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Claytor, Ryan & Baldridge, Nick – Coin-Op Carnival #1


Coin-Op Carnival #1

Quick, a show of hands: who remembers Ryan from the days of his mini comics with the fuzzy covers? You’d have to be a very long time reader to get that reference, but I was reviewing his comics a decade (longer?) ago, but he hasn’t had many comics out for awhile, what with life and all. So imagine my surprise when I got word about this one! OK, technically, it’s not a comic, more of an interview/review/historical… book? Zine with the highest production values I’ve ever seen? Eh, I’ve never been good with these labels. This is clearly a labor of love from Ryan and Nick, and it’s all about pinball games and old-timey coin-op games. You already know what that means if you’ve ever seen one; generally speaking they were games of skill with intricately designed exteriors. Yes, that’s vague, but try a Google image search and you’ll see what I’m talking about. This one starts off with Ryan and Nick talking about their plans for the book (in one of the two straight up comics), then quickly transitions into their interview with Wayne Neyens. Who’s that? Only a 99 year old man who’s still sharp as the proverbial tack, and one of the most prolific pinball inventors in the world. It’s a wide-ranging interview that covers a lot more than pinball; I’m glad they let the interview wander, because the man has had a fascinating life. From there they have some extensive reviews of Mystic Marvel and Space Pilot, two of those old-timey games I mentioned earlier. Also included is an explanation for the inner workings of these types of games, which was riveting to a dummy like me who has no idea about that kind of thing, and a review for a DVD tour of the Cliff House, which is an extensive museum of these artifacts. The place has an in-house blacksmith to replace broken parts! The only negative thing I have to say is that I wish they explained a few more of the terms, but generally speaking they did a good job with that, and this is clearly geared more towards a person who already has a working knowledge of this stuff and not a tourist like me. If that’s you, you will absolutely love this book, and they plan on putting another one out every two years. If you’re a casual fan like me, I was glued to the page all the way through, which is about as positive a review as I can give. Try it out, why don’t you! $15