PAC'N HEAT: A Noir Homage To Ms. Pac-Man will be available November 2016! The Pac'n Heat Toronto Launch Party is Thursday Nov. 10th at See-Scape! Let's Meet The Contributors...
Caricature by Malcolm Jamison
Did you ever play Ms. Pac-Man?
I could take the easy way out and answer “not applicable” for questions 1 through 6 because I am OLD. When Pac-Man et al came out, I was engaging in far more unsavoury IRL pursuits. Video games weren’t even on my radar as fun times, although I likely would’ve gotten into less trouble had I hooked up with Ms. Pac-Man as my game of choice. Then again, maybe not. Ms. Pac-Man’s got Trouble written all over her.
Do you/did you play other video games?
Does pinball count? I seem to recall playing pinball in dodgy bars back in the day, a beer glass sliding off the machine, a smoke hanging out of my mouth, and drunkenly singing “Pinball Wizard” at the top of my lungs. I’m pretty sure that counts.
If so, what do you/did you find most appealing about video games?
I think what I would find most appealing is simply the bliss of escapism. Nah, who am I kidding? Killing without repercussions. Laying waste to other players. WINNING BY ANY MEANS POSSIBLE. Things like that, if I had to guess.
What do you/did you find most frustrating?
The thing I would find most frustrating is if I totally sucked at video games but kept playing them, thinking I’d improve but realizing it was futile. Blaming the game and playing it again and cursing myself for playing it again. Kinda like when I ride the TTC.
If you used to play video games and don’t anymore, why did you stop?
I would assume I stopped because of an intervention by concerned friends followed by a series of Video Gamers Anonymous meetings.
What video game do you wish existed?
Oh jeez, whatever I come up with has probably already been invented, for the little I know about video games. Maybe something literary where we could manipulate characters and plot-lines from classic novels? I’d start by making Old Yeller NOT DEAD.
What’s better? Original 80s or Retro 80s? And why?
Are we still talking about video games? Good lord, I’ve managed to bullshit my way through six questions about video games that I’ve never played, I don’t know if I can fake another answer. But since I partied my way through the 80s, I think the original 80s are better? Or maybe the retro 80s are better because that would be my hazy recollection of the original 80s, which might not have been as fun as I think they were.
What about Noir as a genre appeals to you?
FINALLY a topic I know something about. Noir appeals to me on every level. I enjoy a good mystery, I adore the flawed characters who populate noir. I love the dialogue. I love the bleakness in some traditional noir, the smoke, the jazz, the booziness, the totally politically incorrect sexiness, the corruptness and moral bankruptcy. Shit happens in noir, it doesn’t waste time with meandering descriptions of verdant meadows and fields of clover. Noir is a ride. Noir don’t apologize for nuthin’, doll.
What’s your favourite work of noir (book, comic, movie)?
Eek, I can’t pick a favourite! Love a good Chandler, Hammett, Spillane. Patricia Highsmith is my girl. Cornell Woolrich, Derek Raymond. Movies? Don’t even get me started, I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.
What are you reading these days?
I’m actually plowing through crime fiction detective novels right now. PD James, Rankin, Hill, Robinson, Rendell, etc., lots of Brits. When I’m not reading contemporary literature and being all highfalutin, I usually binge-read genre as a sort of palate cleanser. Noir, sci-fi, horror, old westerns, mysteries, anything but romance. My palate is too jaded for the sweetness of romance.
What else are you working on now?
I’ve got at least four short stories in various stages of completion, which is how I procrastinate finishing my next novel. So basically, I’m working on everything and nothing.