Lucky Wander Boy
By: Rory Mount on February 17, 2003
The good people at ElectricArtists caught me at a good time; I had been reading a lot and was looking for more at the time when they told me about Lucky Wander Boy. They said it was a book filled with gaming nostalgia so I thought it would be fun to check it out, it was already receiving a lot of praise from people.
The book isn't exactly about video games, it is about a man named Adam Pennyman who begins to write his own book, the Catalogue of Obsolete Entertainments, which is actually the nostalgia part of this book. The author, DB Weiss uses the entries in this "Catalogue" to help illustrate his points about life and what the subject of the book is experiencing. Now the story does seem to stumble at the beginning, but once you get past the first 50 pages or so the book grabs you and won't let go.
But what would a story be without a problem? While writing his book, he is able to play all of the games on his computer through his emulator named MAME. Adam's writing is stopped in its tracks when he remembers an old game from his hometown arcade. Lucky Wander Boy. A game that cannot be emulated, he remembers that this game intrigued him for a long time. The game is three stages which I won't spoil for you but Adam never reaches stage three during the game's run in the local arcade. He gets a job at the company with the rights to the game hoping to find the game once again. He makes new friends and enemies, all the while progressing toward his ending goal.
I won't spoil any more for you, but I must say the book has a very impressive story. The ending is something so confusingly amazing it has a lasting effect on you, it actually made me tremble for a good ten minutes.
The other thing I was really impressed with was the style of writing used by the author. It really isn't your typical book. As you read the book each new chapter brings new styles of writing constantly keeping you immersed in the book, wanting to read the next section because it is written completely different and exciting.
The book flows masterfully from one scene to the next, you can't put it down. Many chapters contain exciting twists upon twists which can be kind of confusing until you adapt to the author's style. The author also breathes life into the characters and at times it makes you think its a biography. There is occasional coarse language, not gratuitous, but still it isn't a book for the kiddies. This language, however, is one of the many tools used to personify the characters.
I can't really give this book a rating on a scale because there are too many things to consider and it all depends on preference. I do have to say though, the only complaint I have is that it takes 50 pages before you are immersed, and the occasional confusing parts. Other than that I loved the book and I can recommend it to all of you with the firm belief if you read it you will love it, as long as you have some interest in games, of course.
The book is scheduled to release February 28th in book stores everywhere. Look for Lucky Wander Boy in your local bookstore then.