Blue Wizard Is About To Die!

Review by Jonathan Imberi

This book is subtitled Prose, Poems, and Emoto-Versatronic Expressionist Pieces About Video Games, 1980-2003. I don’t feel confident trying to explain what that subtitle means, but this book is credited as being the first book of video game poetry, and as far as I know, that is true.

Blue Wizard Is About To Die! is not what I would consider a good book of poetry. Author Seth Flynn Barkan is definitely not my generation’s Shel Silverstein. However, kudos goes to Seth for pioneering the art of video game poetry. The book is the first of its kind, and needs to be read and regarded as so.

This book is interesting, in the fact that it made me curious enough to buy it, but different, in the fact it is not at all what I was expecting. It is not a generalized book of poems that everyone who plays video games can relate to. It is however a collection of the author’s experiences playing video games. Many of the entries are inter-woven with childhood memories of the author, some of which have no correlation with the featured game.

One should be warned that the book is a little on the racy side, and the author has a bit of a ribald sense of humor and uses foul language throughout his pieces. This point aside, the pieces are not lacking in wit or humor. The author even provides us with hilarious drawings to illustrate some of his poems.

The 64+ entries in this book cover games from 1980-2003 on multiple platforms and in all formats. There is something for every gamer, whether you played solely on consoles or were an arcade hall addict, or played a bit of everything, as did the author. Other game related topics such as the transition from 2D to 3D graphics, level bosses, shareware, and even the online gaming lag are featured in the author’s unique writings.

I found some of the entries hilarious, while others left me shaking my head, wondering what the author was going for. The entry below is an example of the later:

The terror I experience
during my “tactical” flight
is very real, as real
as any nameless creeping
horror derived from any supernatural
stalking presence waiting
to seize me from the darkness
at my back while walking
down a black alleyway.

They are coming for me:
THEY ARE COMING FOR ME!
and I am
powerless
to stop them.

Can you guess which video game the author is describing?

“Pac-Man”.

So as I said before, this book is different but interesting. It is also a must-have for all video game enthusiasts. I feel the author was trying to convey the gravity of his book in the title Blue Wizard Is About To Die! Anyone who has played the “Gauntlet” games knows how serious this statement is, and yet at the same time just how hilarious it can be.

More information on this book and its author can be found at www.bluewizardbook.com

My final thought:

You can’t chomp with it; you can’t chomp without it. Wocka! Wocka!

First Published November 2006