“Perfect!” : Book Review: Galaga By Michael Kimball

Perfect ! A Minimalist Coming Of Age Story By Way Of The Best Golden Age Single Screen Shooter

I recently finished “Galaga” by Michael Kimball, book #4 in the “Boos Fight Books” series, and I’m still kind of giddy from that “high” I get after reading something with which I truly, deeply connect.

I knew nothing of this book or the Boss Fight Series before I found it at the Retro City Festival this past weekend in Pomona, CA. Michael Kimball hits all the right notes for me in this minimalist story centered around one of the best golden age arcade games ever made: Galaga. The book is separated into 256 chapters, and structured a bit like a Gen-X Moby Dick, with “dry” historical details and playing tips mixed into an affecting coming-of-age story. The book is at once: artistic, poetic, and to borrow a phrase from Galaga itself “Perfect !” …for me anyway. After looking at some of the reviews Amazon, it’s maybe not for everyone.  I feel sorry for those people who don’t “get it”.  One day, maybe they will understand.

The book is short enough to read in one sitting, but its’ impact (at least on me) will be long lasting.  For the past couple years I’ve felt that the era of the “all encompassing video game history book” was coming to an end.   Instead, I believe we will see more and more books like this one:  small personal stories of game enthusiasts and developers who write about games’ affect on themselves and the broader culture.  My generation (X) is just now coming to grips with the “meaning” of video games and their contextual/temporal association with our lives and development. Kimball’s book, and others like GameLife  by Michael Clune should be seen a torch bearers of things to come.

There are many more book in this series, but not many from the Atari Age.   Like most other pop-culture related to video games, “Generation Atari”  gets, for the most part,  left behind.     However,  I love games from alls era so I also picked-up:

  • (1) Earthbound by Ken Baumann
  • (8) Baldur’s Gate II by Matt Bell
  • (17) Katamari Damacy by L.E. Hall
  • (18) Final Fantasy V by Chris Kohler

But the one I’m most interested in is (7) Bible Adventures by Gabe Durham, which I will have to order separately because I did not see it at the show.

You can buy the book here.

You can see the list of other Boss Fight Books Here.

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