Galaga by Michael Kimball
For fifteen seconds of one of the highest-grossing films of all time, The Avengers’ plan to save the world comes to a grinding halt when Tony Stark calls out a low-level member of S.H.I.E.L.D. for playing Galaga on the job. Acclaimed novelist and lifelong Galaga player Michael Kimball knows the compulsion: He’s set and re-set high scores on Galaga machines all across America. What many call the greatest fixed shooter arcade game in history, Galaga broke the Space Invaders mold with superior graphics, faster firing, bonus rounds, tractor beams, and advanced enemy A.I.
Since its 1981 release, Galaga has inspired numerous sequels, bootlegs, hacks, and clones—and some version of Galaga has been released for nearly every gaming platform. Kimball shares his obsession with Galaga through a discussion of the innovative gameplay it introduced (including lots of tips), its extensive cultural legacy (including collectibles, movies, rap songs, drinking games, and sex acts), and how Galaga got Kimball through a difficult childhood--and maybe saved his life.
Michael Kimball is the author of six books, including Big Ray, Dear Everybody, and Us. His work has been on NPR’s All Things Considered and in Vice, as well as The Guardian, Bomb, Prairie Schooner, New York Tyrant, etc. His work has been translated into a dozen languages—including Italian, Spanish, German, Chinese, Korean, and Greek. He is also responsible for Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard), a couple of documentaries, the 510 Readings, and the conceptual pseudonym Andy Devine.
Best Books of 2014 - LitReactor
Top 10 Local Books of 2014 - Baltimore City Paper
"An extremely brave piece of work." - Cliqist
"Visions of a scared, scarred child clinging not only to an escape but the opportunity for success and self-esteem make this book something more than the standard, 'Hey, remember this bit of pop culture?'" - Prick of the Spindle
"...a testament to Kimball’s bravery as a writer ... Trust me, you’ll get your quarter’s worth." - The Small Press Book Review
"Kimball does an expert job of weaving his feelings, anxieties about his home life, and his desire to be in the arcade together into a wonderful tapestry." - Paste
"Galaga rejects the Buzzfeeding of the immediate past, avoiding glib 'Remember this thing?' obviousness and petulant 'those were the days' nerd-culture nonsense for a literary experiment that takes aim at a classic arcade game and explodes it into 256 poignant pieces." - City Paper
"True to form Boss Fight Books has put out yet another video game book that is so much deeper than anything created in pixels ... Empty out your sack of quarters and go pick up a copy of this Michael Kimball’s Galaga. You will know you are in the hands of a master." - Cobalt Review
"If anyone in the world still believes that video games rot people's brains, I'd direct them to this installment of Boss Fight Books." - The Next Big Book Blog
"Galaga illustrates just how to achieve that Zen-like grace that only comes with just the right amount of disconnected relaxation and total body concentration." - JMWW
"Galaga is more than a book about a game—it’s a thank you from Kimball and a reminder to all of us that, with a little bit of help, things often do indeed get better." - Necessary Fiction
"[Kimball's] personal experiences about Galaga are lively, and he has many good points about why Galaga was such an important game. Very good read!" - Dome.fi
Excerpt: Electric Literature
More Reviews: Goodreads