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Q & A with Ryan Molloy

bonus features:
alternate ending to Barry Graham's "Bad Beat" by Blake Butler

"Owen Morris's Other Creativity Games (to date)" by Dave Madden

deleted scene from Mary Miller's "Pearl"

behind the scenes:

First off, I left the interpretation of "games" pretty open, and you were one of a couple of people to take it in the video game direction. That's R.C. Pro-Am for the NES, no? Why that game? And I'm curious... did you have to do any online searching or anything to recall the look of the game or is it that burned into your brain?

RC Pro Am for the NES is correct. Not counting Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros, which came with the system, it was the first game I owned, purchased with leftover Hanukkah money. RC Pro Am is a video game equivalent of crack. It lures you in with the slightest chance that there might be an ending and the reward of a winner screen with some credits rolling by, but you never get that. Instead you a rewarded with the same levels repeated endlessly with increasingly tougher opponents. I spent hours and days playing this game so that it is burnt into my memory.

I stayed away from looking online for reference, I remember there were 3 types of cars with black windows, windy tracks, rockets, wrenches, trees, arrows, and trophies with gears and tools on them. Once I finished the illustration the desire to play was overwhelming. I went to the wii shop online to see if it was released on virtual console, but it was not there. I ended up finding some emulator site online which had it, then spent about 4 hours that day playing it (it sucks using the keyboard).

Any new discoveries, thoughts, commentary after having played it again recently? How long had it been? Do you think you initially would have become as addicted as you did if you'd had to play with the keypad instead of the NES controller (Steven Seighman drew video game controllers and I am asking him about them)?

New discovery: I am not as good as I used to be (I did manage to make it at least 24 levels in before losing, there's something to that I hope). I played it about 4 years ago on a friends NES that he bought at a garage sale, but the cartridge was buggy so it would freeze on us after only playing a few minutes. We tried all the old tricks to make cartridges work: blowing on it, putting it halfway in, putting it at a slight angle to where it barely would shut... nothing worked.

Seighman's controller drawings are pretty great. I would like to think that I would not have played as long as I did if it were on a keyboard. There was something nice to the NES controller, 2 buttons and a directional pad. Although as I just typed that I thought back to the days of the Commodore 64 which I spent lots of hours on some stupid game called Space Taxi, it used the keyboard (check it out on good old youtube, (not to be confused with this Space Taxi). I also spent lots of hours on the classic Mac playing this game called Glider where you guided a paper airplane across a room (apparently there was a NES version too). So who really knows, I might have ended up still playing RC Pro Am endlessly no matter what. Its a simple game which makes it fun.

I think a lot of video games fall into two categories for me when growing up -- those I played all the time by myself, trying to master; and those that I played with friends, that were more of a community event. Would you have a similar grouping/categorization and, if so, where would Pro-Am fall?

I played both by myself in attempt to master it and with some of my friends (mostly neighborhood kids). As a community effort we tried to beat the game by taking turns, pausing it when called off to dinner, or when one of us had to go home. It didn't seem to help much as it did when we would trade off the cartridge and build levels in Final Fantasy (and other games like Ultima, where you could save). We tried to play a tournament once, but watching 1 person play 20 or so levels is a bit painful.

an "origins" essay behind his Leisure Suit Larry essay by Matt Bell

an old essay about Magic: the Gathering, with new footnotes, by Mike Alber

an essay on noodles, with recipe, by E.P. Chiew

short supplemental stories:
"Picture I Stole from My Lover" by Stefan Kiesbye

"Adam, Jacob, John, Paul" (with baseball card) by Jennifer Pieroni

"Crossing Borders" by Grant Perry

short interviews with the cover artists:
Ryan Molloy

Steven Seighman

David Kramer

more bonus features:
a short story by Fart Party comic artist Julia Wertz

Gene Morgan and Matthew Simmons Discuss Dino Run

Gene Morgan and Matthew Simmons Discuss Ninja Hunter

Gene Morgan and Matthew Simmons Discuss Rose & Camellia