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Galaga

(Boss Fight Books #4)

3.18  ·  Rating details ·  160 ratings  ·  36 reviews
For fifteen seconds of the 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 A ...more
Paperback, 136 pages
Published July 2014 by Boss Fight Books (first published June 22nd 2014)
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Average rating 3.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  160 ratings  ·  36 reviews


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Ken
Jul 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Galaga is divided into 255 paragraphs that have little to no relation to each other. Maybe if every third paragraph were collected, there would be a narrative here, but instead, the author tries to maintain three concurrent but separate threads, jumping between them at a whim. It's lazy writing that makes no connections and no transitions, aimed at someone whose attention can't be kept longer than a paragraph.

The worst part was the times Kimball would dedicate a paragraph to an interesting fact
...more
Andrew
The Boss Fight Book series is always interesting even if every release doesn't strike your fancy. Galaga by Michael Kimball is a unique look at the game through the author's life. Instead of chapters though the author has chosen to break the book down into stages. Like Galaga itself, each stage is short and to the point, and also like Galaga there are 255 of them before the book begins again much like the arcade game. The author does a great job of telling his life story and relationship with th ...more
Joseph Michael Owens
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Kimball is an incredibly talented author and his approach to writing Galaga is fantastic. The book is broken up into stages mimicking the stages of the game with varying degrees of detail. Mixing accounts from his past, both w/r/t the game and his personal life make the book seriously engaging even for readers not as obsessed with Galaga as Kimball. Such a great read!

Every single book is this series has been so fantastic. I've already read EarthBound, Chrono Trigger, and now Galaga. Each one ha
...more
Peter Derk
Nov 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Michael Kimball is great. Let's just get that out of the way.

He uses a really strange device in this book. The book is broken up into really short sections, and then each section will say something about Galaga. Sometimes the section will say something, maybe about a piece of fan art or a Galaga mod, and then a couple sections later Kimball will say, "That thing I said a couple sections back? That's not real. But I just thought it would be cool."

A few reviewers found it annoying, but I have to s
...more
Kimberly
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I wish I could give half stars, this is easily a four-and-a-half star book.

My brother turned over the Galaga machine (million points!) at the Putt Putt Golf and Games in Lansing, so picking up this book was an instant nostalgia trip on a couple of levels.

I got into Galaga because he loved to play it, and it was great to feel that sense of love from this book, too. I thought the author's study of his difficult experiences growing up complimented his exploration of what Galaga meant to him and ga
...more
Caleb Ross
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
(click the image below to watch the video review)

Galaga book review


This story of Galaga, the book by Michael Kimball, is a personal one, moreso than any other Boss Fight Books release I’ve read and reviewed so far. And it’s not just the books theme that’s personal–that theme being one of the author’s childhood abuse and teenage awkwardness where solace was found in shopping mall arcades playing Galaga–but the very format of the book evokes personality. Rather than the traditional chapter-based overt,
...more
Christopher
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a fun read! Kimball beautifully describes the wonder of Galaga and its importance to his life. Galaga has always been one of my favorite games (Galaxian as well, way back on the Apple IIe), so I had high expectations. My expectations were destroyed like a single fighter trapped in the corner. Buy this book. Read this book. Love this book. GALAGA!
jim
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
This is probably my favorite book of 2014. Kimball and I both grew up while using video games as escapes, and reading the history of one of those beloved games interspersed with a similar (though not the same, of course) upbringing really couldn't have grabbed me more. I'm so glad I kickstarted this!
Derrick KC
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fantastically balances obsessive minutia about a hugely influential arcade game with memoir elements about child abuse and desperately trying to find a safe place to call your own. An absolute page-turner and hugely relatable for anybody who felt like an out-of-place kid in need of an outlet.
Colin Packenham
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This might actually be one of my favorite small books I have read. Very introspective, and weirdly intimate.
Nik Perring
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Odd and true and effortlessly compelling.
Tommy Prast
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
fun to read, but not as in depth or thematically interesting as others in the series

what's good about it is this- he keeps referencing the different types of Galaga products available
These range from the expected to the absurd

Point of this is galaga, maybe more than any other arcade game besides pac-man, has become part of the conversation when anyone mentions an "arcade game"

It's 80s arcade style at its most diluted and brilliant form

But there's not much more to know about it- just personal an
...more
Daniel
Jun 17, 2020 rated it did not like it
You can tell that the early boss fight books were still trying to figure out their angle for how these projects would go. Case in point is this book which is horribly disjointed and disorganized.

The author has split up each “chapter” into random sections with no real order. Some chapters are a paragraph or less. Other chapters will disclose that a previous chapter was a lie, completely made up. If the author is willing to lie multiple times (to be funny I guess?) then that makes me distrust the
...more
Dave Johnson
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-ebook
So.... was expecting a pretty straightforward history of Galaga,which is one of my favourite classic arcade games. What I got was a deeply personal story from someone who's time spent playing Galaga got him through some pretty dark experiences. The book bounces in a sequence from notes on the development of the game, to trivia about the game, to stories of the author's experiences with the game, to personal stories of the author's childhood, and then back to the start of the cycle. It's as much ...more
Tracy Poff
Jan 31, 2020 added it
Shelves: nonfiction
A semi-autobiographical book of trivia about Galaga. Most of it is the kind of thing that clutters up Wikipedia articles and fansites. For example:

"Former Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis, one of the greatest linebackers to ever play football, has a Galaga arcade machine in one of his homes (along with Galaxian and Pac-Man). He is partial to it because he grew up playing it."

Mixed in with these are anecdotes from the author's childhood, which are generally more interesting than the Galaga trivia. That'
...more
Brad Furminger
There are some interesting discussions of the Galaga game itself and the nostalgic feelings stirred up on playing, but it really wanders with random jumps to cultural and commercial references. The interludes themselves are only mildly distracting but venture into frustrating when a short time later the author admits to fabricating some of these various anecdotes along the way. I'm sure there may be some sort of connection intended toward how the reader may easily believe these false facts thoug ...more
Yannick
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've read all the books in this series and this might be my favourite. The style is clear, straight to the point, and the way the book is divided in short thematic paragraphs is superbly done. It constantly alternates from a point of view to the other (e.g. personnal, factual, etc.). I think it is a success and a beautiful way to talk about books. This one, early in the series, made me realise the potential this kind of writing (meaning "this collection") has.
Morbus Iff
Jun 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: games
The format of these books are both fascinating and infuriating all at once. I came for the game, but learn more about the player. And I'm not entirely sure if I like that yet. I'm all for rambling personal creeds, but after four of 'em, I'm not sure it "works". This one was particularly frustrating with the made-up crap.
Caro
Apr 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book is all over the place. I like the 256 “chapters” being the 256 stages in the game, but the flow of the book kept being interrupted because of that. Trivia was spliced in constantly, making it a big mess. I would’ve enjoyed it more if it had been all one big story with all the nasty bits in one go. I like the emotional aspect and what the game means to the author though.
Eric
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I learned some new things about one of my favorite all time video games from reading this. Also enjoyed how the author related his own life to the game.
David
Dec 16, 2019 rated it liked it
The book is a collection of Kimball's disjoint memories which center around playing Galaga in an Aladdin's Castle arcade, in order to briefly escape an abusive home life. 3.5 stars.
Avedon Arcadio
Mar 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
Terribly fragmented with no real structure. The authors use of lies as some form of humor did not execute well.
M Grant
Brilliant- insightful- personal- I enjoyed it
Sheldon Compton
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
- Review originally appeared at Small Press Book Review


Points to be Scored, Games to be Won

Galaga is Michael Kimball’s love letter to the game of the same name, his textbook, his instructor’s manual, his encyclopedia and fan fiction, and is so much more than any of these things. The book covers every nuance of the game, references in pop culture, merchandising, and just about any other thing related to Galaga. Tattoo anyone? He’s got those to talk about, too. No worries. And that’s fine and good
...more
Brian
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
At first, I thought I would hate this book because of the formatting. Kimball divides the book into 255 chapters, each of which can be as short as a single sentence or as long as a couple paragraphs. Reading on my iPad, most of each page was blank, with one a tiny bit of text at the top. I'm sure it worked better in the physical book, and admittedly I warmed up to it a bit when I realized that Galaga had 255 stages.

Like all Boss Fight Books, Galaga is partially about the game and partially abou
...more
Aaron Kent
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
When I saw this book in my local bookstore this evening I changed up my plans so I could read immediately. The name alone safely made it a good candidate for my annual Goodreads "best book I've read this year" rating. I was born in 1974. My three favorite video games are: The Legend of Zelda, Space Harrier and Galaga. For those of us born in the late 60s and early 70s the golden age of arcades and early video games is, in our hearts and minds, sacred and hallowed ground. Older people might have ...more
David Macpherson
Jun 28, 2014 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed reading this, but it had problems. It is the first book I have read on my nook, and so it was a different type of experience. With that said, I am excited that Boss Fight Books is making this series of books about classic video games. Hell, I gave to the kickstarter. Michael Kimball has created in 255 stages of very brief chapters. Galaga goes up to 255 stages or levels so it was clever to do it this way. He presents info on the game and memoir in a collage format that works pre ...more
Christopher
Dec 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I've enjoyed other work by Michael Kimball, and I liked the concept behind this book. The idea of interleaving a somewhat painful autobiography with reflections on popular culture relevant to those personal experiences is a good one, and it more or less works here. As something to compare it to, I think Kier-La Janisse's House of Psychotic Women maybe had richer pop culture material to draw on for similar expressive purposes, leading to a more engaging book. Obviously, Michael Kimball can't help ...more
Drew
Sep 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Again, it's a question of your interest level. If you're into classic games, this is ideal. If you're into stories about how [insert artistic thing here] shaped the life of a young person, this is also ideal. Kimball does a really great job at elevating what could've been a boring, dry fact-based thing about the game into a deeply personal look at life, at youth, and at love - of others and of an object. Your mileage will vary, but the fact is: this book does what it sets out to do and more. And ...more
Bob Anderson
Oct 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
This is part of a series of books on individual video games, some of them more important than others in the medium’s history. This one is presented as 255 fragments, some of which trace the author’s personal experience playing Galaga as an arcade junkie, some of which share facts and factoids about the game and its cultural influence. Can’t recommend reading this because so many of these fragments are “Hey remember that thing I wrote three pages ago? It was a lie!” Really poor choice.
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Michael Kimball's third novel, DEAR EVERYBODY, will be published in the UK, US, and Canada this year. His first two novels, THE WAY THE FAMILY GOT AWAY (2000) and HOW MUCH OF US THERE WAS (2005), have both been translated into many languages.

He is also responsible for the art project Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard) and the documentary film, I Will Smash You.

Other books in the series

Boss Fight Books (1 - 10 of 27 books)
  • EarthBound (Boss Fight Books, #1)
  • Chrono Trigger (Boss Fight Books, #2)
  • ZZT (Boss Fight Books, #3)
  • Jagged Alliance 2 (Boss Fight Books, #5)
  • Super Mario Bros. 2 (Boss Fight Books, #6)
  • Bible Adventures (Boss Fight Books, #7)
  • Baldur's Gate II (Boss Fight Books, #8)
  • Metal Gear Solid (Boss Fight Books, #9)
  • Shadow of the Colossus (Boss Fight Books, #10)
  • Spelunky (Boss Fight Books, #11)

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