Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The joys of owning a dog for the holidays.

Mark Bussler's dog, Stella

I've been living on the editing system the past few weeks, and now have only a few more days of finishing editing on "Westinghouse" to go. Which means I don't typically see daylight anymore. I work, eat, work and go to sleep. I don't even have much time to spend with Stella, our German Shepherd/Chow Chow mix these days, but this morning was different. This morning it snowed and we played outside for a while.

German Shepherd Chow Chow Mixed Breed

I read an article on MSNBC about dogs that need homes after a puppy mill was raided and thought of our dog and all the happiness (and destruction) that she brings. We adopted her a year ago from the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society and have had quite a year together. She was one year old when we adopted her, strong as an ox and rowdy beyond comprehension. The good news is she still is, but she's a bit more controllable now after a year of training and lots of walking.

Stella the Wonderdog from the Classic Game Room DVD

Adopting a dog isn't for everyone. Especially a big dog like her. She needs constant exercise, lots of food and sheds enough hair to build two dogs. She takes a lot of time and money. It would be nice if she'd get a job and pay us back.

My point is if you want a dog this holiday season, and you have the time and money, go adopt one instead of buying one from a store. Lots of dogs need homes. They aren't perfect. They take a while to adjust to new owners and a new home. They may eat your pillows and pull down the new curtains. They may try to bring a dead bird inside the house. They may eat the pepperoni you set out for dinner. They may decide the couch by the window is theirs. They may want to run all over the house with your sock in their mouth. They may decide to eat the Christmas tree ornaments. They may bring fear into the hearts of squirrels all over the neighborhood and scare the #@$! out of people who set foot on the porch.

But an adopted pet, in my experience, is a joy to own. After they to get to know you and trust you they are your best friend forever. It's as if they know you took a chance on them.

Awww.... ok, enough emotion. I'm gonna get back to the computer and finish my film on George Westinghouse.

German Shepherd Chow Chow mixed breed in the snow and loving it

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pretzel Stix and Coffee

It's about 9pm and I'm in the last 2-3 weeks of finishing editing on "Westinghouse". Progress is progressing smoothly, albeit slowly. Finishing editing means I basically live here until the film is done right. I'm sleepy.

Yesterday we filmed an interview with William Terbo, grand nephew of Nikola Tesla. Today I worked with Mr. Ed Reis on the commentary track for the film and recorded another interview. Right now, as I type this, I'm enjoying coffee and Pretzel Stix for dinner while I digitize footage.

Westinghouse will be released on April 8th of next year and I think you'll enjoy it. In the meantime I'm enjoying my Pretzel Stix.

Pretzel Stix

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Westinghouse Radio Interview 11/10/07

On Saturday night, November 10th, I was privileged enough to do a radio interview on Carol Lee Espy's radio show, "The Life Lounge". We talked about the recent Inecom release, "Pennsylvania Train Stations: Restored and Revitalized". I also let the cat out of the bag on her show that Carol is the narrator of Westinghouse!

We talked a bit about Westinghouse and I received the following post on my blog:

Dave Kerr said...
Last night, I heard [Mark] Bussler mention on Carol Lee Espy's program that KDKA's first broadcast in 1920 was from the K Bldg in East Pittsburgh.

That is incorrect. The K Bldg was located in Turtle Creek not East Pittsburgh. The Westinghouse complex here in the Turtle Creek Valley was known as the East Pittsburgh Works. However, most of it, including the K Bldg, was physically located in Turtle Creek Borough.

By the way, the demolition of the historic K Bldg was completed in the past few weeks by the RIDC.

Dave Kerr
Turtle Creek Native

November 11, 2007 9:55 AM

Dave, you are correct. I made a mistake on air, fortunately this kind of information is correct in the film. I'll never get totally used to live radio because I can't turn around and re-edit myself. If I had a nickel for every dumb thing I've said on an interview I'd have an enormous pile of nickels. More info on Westinghouse is coming soon.

Visit the official Westinghouse film website HERE.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Westinghouse Production Update 11/8/07

Westinghouse DVD, high definition documentary film

I am still alive, sort of. If you count staring intensely at a computer monitor for 10-12 hours a day as being alive. I am in the final stretch of finishing "Westinghouse", the documentary film on George Westinghouse that I am producing, directing and editing. Every day now is a lengthy session of "finishing editing" where I tweak, perfect and fine tune every detail on the 2-hour film. It's basically like watching the same movie over and over again all day every day. Fortunately, this is a good film (at least I think so!)

Of course I could mix it up an watch The Empire Strikes Back on repeat for a day, that would be fun.

The documentary was narrated a few weeks ago by Carol Lee Espy, who many of you may know from KDKA radio. KDKA radio was the first commercial radio station in the country that was started by Westinghouse Electric in 1920. I thought this was very fitting. Most importantly she has a wonderful voice, superb enunciation and is great to work with.

The film is being produced in 1080i. The DVD mastering will be started soon and the film is already available for pre-order on a number of websites. Release date is April 8th and I'd expect some theatrical screenings around that time as well.

Ok, I'm back to editing. I still get time to walk the dog most every day and play a bit of xbox when I'm fighting sleep, but my time now is dedicated to finishing this beast of a project. The good news is that many people are very excited about it and it will be released in time for the 250th anniversary of Pittsburgh (which is a complete coincidence, there's no way I could have planned that had I tried).

You can read up about Westinghouse HERE and view the trailer below.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

1000 Mile Road Test of 2007 Mazda 6

2007 Mazda 6 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

I've spent a month now with my new 2007 Mazda 6 and have driven it about 1000 miles. I feel I can comment pretty accurately on the car now, which is pretty exciting. This is my first car review.

Yes loyal readers, I bought a new car. Believe it or not, even as an indie documentary filmmaker and the "Classic Game Room" co-host, I do not get limousine service or have a Trans Am that drives itself. Nope, I gotta shuttle myself, my crap and my dog where I need to go.

Stella the Wonderdog!

So why did I buy a Mazda 6 of all cars? Don't they make those cheap, crappy cars that we used to make fun of? Apparently not! For starters I've been a loyal Nissan driver for about a decade. I've been through a '94 Nissan Maxima, a '98 Infiniti i30 (basically a Maxima) and a 2001 Pathfinder. My favorite was the 94 Maxima, which was awesome. That car ran to 80,000 miles without a single problem. To this day I'm not sure why I traded it in for a used I30 in '99, because the I30 was a complete piece of rubbish in comparison. It drove nice, but once the sunroof broke and electronics started going haywire, that was it for that car.

My 2001 Pathfinder, which was a year old when I bought it in 2002, when gas cost $1.50 a gallon, was a great vehicle with one major flaw. The gas mileage sucked beyond words. And the thing is, I never realized how bad it was until my first fill up when it went about 220 miles on a tank. I don't drive that much so in the grand scheme of things it wasn't a big deal, but still, it's the principle of the matter.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The shot above is the day my Pathfinder, with 86,500 miles, was traded in for my new Mazda 6 with 70 miles. You can almost see the unhappy face on it (the Pathfinder).

I loved that truck and we went through many adventures together. Plowing through snow with reckless abandon, crushing slush and rain on the PA Turnpike with ease, running the EZ Pass booth and climbing sidewalks in Philadelphia (my wife remembers that day). After 5 years the miles did add up and the maintenance was starting to become an issue. I paid off the truck a few months early and spent the savings on new suspension parts and shocks. The muffler had been replaced. The tires were near the end. And through it all I watched our inept GOP leadership subsidize the oil companies by invading Iraq with taxpayer money (and the American people voted for this!?). Anyway, it was time to go. I hate paying for f%$@ing gas, and the Pathfinder got about 14mpg around town. I'd watch the little mile counter hit 200 around the time the gas light went on and drop nearly $60 on gas.

2007 Mazda 6

I had been searching for cars for a while and wanted another Nissan, they drive really well and for the most part have been reliable cars. I need something pretty big with a lot of storage space, but didn't want another SUV. I drove a 2004 Maxima and hated it. The Infinitis were overpriced, although that G35 coupe looks nice. Regardless, none of their other vehicles fit my needs and most of them get lousy gas mileage.

I test drove Audi A3 and liked it but couldn't figure out why it cost so much (Oh, it's German!), same goes with BMW. Great cars, but the exchange rate adds insult to injury. And again, I didn't want to spend very much on a car. I blew my fortune on beer, dog food and Xbox you know?

I didn't care for the brakes on Acura or Honda, don't like Toyota's styling or handling and couldn't quite afford that Lamborghini. After reading everything out there I ended up considering the Subaru Legacy and the Mazda 6.... the Mazda what? You think they could have named it better. Like the Mazda DESTROYAH.

I actually never really noticed the "6" before, then I started seeing them everywhere. I really like the look of it, especially the newer ones with nice wheels and body styling. I love the hatchback which is kinda like a station wagon. The Mazda dealer brought me over a Mazda 6 to test drive and I was hooked. Firm brakes, great cornering and really nice styling. Nothing fancy, which was fine with me. No sunroof to break. And the price was well below anyting I had considered. Combined with a 0% APR rate, I bought the car.

I've been rambling on and on here with my life story, so I'll get to the review of my 2007 Mazda 6 now that it has 1012 miles on it.

I drive a very short commute, but still need to drive around town. Just 2 days ago I lugged myself, a cameraman and tons of gear to a shoot with ease. The best part about the car is the way it drives. Very tight, great road feel and really firm brakes. The styling is slick in my opinion, and that's all that matters. My wife thinks it is ugly, but even she admits it drives well.

On the negative side the seats are a bit cheap and uncomfortable at first, I'm getting used to them, but they could be much better. I went with cloth because that's all they had in the silver hatchback, and the price stayed nice and lean.

Mazda 6 in the showroom

The stereo is a complete pile of junk. And to make matters worse they make it completely impossible to install a regular DIN style stereo into the car because of the convoluted size and design of the factory stereo. I had a great Alpine in my truck and can't use it. The Mazda iPod adapter is also complete garbage. Its taken me weeks to come up with an alternative stereo and iPod option which is on order.

Lets see, the AC isn't very cold on scorching days and the acceleration off the block was sluggish at first, but has since greatly improved. The acceleration on the highway and around town is outstanding for a 4 banger. I've averaged about 21 MPG around town and hope to see that improve. Haven't taken a road trip yet.

Each tank of gas now gets me 330 miles, and from a much smaller tank.

So that's my review. It's fun, looks great and sounds awful (the stereo, but I'm a stereo snob so take that with a grain of salt). The price was right and it's a great daily driver. Cheers to Mazda for making a great car. Although the black interior is now covered in white dog hair.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

3 More Classic Game Rooms Online

Booyah! Or should I say, "Game Room Sucka!"

This week we were able to upload about 8 Classic "Classic Game Room" episodes from waaaay back in the day. Back from the year 2000, before the global warming crisis, before YouTube, before the GOP made up a bunch of lies and invaded a foreign country sinking our country into an abysmal mess and back before everyone had cell phones, iPods and Bluetooth headsets.

The episodes are on the InecomCompany YouTube account which can be viewed HERE.

Deep from within Inecom Entertainment Company's vault of cancelled internet TV shows from the network we pulled out the Game Room reviews of Bionic Commando, Fear Effect, Robotron 64, Wild Metal, Chu Chu Rocket, The Empire Strikes Back , Virtual On AND Draconus Cult of the Wyrm.

It's been fun to watch a number of these old reviews that I haven't really sat down and watched in a few years. I poured into the reviews that we included on the Classic Game Room DVD, but some of these others I didn't spend much time with.

My personal favorite of this bunch is Draconus. i think we had a good commentary on that episode. I also like the Chu Chu Rocket review and Fear Effect.

These are good examples of the real show, the normal episodes without the expensive outside sequences like Sega GT or Alien (which are on the DVD). I like the bigger, more expensive episodes better, but these are pretty much standard for us. Dave dropped the best one liners and performances, I muddled through the interviews and occasionally said something interesting... but typically did the mixing and editing work.

I re-edited these down a bit and remixed the audio and video where I could. On some episodes like Bionic Commando and Fear Effect we are actually missing the master tapes of the game footage, so some of the video and audio for the game review (not studio) was pulled from the media files we made in 2000.

For Bionic Commando, since I still have that game, I replayed some of the scenes and re-recorded it. Maybe you notice the change at about 4.02 or so in the episode. When we originally made that episode Dave played the game until about 1am in the studio and won it. He was really good at the game, and there's no chance I could win it now.

The same is true for Fear Effect, sort of. I don't have this game, we probably sold it back after doing the review. So most of the game footage is from the streaming media file. But I did find a Betacam SP tape of some game footage and reworked that in where I could. I also used that to remix the intro on the episode and make the disco dancing burning alive scene. Note the outtakes at the end where I tried to put an Atari Jaguar on the table and Dave wouldn't let me.

Wild Metal and Virtual On aren't anything spectacular in the way of humor, but are solid technically and offer pretty candid reviews of two games which are nothing spectacular.

And who doesn't like Chu Chu Rocket? That game is fabulous and still a great party game.

Hopefully there will be some more old episodes posted soon, so keep on the lookout!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Classic Game Room Returns Online!!

It's the day we've all be waiting for... or at least all of us Classic Game Room fans. And that includes me and Dave! We haven't seen these in so long it's like watching different people almost, so we can laugh at all of our dumb jokes all over again for practically the first time.

Mark Bussler working on Bionic Commando for the Classic Game Room

You can see the original episodes HERE on YouTube!

Inecom Entertainment Company , which owns the rights to all the Classic Game Room episodes, decided to pull out the stops and publish some of the episodes from the 1999-2000 season. This is the first time these have been online since the "" days!! You can still see our old website which has the text reviews, but does not play the videos, at

The Game Room episodes will be appearing under the InecomCompany account on YouTube, along with our feature film trailers and some other cancelled shows that were on back in the day.

Below is one of the all time favorite episodes, our review of The Empire Strikes Back for the Atari 2600. I remastered the episode this week (while awaiting new hard drives to finish my current film). The footage is all from the master tapes so you can see every detail. I'm not sure why my hair was so long back then but it was. I added the new blowing snow fx and the updated sounds of wind and the monsters. The snow was simply made by dragging a long PSD file of "snow" over the video image. I borrowed a licensed Steelers jacket from someone look more vinyl and "Star Wars"-like, and then went so far as to bleep out the Steelers logo with the ice cream graphic.

I also posted our review of Draconus for the Dreamcast. I particularly like this review because we were making fun of learning history and going to school. We were being obnoxious on purpose of course, but the irony is that I now produce historical documentaries and strongly support getting a good education. I'd say I look at the world in a much different way now than I did then, however I still think it's one of our funniest studio segments. I love the part when Dave says "I know Draconus is a word, because someone made it up"

Keep looking for new episodes online. They'll be coming sporadically. So quit playing Halo 3 and go watch some old Game Rooms. FYI, as I'm still waiting for new drives, I'm working on remastering the Virtual On episode and Bionic Commando.

You may ask "but if you need new drives how can you work at all?". Simple. Game Rooms are standard def. My current film, Westinghouse, is HD. HD requires terabytes of storage to do anything.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Classic Game Room Odyssey

The next installment in the saga of our editing system, Edit-Station 1, is up on YouTube. We've changed user accounts, to keep up to date with new episodes of the Classic Game Room (which may be returning??), subscribe to our new user name, InecomCompany!

Here is the original video, Classic Game Room, Whiskey and Fried Circuits!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Westinghouse Film Production Update: 9/18

Smoke if ya got 'em

Been very, very busy proofreading the script and getting ready to record the narration for the Westinghouse documentary film. This doesn't provide for very exciting photos on my blog though. I'm usually hunched over the screen with two cups of coffee nearby and a splitting headache.

Just the other day I was fortunate enough to venture out of my cave (aka editing suite) and enjoy the sun and late summer air. I drove into Oakland, which houses The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, the Carnegie Library and Museum, as well as many bars and food joints. One of my favorite is the Original Hot Dog Shop.

40'z and hot dogs in one shop! Score! To be honest I haven't been there for several months, but there have been rumors it is closing. I hope not. My wife will be devastated. She claims they have the best french fries on earth.

Cathedral of Learning

My trip to Oakland was not for cheap hot dogs or double fried french fries this time, but rather to look at the photo archives and maps in the Carnegie Library for potential use in the Westinghouse film. The good news is I found many excellent photos, many of which I'd never seen before, to help me complete the film. Lots of factory shots and trains, etc...

Whoah-Oh, there's goes Tokyo, here comes Dippyzilla!

The library is right next to the museum, which is guarded by a massive dinosaur dubbed "Dippy". I call him Dippyzilla. He's actually quite large and would probably freak out anyone not expecting to see a massive, life like dinosaur standing around Forbes avenue... but not me. I'm used to him. Maybe someone needs to get Dippy a 40 from the "O".

After taking a few more photos it was time to pay for my parking and head back to work... I took the shots of the smokestacks from the parking lot of the museum. They looked pretty neat. I believe they are part of the furnace, or Batcave or powerplant or something for the museum.

Joe Camel

Cheers, giant smokestacks! These photos are all taken with my Canon XTi, 17mm lens and polarizer filter, which is how I achieve that really nice, blue sky.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sega in my free time....

Herzog Zwei for the Sega Genesis

As work on the new Westinghouse documentary has been moving along, we're nearing the narration of the film and final editing. I've been pretty darned busy. Coupled with a few editing system complications is the fact I had to re-write part of the script about the Burlington Brake Trials in 1886 after learning a few more facts from some train experts who are kind enough to help out.

Anyway, by the time I get home, walk the dog, cook dinner with my wife and actually sit down its already 10pm and I'm usually too damn tired to do anything except hide in my basement for an hour or two and succumb to my addiction to Xbox Live.

Modified Sega Genesis with s-video

Another shot:

Modded Sega Genesis 16-Bit System with s-video

A few months ago I decided to hook my Sega Genesis up to an HDTV. After a great deal of research it seemed that modifying the Sega with s-video was the way to go. Obviously the Sega does NOT output true HD video, but the video it does output looks much better with s-video.

I'm not technically competent to do the mods myself so a few weeks ago I sent the system to Canada where Old School Gamer did the work. I just got it back and they did a great job! I don't have any side by side comparisons, but the difference between composite video and s-video on a high def LCD screen (in standard def) is remarkable. has a few screen shots on their website, but seeing it in person is even better.

Wiring nightmare

I run the s-video and stereo cables through my preamp and switch the video and audio with it. That's the Genesis s-video going into the DVD slot there. The DVD player uses HDMI and optical so it avoids the analog inputs altogether.

I have an Xbox 360, PS2, Atari 7800, Sega Genesis and NES all hooked up at once and switching through an Outlaw 950. The Xbox is using HDMI video independent of the preamp, PS2 is component, Genesis is s-video, NES is composite and the Atari runs through a VCR using the RF thingy, and then gets converted to composite. My Dreamcast and N64 will be going s-video, but they aren't hooked up just yet (which is fine because I have no time for them anyway).

The Ninendo Entertainment System

Old School Gamer also repaired my NES which has not been working well since we used it to record the Classic Game Room episodes back in 2000. Yes Game Room fans, this is the actual NES and Sega Genesis used to capture footage for the illustrious Classic Game Room. You know the Genesis we hold up during the X-Men episode? I bought this in 8th grade with Altered Beast and it still works flawlessly today.

M.U.S.H.A. the best Shmup for the Genesis

The s-video brings out sharper details in the graphics and text (it's really noticeable in the text on M.U.S.H.A. and Herzog Zwei, my two favorites). The shadows beneath the jet in Herzog are now clearly a group of dots instead of a blur. The colors are much better of course. It was like playing MUSHA again for the first time because of all the detail in there.

My NES looks really nice too, but to be fair I never used it on my current setup. Which although isn't fancy, is better than the 19" TV I had 7 years ago.

Xbox 360 HDMI cable

I use the HDMI with my Xbox 360 which outputs games in 720p. I got the Atari Classics game for Xbox and love playing Yars' Revenge in HD. The Quotile are that much sharper and scarier. I still suck at Pong, even in HD.

It's probably pretty excessive to mod a 20 year old game system, but as I tell people, "I don't golf. I watch movies and play video games. I have all those dozens of dollars left over to spend on classic game cartridges."

Holy video game controllers, Batman!

What's your favorite controller? Personally I like the PS2 and Genesis controllers the best, but the Xbox 360 controller is growing on me. I never did care for the original Atari 2600 controller, which is why I got the European version that feels more like the old-school NES gamepad.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Game Room Keeps it Real

Mark Bussler keeps it real, sort of

How real does Game Room keep it? Real real. Really. No, Realli!

I'm still waiting on the photos from the Classic Game Room party. In the meantime:

Classic Game Room was recently reviewed by Bill "The Game Doctor" Kunkel. You can read what he has to say HERE. We're glad Bill took the time to watch the film, thank you!

In other news, I've had a few requests for autographed copies of the Classic Game Room DVD from Game Room fans, new and old alike. I'd be very happy to scribble all over your DVD or insert and make the DVD worth even less than it is now.

I'm still figuring out the easiest way to do this since we don't have any events scheduled at this time. If you are interested please post on my blog or drop me an email through TheGameRoom YouTube account. I appreciate all the kind words and support of Game Room viewers. It’s amazing that so many people remember our show from back in the day! Thank you!

Classic Game Room DVD package photo shoot

Pictured above is a shot from the photo shoot for the Classic Game Room packaging. The film has been very well received and with any luck will do well enough so that we can bring the rest of the series out and make some new films. It's too early to tell at the moment. It would be great to work with Dave again, I think we'd make a great film if we got the Game Room team back together again.

Classic Game Room needs to learn to pour a beer!

Another photo, this one had way too much foam!

In the meantime, when I'm not working on my new historical film, I've had some insomniac time to play with my new Xbox 360. I can see why everyone is really worked up about this thing and why a whole new generation is being introduced to classic games like Contra and Joust. Xbox Live is awesome! I've been sucked back into classics like Smash TV, Robotron 2084 and have played a few latenight games of Mortal Kombat 3 with a good friend from school. (Finish him #26!)

You have to imagine a bunch of 30-something guys on headsets talking about home repairs and kids while trying to rip their opponents' heads off, thus spewing blood all over the screen and winning. Ahhhh video games, bringing people together.

Forza 2

Pictured above is my Forza 2 Black Label Beer Lamborghini Gallardo. I do not drive that car in real life.... really. No, realli!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Classic Game Room

Do you know what day it is? It's Classic Game Room Release Day TM (Copyright 2007 Classic Game Room). It's like a national holiday except that the banks are still open. You can now officially buy Classic Game Room: The Rise and Fall of the Internet's Greatest Video Game Review Show and add it to your DVD collection.

If you alphabetize your DVD rack it can squeeze right in between Casablanca and Conan the Barbarian.

Yars' Revenge and the Atari 2600

The DVD is available at most online retailers and gamer sites. You can read the reviews and judge for yourself if you'd like it or not. Personally, I think it's entertaining and tells the tale of our Internet video game review show amid the turmoil of the dot-com bust. But then again I've got a bizarre sense of humor. I also enjoy Yars' Revenge.


I was interviewed by Betty Jo Tucker today for her online radio show. You can listen to the show HERE.


A few new reviews of Classic Game Room are seen online!

Old Skool Games review review

Adam Hunter's review


I'll post some pictures of my Classic Game Room party online this week. We're bringing in A-list celebrities, a petting zoo and four hundred cases of Black Label Beer. It's going to be insane. Or maybe I'm making this up. One thing is for certain, Yars' Revenge will be played.

Black Label Beer Lamborghini in Forza 2

Pictured above is the car I designed for Forza 2 on the Xbox 360, the Black Label Beer Lamborghini. I find this game disturbingly addictive. I'll have more pictures once I take it for a spin in Xbox-land. In the meantime it's back to work... Happy Classic Game Room day everyone!

Monday, August 27, 2007

360 Reasons to Love Atari

Math Gran Prix for the Xbox 360

I'll give you 360 to reasons to love Atari, or at least old school games in general. The Xbox 360. To celebrate the release of Classic Game Room on DVD this week I finally, after a year of research and price stabilization, went out and bought an Xbox 360. I had also collected all my pocket change for a year ($85) and cashed in my Discover card points, so it came out pretty cheap too. Nothing feels better than buying an Xbox with quarters and nickels. Or at least 1/4 of an Xbox with quarters and nickels. And dimes and pennies too.

Xbox 360 and Atari 7800

I had been on the fence regarding these game systems for a while, and actually didn't even want to get one until Dave (from the Game Room!) and a few other friends convinced me that Xbox Live was the greatest thing since sliced bread. And the fact is, they're right. Holy crap is it awesome. If I didn't have a busy life I'd just vegetate in front of Xbox Live forever. As it is, I must restrain myself from spending all night playing Robotron 2084 and Contra on Xbox Live. Stella won't let me spend all my time in front of it though, I've still got to live my real life and actually walk our dog in reality.

Stella hates Xbox

I am very impressed with the ease of getting it online and the interface for Xbox Live. I am very unimpressed with the fact that I have to buy all these "Microsoft" accessories, like their special HDMI cable, that cost a fortune. And I really could have used a 2nd controller. My Sega Genesis came with 2 controllers, so should this. On the other hand, the wireless controllers are very nice. I don't have to worry about my dog snagging the controller when romping by the rack and pulling a $400 game system to its doom. However, I prefer the Sony Playstation and Sega Genesis controllers to the Xbox controller.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Backwards compatible? The Atari 7800 is awesome because it plays 7800 and 2600 games. However, it won't play Xbox 360 games. Sad. I am a fan of backwards compatibility and believe the Atari 7800 was the first game system to offer this back in the 80's. I ran out and bought Halo 1 for the original Xbox (which I'd actually never played) for all of $10 and was thrilled to learn I could play it on my 360 with ease. The 360 downloaded something from the Internet for 10 seconds and then I was up and running. Fantastic.

Forza 2 vs. Math Gran Prix

Now let's talk about the games. Math Gran Prix for the Atari 2600 is the benchmark standard for racing games, how does Forza 2 compete? Well, the graphics are a bit better. So are the physics. Sadly Math Gran Prix does not offer an online option. However the math is very challenging.

Forza 2 is a lot of fun and offers great racing. The car selection isn't as good as what I would like to see, but the cars that are there are fantastic. And it's about time we got a Lamborghini Countach in a racing game, but where's the Lamborghini Jalpa!?

Anyway, I really like the fact I can design logos for the hood of the cars. I'm a geek that way. I'm looking forward to posting some images later of a few designs I'm working on in my spare time (which is not much). I personally think that $60 + tax for a game is very steep (I paid $55 used). You can get Math Gran Prix for about 10 cents online. But it all depends on what you're willing to spend for the latest and greatest technology. I doubt I'll be buying many "new" games because I really don't have much time to play them. However the $5 online classic games are right on.

A glass of Weltenburger Kloster

Cheers to the Xbox 360. In closing, I'm impressed with pretty much everything about the system except the astronomical price of the games and accessories. Probably because when I grew up and bought games they were 1/3 the price of this.

I also think that for this price it should come with an HD-DVD drive. But maybe that's just because I want one. I have not yet jumped on any HD video format just yet. I was thinking of getting a PS3 but the Xbox Live thing, combined with the fact my friends in NYC and Philly are getting 360's, pretty much sold me.

I see myself getting more classics like Ms. Pac Man and Gauntlet from Xbox Live. I also look forward to playing Bioshock and Halo 3 when the time comes. In the meantime, when I'm not working or living my normal life, you can find me on the couch with a glass of good beer like Weltenburger Kloster, a dog at my feet and an Xbox 360 controller in hand playing Robotron 2084 or Forza 2.

Classic Game Room is available HERE.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Westinghouse Film Production Update: 8/22

HDcam tape, DVCpro and MiniDV

Look at the size of that thing! That is an HDcam tape in the background (the big one), a DVCpro tape in the middle and MiniDV in the front. You could hurt someone with that HDcam tape.

I have spent the last two days digitizing HDcam high definition tapes into the editing system for the Westinghouse film. For those of you who don't know about the Westinghouse documentary, here is the official website:

We have a great deal of footage that came straight off 16mm film prints for the documentary. It was all transferred to HDcam in NYC a few weeks back. To name a few of the subjects: 1964 World's Fair, industrial films and turn of the century footage.

Some of my favorite shots are street scenes from the late 1890's and early 1900's that look as if you are standing there (and looking through black and white eyes). There's a lot of footage of Thomas Edison and subways and trains. It's pretty remarkable how clear and amazing they look.

Sony J-H3 HDcam player

Pictured above is the HDcam deck that I rented for a day to do all the work. The Sony J-H3. My plan now is to replace all of the standard definition (rough) footage from the film and replace it with the crystal clear HD shots.

HD Hard Drives holding the Westinghouse film

These are the hard drives that digitize and play back the HD footage. Pictured in this shot are about 1.8 terabytes of drive space, striped for HD use. They say Avid on them because they're left over from our old Avid Nitris editing system. I have since moved on to Adobe Premier Pro. Each has their advantage, but one thing remains the same. You need a ton of drive space to make a 2-hour high definition film. All in all I use about 10 terabytes of drive space when you take my backup drives into account. Can you imagine that 10 years ago?

Westinghouse is already available for pre-order on HERE. It will be released on April 8, 2008.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Classic Game Room Reunion!

Mark Bussler and David Crosson from Classic Game Room

Classic Game Room hosts David Crosson and Mark Bussler, circa August 2007.

I was able to meet up with Dave in NYC a few weeks ago and catch up. It had been about 2 years or so since we hung out and it was great to see him again and BS. We talked about movies and video games, shared our thoughts on the Xbox 360, HD-DVD, Blu-Ray, PS3 and whatnot. Dave pretty much sold me on finally getting a 360 for the Xbox Live feature alone. Oh ok.... twist my arm. I may finally get a new console system. I still want Blu Ray too. Damned format war.

Dave is doing very well and was bouncing off the walls with his usual excitement for living. He has changed careers completely (from video game reviewing) and maybe... just maybe.... someday, maybe... the Game Room might return... But as mentioned in the commentary on the film, we don't live in the same city anymore and we both have other professions and activities that consume our lives. But we'll see what happens with the Classic Game Room film being released on August 28th. If it sells like hotcakes in a hotcake festival on hotcake day, then maybe the studio will really want another one. I like hotcakes.

Mark and Dave from The Game Room, Sucka!

I think that given the right project we'd be happy to work together again. Perhaps on another Classic Game Room film, since we're both still into classic games. Or maybe a ninja movie, since we both fear and respect ninjas.


You never know how a film is going to be received and it's always a shock to learn how viewers react to what you've worked on for months. Do they like the pacing, story, editing, subject, plot, technical qualities, etc...? Or do they simply throw the dvd out the window and watch "E.T." for the 1000th time?

So far the Classic Game Room reviews have been excellent. I've been impressed that the reviewers have taken the time to dig into the disc and really appreciated what we were going for originally, as well as how it was mixed with the retrospective documentary and finished.

As a few people noted, Dave wasn't involved with the documentary, which I certainly would have preferred. But as I mentioned earlier, when my shooting budget for this project was about the cost of a PS3 there's not a lot I could do out of state. All travel was nixed.

In fact, if you've been reading my blog, you know I actually hijacked my Westinghouse documentary film crew and reshot the Game Room documentary scenes in HD with a steadicam. On used tape no less.

Classic Game Room being filmes

In any event, check out the reviews. Dave is as thrilled as I am that people remember out show years later and maybe someday the Game Room will Strike Back. Or Return of the Game Room. Whatever. It just won't have damned Ewoks.


DVD Talk Review

DVD Times Review Review

NationalGameDepot Review Review Review

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Westinghouse Production Update: 8/16

This past week I have been busy working with the DVCproHD master tapes of the Westinghouse documentary. These tapes contain the actual HD master footage that was shot for the film of the Westinghouse monument in Schenley Park, the George Westinghouse Museum collections, scenery and interviews.

George Westinghouse HD Production

The tapes are then fed into the editing system with this Panasonic AJ-HD1200A DVCproHD deck through an SDI cable. All in all it looks fantastic. I'm biased of course, but I know that everyone involved did a great job and it looks solid.

Westinghouse Film in Production

Next week I'll have a Sony HDcam deck in here to capture the high definition footage of Westinghouse industrial films, Westinghouse at the 1964 World's Fair and many other exciting Westinghouse related productions transferred from the 16mm film prints.

The Westinghouse DVD is already available for pre-order on HERE.

The pending Westinghouse Blu-Ray release is also available on HERE. I'll keep everyone posted of new information as it comes. In the meantime, with release dates pending, I guess I'd better finish this thing....

Wednesday, August 8, 2007 reviews Classic Game Room

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The website recently reviewed Classic Game Room. A highlight from their review:

"The shows are edited to great comedic effect, making good use of inappropriate music and goofy graphics. You'll see many squirrel heads superimposed over the bodies of people, and for me, that in of itself is worth the price of admission. The 2007 documentary that ties the shows together is actually more entertaining that the shows themselves, employing a hodgepodge of disjointed stock footage and bizarre music to give the show a "larger than life" feel."

Read the full review HERE.

However, they said we were bad actors and were predictable. Our acting was bad, I'll agree there. That was pretty much our intent. However, I'm not sure what was predictable... for instance, we set out to starve SeaMan, but in the end it was depriving him of oxygen that eventually got him. I never saw that one coming. Completely unpredictable!

Thank you to for the objective review of our objectionable review show.

Also, the Classic Game Room DVD Trailer was the #1 Recently Featured video on the YouTube Gadgets and Games section. This is the 2nd CGR promo video to be selected for that honor in a few weeks, I think there must be a Classic Game Room fan on the YouTube staff.

I am 100% involved in a new production but I have managed to squeeze out one last YouTube promo which will be up over the next week or so. I'll keep you posted, it'll probably be the final one. All my time is being devoted to my next film at the moment.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Review Update 8/6: Classic Game Room

Classic Game Room Edit Station-1

The first review of Classic Game Room is in! And it's good! Thank you to Betty Jo Tucker over at for taking the time to watch the film and for writing a positive review. Read it here. Then make sure you all click the 5 star rating and tell your friends. These aren't the droids you're looking for.

Thank you again, Betty Jo, for being a strong supporter of independent films. She's reviewed my films for the past several years now and will even be interviewing me on her Internet radio show on August 28th at 4pm Eastern Time. The website for her blogtalk radio program is HERE.

For those who don't know, Classic Game Room is a comedy documentary about the rise and fall of the turn of the century Internet television show, THE GAME ROOM. If you like classic video games, Atari, Sega Genesis, NES and enjoy frothy, hoppy beverages (aka beer), then you may very well enjoy Classic Game Room. Cheers.

DVD will be released on August 28th. You can buy it here.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Photographs: England Trip Day 9, Lake District

Derwentwater in the Lake District in England

Photos from my ongoing blog saga of our trip to England back in May. These photos are from the 9th day when we hiked hills and crags around Keswick in the Lake District. The photo above is of Derwentwater (lake) as seen from Castle Crag. We walked up there that morning and took some photos of the scenery.

Mark Bussler on top of Castle Crag in Keswick

I'm king of the world! Or at least I am king of my own, made-up reality. Anyway, Keswick was one of our favorite towns in all of England and the weather was perfect. After our morning hike we stayed on top of Castle Crag for an hour or so and then wandered back down to town. Next we made our way to Castlerigg Stone Circle.

Keswick and Derwentwater

On the map it looked like a short walk. It wasn't. We walked for about 45 minutes to an hour to get there. It was a nice walk but the real kicker was that it was uphill the entire way. The map didn't show that! Regardless, it was a great hike and I highly recommend it. The scenery was fantastic and made me want to hike more! One thing that was cool was watching those peaks in the distance, which are about 2000 feet tall, and seeing these little groups of "real" hikers climbing to the tops. I imagine the views from up there are stunning.

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle was another highlight of our trip. When people mention stone circles they always think of Stonehenge. We went to Avebury on our last trip to the UK and really enjoyed the fact we could walk around the stones and touch them. We were glad that Castlerigg was similar in that respect.

Castlerigg Stone Circle

ROCK! Me and my new pal, Mr. Stone. We must have lounged around Castlerigg for a few hours, the view is quite nice. You are surrounded by hills and fields and rolling clouds casting shadows on the peaks. My wife fell asleep in the field and I took pictures for a while. It was sad to leave but we were getting hungry.

Castlerigg Stone Circle

We made it back to town and enjoyed another evening in Keswick's vast array of pubs sampling different local beers. Their local brand is Jennings and the Cocker Hoop was my favorite. Northern English beer is some of the best in the world.

Jennings Cocker Hoop