Interview | Gabe Durham Talks Boss Fight Books Concept and Kickstarter Campaign

By Jorge Ba-oh 16.06.2013 2

Interview | Gabe Durham Talks Boss Fight Books Concept and Kickstarter Campaign on Nintendo gaming news, videos and discussion
Ever wanted to read up on books about your favourite individual games? Boss Fight Books has the answer. As a new publishing project that's already taken Kickstarter by storm, Boss Fight Books will introduce a library of titles that cover specific games in each installment.

From Earthbound to Galaga, there is already a growing number of games in the pipeline.

Cubed3 caught up with series editor and founder Gabe Durham to discuss the concept in more detail.

Cubed3: Hi Gabe, Please introduce the team at Boss Fight Books to our readers.
Gabe Durham: I'm the founder/series editor, and our authors are Anna Anthropy, Darius Kazemi, Ken Baumann (who also serves as our series designer), Michael Kimball, and Jon Irwin.

Cubed3: Why the name "Boss Fight"?

Gabe Durham: Boss Fight!
(1) I wanted a really recognizable gaming trope that hadn't been taken by another big thing.
(2) It passes the "say it over and over" test:  Boss fight books boss fight books boss fight books.
(3) Boss fights have been around for nearly as long as video games themselves and they will never go away, so they don't imply a certain era the way another title like, say, "Super Game Books 64" would.
(4) Who doesn't love a good boss fight? The music intensifies, the palms begin to sweat, and death feels eminent.

Image for Interview | Gabe Durham Talks Boss Fight Books Concept and Kickstarter Campaign

Cubed3: What game and literary projects have you been involved with in the past?

Gabe Durham: I've been writing consistently since college, and have been publishing my writing online and in print magazines since 2006. I've been the editor of a couple different lit magazines, Keyhole Magazine and Dark Sky Magazine.
My first novel, FUN CAMP, just came out this week, and I've just completed a solid draft of my first nonfiction book, so I'm start to publish essays from that. My game "projects" have until now simply been gaming for my own pleasure.

Image for Interview | Gabe Durham Talks Boss Fight Books Concept and Kickstarter Campaign

Cubed3: Congratulations on the success of the Kickstarter campaign so far! Please explain the concept.
Gabe Durham: Thanks! We're putting out great books about classic video games. In the spirit of the 33 1/3 series (books about music albums), each author-selected book covers a single game.

Cubed3: What areas of these games will the books cover; will they include concept artwork and any developer commentary?
Gabe Durham: The books will be really different from each other. Some will cover development history, some will focus on the experience of playing the game, some will be heavily autobiographical, and some will tell the stories of the communities that have formed around these games. Each cover, designed by Ken Baumann, will feature evocative concept art, while the interiors will focus on text

Image for Interview | Gabe Durham Talks Boss Fight Books Concept and Kickstarter Campaign

Cubed3: The initial selection seems exciting and varied, what are the reasons for these games in particular?

Gabe Durham: These are the games the authors wanted to write about! Some of them came to me with multiple ideas, and we together explored which game would result in the best book. I did insist that these games be really diverse instead of "five books about RPGs!"

I'll admit that by the time I approached Jon Irwin, I said, "I'd love for you to write one of these, and one thing we don't have is a book from one of the major franchises. Would you be interested in tackling one of those?" And he chose Super Mario Bros. 2, which was really exciting to me. He nearly chose Super Metroid, though, and that also would have been amazing.

Image for Interview | Gabe Durham Talks Boss Fight Books Concept and Kickstarter Campaign

Cubed3: The cover art approach is a neat idea, though how hard is it picking the right item(s) to represent a game?
Gabe Durham: Picking objects was a matter of brainstorming between Ken, the author, and I. We asked ourselves, "What are the most iconic objects in this game?" But Ken has high standards for himself, and it took a lot of tinkering for the books to look right to him.
He talks a lot about the fine balance between suggesting an element in the game (good) and an out-and-out recreation of the game (less interesting) and I agree.

Image for Interview | Gabe Durham Talks Boss Fight Books Concept and Kickstarter Campaign

Cubed3: The fan-selected book approach is a great idea; will there be more of these in the future?
Gabe Durham: We'll see! I think it's pretty likely. It's been such a fun way to get readers talking about their favorite games and where they'd like the series to go. Everyone's input has been really valuable and sometimes even poignant. It's such a fun comment thread. But I do love letting the authors pick the games for the rest of the time. I want each author to write the book only he or she can write, not just some "hired gun" glorified Wikipedia entry. The passion's got to be there, or what's the point?

Cubed3: Would there be a chance of fan contributions, say tributes or artwork for these titles?

Gabe Durham: I'd love to! We've got to be careful on our end not stomp on the studios' toes in terms of depicting the games' worlds and characters, but I would love to champion fan art on the web.

Cubed3: What hurdles have you experienced with Boss Fight Books so far - are there potential issues with licensing?
Gabe Durham: Well like I mentioned, we're being careful about images. But free speech dictates that we can all write books about whatever we want. I also think that the developers of these games will recognize that our books will be beneficial to them, their legacy, and maybe even future sales, so we ought to all get along pretty well.

Image for Interview | Gabe Durham Talks Boss Fight Books Concept and Kickstarter Campaign

Cubed3: What are your thoughts on traditional print books versus the advancing eBook/digital medium?

Gabe Durham: We love print books and eBooks. I read both and most people I know do so also, so it was really important to me to offer both. I also think it's really cool when a print book comes with a complimentary digital copy, so the reader has options. You could read the print book at home and the PDF on a slow day at the office. Record labels have been incredibly forward-thinking about this, offering new vinyls that come bundled with a digital download. In 2013, it just makes sense.

Cubed3: What exciting game books and compilations have you most enjoyed reading?

Gabe Durham: My favorite game-related book is Tom Bissell's Extra Lives. I love Anna Anthropy's manifesto, Rise of the Videogame Zinesters. Generation Xbox was a blast to read.

My favorite game magazine is Kill Screen. Their "Change" issue is amazing. While I was preparing to launch Boss Fight, I read Kill Screen's mission statement online and was so inspired.
Cubed3: What would be your favourite classic Nintendo game to play when giving the pen a rest?
Gabe Durham: The NES games I play most are Legend of Zelda, Crystalis, Ice Hockey, Metroid, Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle, and Dr. Mario.

Image for Interview | Gabe Durham Talks Boss Fight Books Concept and Kickstarter Campaign

Cubed3: If you could go deep into the archives to find out anything and everything about a Nintendo franchise, what would it be?

Gabe Durham: Haha, good question. This is an unofficial franchise, but I've always been dying to know the full story behind the renegade Christian studio that made the Bible Adventures series (my favorite of which was Joshua, a very decent find-and-collect puzzler). The whole thing fascinates me endlessly. Maybe I'll have to write it myself.

To support Boss Fight Books, visit the Kickstarter page for the campaign to donate and for more updates.

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Learning about those Bible Adventures games could be interesting (it could also be terribly boring). I remember playing a Gameboy game of their's that involved Moses when I was about 6. It wasn't very good and I remember being confused because Moses could shoot things out of his hand and seemingly kill people. Seemed to be a pretty loose interpretation of Exodus, but I never got past the first level.

TAG: That American Guy

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18

Sucks that they didn't mention anything about that Earth Bound Collection for us hardcore fans in the US!:-x

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