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.

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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

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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

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Production Update: Westinghouse 8/2

Westinghouse Documentary Film

What you are looking at is the opening shot of the new Westinghouse documentary film that I am producing. Actually two versions of the opening shot. The smaller one in the bottom left is the standard def cut of the film superimposed onto the HD edit of the film.

I have a 2 hour cut of the film with holding narration completed. That means my narration which eventually gets re-recorded by the professional narrator. I'm remaking the entire film in HD and cleaning up all the footage and photos. I took this shot with my cell phone so it doesn't show the clarity of the screen. That photograph is actually from the Westinghouse exhibit at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. Also known as the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition to elebrate the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 (they were one year late... again!).

I have not gotten official word yet from the distribution company on the release date of the film (which will be in spring of 2008) or the possible (cross your fingers) Blu-Ray disc release. It will be nice to see the film with all of the detail that I am putting into it. You can make out the detail in the plaster molding and W's around the light bulbs in the opening shot.

I don't even have Blu-Ray yet. I have not yet gotten my PS3 but I hope to soon. I'm still angered by the format war and the lack of PS3 games. Not like I have time to play them anyway. However, as prices subside, and with software titles like Blade Runner on the horizon, I'm going to have to jump on that bandwagon.

More Westinghouse film information will be posted here as well as on the official site

Westinghouse Film DVD