Blue Wizard Is About To Die!

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Blue Wizard Is About To Die!
The cover of the first edition
AuthorSeth "Fingers" Flynn Barkan
IllustratorWarren Wucinich
Cover artistWarren Wucinich
SubjectVideo and computer games
PublisherRusty Immelman Press
Publication date
Media typeSoftcover book

Blue Wizard Is About To Die!: Prose, Poems, and Emoto-Versatronic Expressionist Pieces About Video Games (1980-2003) is a volume of verse written by Seth Flynn Barkan in 2003;[1] the title is a phrase heard in the arcade game Gauntlet II. It is reputedly the first volume of poetry dedicated to computer and video games. In part because of its uniqueness and because of reviews in a number of periodicals both in and out of the gaming world,[2] Blue Wizard Is About To Die! "sold more than 5,000 copies internationally, making it one of the best-selling poetry collections of 2004."

The content (an introduction, 47 poems,[3] 5 appendices, and the text of All Your Base) focuses primarily on classic arcade games such as Sinistar, Dragon's Lair, or Joust, but it also ranges up in time to more recent games such as Half-Life, Crazy Taxi, and Bushido Blade. The poems are largely irregular free verse, although for his Mega Man (character)-related poems Barkan uses an eccentric form of haiku[4] The poems are themselves varied in content; "Mario in Exile" reimagines Mario as a Stalinesque dictator and recontextualizes his games as grand military campaigns to take over countries, while other accounts segue between the in-world reality and backstories, the heart-felt motivations of characters, such as in Bushido Blade, and the callous indifference or anger the players feel as they battle each other; others, like "Doom" reflect on the sad life of characters like the hapless Marine in the titular Doom, or are the internal accounts of characters like Gordon Freeman as they are plunged into hellish situations such as in Half-Life. A number of poems are ostensibly autobiographical in nature, the author as a child or teenager playing games and his reflections on them.

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  1. ^ The Introduction by Seth is dated 28 August 2003 published in 2004
  2. ^ Barkan's site lists a number of periodicals and reviews of his book [1] (Archived), including Electronic Gaming Monthly, the Calgary Herald, Entertainment Weekly, GameSpy, the Detroit Free Press, Computer Gaming World (which reviewed it negatively), and Game Informer among others.
  3. ^ Appendix C, "An Account of Grue Hunting In The Great Underground Empire" (a reference to Zork) is not included in this count - although it does resemble a poem in its opening - because it is largely a transcript.
  4. ^ "However, it is my assertion that, because haikus frequently describe natural features of stunning beauty observed by a single individual (and attempt to do so in the totally non-visual medium of language), the number of syllables one uses when writing a haiku does not really matter. The important thing is that you limit yourself to a short number of set syllables..." pg 137, Appendix D, "List of References Contained In The Poems (And Other Points of Interest)".

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