DFG before he received the pages, as one of the pages had a personalized message added to me reading “To Dave – A ‘True Fan’! Donald Glut 5/15/12.” That page was then forwarded to me. Holy Crap! I never thought I’d own a piece of Star Wars history like this. On reflection the page is “damaged” now that it’s been signed, but since it’s just going to in a frame (I gotta find a two-sided one) and be in my house, it doesn’t matter in the end.

I’ve attempted to decipher the handwriting, but can’t read numerous parts of his handwriting. Below is my best efforts, but it is incomplete. Included are (…) at points I couldn’t translate. I’ve included some high resolution scans of the pages themselves, so if anyone is better at reading some of this handwriting, e-mail me at gamergoinggrey@gmail.com and let me know of what I can update. Hopefully with a bit of crowdsourcing, we can have both sides of this notebook page entirely translated for the fans.

Empire Strikes Back Notebook page 2

Page 1:

[sketch of Boba Fett] Bobba Fett – goes (…) like

[sketch of Wampa] Wampa – body like Gorilla – about twice as tall as Luke or (…)

[sketch Vader’s Chamber] glow from inside – opens + closes – Mech “(…) descend from Top – Medidation cubicule like jaws – guy who approaches Vader (…)

Vader’s droid near end (…) ugly body + tall pointy head (as tall as Vader)

Han being tortured (sketch of stick figure) 45 [degree angle] – wearing jacket –

-When unwashed, Vader has studded leather hood around neck

Luke in x-wing speeder wears helmet w/ clear visor

Lando’s assistant – bald w/ gadgets clamped over each ear (like transistor radios!) – “Lando’s Aide” – in grey outfit with yellow “balloon” sleeves

Rebels on ice surface (…) fur caps + dark goggles

Imperial Probe Droid

Empire Strikes Back notebook page 1

Page 2:

in med-center – Luke floats all “Hood(…) torture”, (…) w/ (…) or breathing tube attached to his mouth –

other med. droid is shaped like a few (…) w/ appendages atop each other – Luke in shorts – tank is (…)

[sketch of bacta chamber] tubes

(…). Droid (…) – parent (…)

Luke has (…) scar on R. cheek + around right eye R. nostril – sitting up on bed, his back braced

Luke Trench is long + veers off in long directions

Bounty hunters as (…) ;

1) armored, human w/ bandages (face shows thru) like (…)

2) dark-colored, large (…), one eye

3) tall, lizardlike head + hands, (…), real tall

[sketch of Yoda] – bald – heavily-lidded eyes – flash (…)? Yoda

[sketch of snowtrooper] Stormtrooper w cold protection

[some crossed out unreadable stuff]

 


Gamer Going Grey – Maximum Carnage

In the second video in the Gamer Going Grey series, I take a look at Maximum Carnage for the Super Nintendo. Is this game by LJN worth playing, or simply one of “those” LJN games.


Gamer Going Grey – Firepower 2000

I’ve finished the first video in my new Gamer Going Grey series. In Episode #01 I review Firepower 2000 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the games that preceded it.


Game Chasing in Rockford, IL

With the disappearance/demise of the Gamewerks locations as reported by WIFR, the city of Rockford has lost a large amount of their retro video games. While Gamewerks did not have the best prices, it was still possible to find a few good deals.

So without this well-known, advertised, go-to place, where else can someone find used games and, more importantly, retro games. I’m already discounting your standard retailers that may dabble in some pre-owned games, like Gamestop, and video rental stores selling old stock. These are simply places that sell used games.

1. Disc Replay, 6241 East State St.

I must start this list with Disc Replay. While it doesn’t always have  the best selection of used games to accompany its music and movies, the prices are usually really good. You can expect to find common NES titles at $2 and just about every retro sports title is down to $1, where it should be. They even have a buy 5, get 1 free deal that you can take advantage of while buying in bulk.

2. Game Worlds, 1516 7th Street & 7830 North 2nd Street, Machesney Park

I can’t speak for the 7th Street location, but the North Main location had a decent selection and even a number of gaming guides as well. Prices seemed fairly standard. One thing I found annoying, though, was the inclusion of a display case full of NES games and accessories that aren’t for sale. At first I thought I had found some uncommon games that I had my eye out for, but that was not to be.

3. Alpine Flea Market, 3291 S Alpine Rd

Your standard indoor/outdoor flea market. None of the inside dealer ever seem to have any video games, but I did find one that had a stack of overpriced NES/SNES titles. The shifting nature of the outdoor deals help add an element of randomness to the search. I found a few common NES games at one point, but it has been mostly used newer games.

4. Sandy Hollow Flea Market, 3913 Sandy Hollow Road

This flea market is much smaller than the Alpine flea market, but there is usually a much greater selection of video games to be found. There’s some that I’d consider small resellers, but they don’t go around snatching up deals from other tables since games aren’t the only wares at their booth. Prices overall range from “You expect me to pay THAT?” to “Sure, let me pay $5 for your copy of Super Metroid.”

5. Goodwills, 4618 East State Street, Rockford, IL & 8010 N. 2nd Street, Machesney Park, IL

There are multiple Goodwills in the Rockford area.  The one on East State Street has yielded nothing but sports titles, but that does include a Genesis retro game as well. The Machesney Park  location had multiple kids games for older Windows systems and I was able to find Turok for the N64 there at one time. This location is also not far from one of the Game Worlds locations, so it would be easy to hit both of them up on a single jaunt.

6. Salvation Army, 4401 Charles Street, Rockford, IL

No luck finding games here yet, but then you never really know with thrift stores. Someone can always donate a box of games today.

 

Well, that’s a good start for this list. In checking the actual addresses for these places using Google I’ve found some additional leads for other resale shops that may potentially have some games for sale. I’ll update this list accordingly to continue to help out fellow retro gamers in finding new games to play and collect.


Star Wars Prequels: The Cultural Lexicon Impact

While the Star Wars prequel trilogy is generally considered inferior to the original, the films have made contributions to the cultural lexicon. The original trilogy did this in spades. Terms such as The Force, Jedi, and Death Star now go beyond the simple descriptions found in the film.

However, beyond the critical panning, the prequels are here to stay. Later this week The Phantom Menace is being re-released to theaters in 3D and it has been 13 years since its initial run in the theaters. In that time every person and their mother have pointed out every single little nitpick possible, so what is left to check out about these films?

The fact that the new film trilogy has been talked about ad nauseum has caused parts of the films to enter into our cultural consciousness.  I’ve picked out four concepts that have far surpassed Star Wars, despite their birth in what are known as sub-par films (I happen to find all three enjoyable in their own right, but I feel I am the minority). I could have done a top 5 list, but I did not want to force the issue just to fill out a nice round “list-friendly” number.

Jar Jar Binks

Yes, the much-maligned Gungan from Phantom Menace. Since 1999, every annoying sidekick character from any film has been compared to Jar Jar Binks, especially if they are rendered in CG. In the film itself, Jar Jar was entirely out of place next to the subdued performances of Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, and Natalie Portman. He will forever be remembered as the single reason that Star Wars was “ruined forever.” One could wonder if the prequels wouldn’t have had such a rocky start if his role was diminished (not including him on the Tatooine scenes, perhaps), or entirely re-written. But, alas, Jar Jar Binks is forever the poster boy for  annoying CG characters.

Midi-chlorians

Did anyone want to know how the force worked before 1999? Weren’t we completely okay with the force being a mysterious “force” that was unexplained, but worked? Well, in The Phantom Menace we were introduced to small life-forms within Jedi cells known as Midi-chlorians that give their symbiote the power of the force.

Talk about over-explaining something. Heck, the Lost writers have referenced midi-chlorians multiple times when fans would keep agonizing over the lack of “answers” through the mysterious show. Sometimes it’s better not to know each and every little detail of a fictional fantasy world. From now on when a science fiction or fantasy author is asked something extremely particular about their created world, they can always fall back on midi-chlorians. Sometimes it’s best not to know.

Padawan

Now this term has proliferated into a more general lexicon than just terms being used to compare or describe literary works. Padawan is starting to be used in everyday life and sometimes even by those who are not big Star Wars fans. It has evolved into a catchall term for a member-in-training.

While at work I was witness to this firsthand. One of my managers was calling a new associate a padawan to trainer associate who was overseeing the new hire. The manager is not a particular nerdy person, but his use of the term made complete sense, at least to me.  I had to explain the term to the other associate, who did not get the reference, but I was amazed the manager would use that sort of reference in a work setting.

Had this been the first time I had heard “padawan” used in everyday life, it would not have had as much weight, but there were also many times in college that the term was used. I forsee “padawan” gaining legs as a word, especially as the younger generation grows and some of their vernacular is integrated into the general language.

Prequel

But prequels have been in existence long before the Star Wars prequels came to the screen, you say. Star Wars didn’t create them, you say.

Sure, the idea of prequels have existed long before the Star Wars prequel trilogy, but how many times did you hear the term in general conversation before the idea of the Star Wars prequels came along. Prequels, for the most part, were not labeled as such. In 1984, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was released. For all intents and purposes, it was a prequel. George Lucas was rumored at this time in first coining the term, but the general public just thought of it as a sequel. Most works of this type were still considered sequels that just happened to take place before the earlier work.

The Star Wars prequels changed all that. Not only did it introduce the term into the cultural lexicon, but prequels were now marketable as popular films. The the years since, prequels have been released every year for every genre. There have been comedy prequels (Dumb & Dumberer) that have been critically panned, as well as critically praised blockbusters (X-men: First Class). The Star Wars prequels was the critical mass that have made the term “prequel” the immediately understood term that it is today.

The Star Wars prequels have left their mark on our society, despite many attempting to forget them. They are still powerful films. They performed strongly at the box office, packing the seats. Even if those movie-goers didn’t fully appreciate the films, they have still been affected by them after all these years.

Personally, I cannot wait to see them in 3D.