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|Born||January 9, 1974|
Escanaba, Michigan, U.S.
|Occupation||Journalist, author, screenwriter|
|Genre||Journalism, fiction, criticism, video games|
|Notable works|| The Disaster Artist |
The Mosquito Coast
Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter
Tom Bissell (born January 9, 1974) is an American journalist, critic, and writer, best known for his extensive work as a writer of video games, including The Vanishing of Ethan Carter , Battlefield Hardline , and Gears 5 . His work has been adapted into films by Julia Loktev, Werner Herzog and James Franco.
Bissell studied English at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. In 1996, when he was 22 years old, Bissell went to Uzbekistan as a volunteer for the Peace Corps.He was there for seven months before returning home. He worked as a book editor in New York City and edited, among other books, The Collected Stories of Richard Yates and Paula Fox's memoir Borrowed Finery. He is a frequent reviewer for The New York Times Book Review .
Bissell's father served in the Marines during the Vietnam War, alongside author and journalist Philip Caputo. The two remained friends during Bissell's childhood and Caputo read Bissell's work and encouraged him in his early writing efforts.
Bissell has written for Harper's Magazine , Slate , The New Republic,and The Virginia Quarterly Review, where he is a contributing editor. While much of Bissell's magazine writing could be considered travel writing, his articles are more concerned with politics, history, and autobiography than tourism.
As a journalist he traveled to Iraqand Afghanistan during wartime.
Bissell's literary work has been recognized and highlighted at Michigan State University in their Michigan Writers Series.
His book in collaboration with Jeff Alexander, "Speak, Commentary", is a collection of fake DVD commentaries for popular films by political figures and pundits such as Noam Chomsky, Dinesh D'Souza and Ann Coulter.
His other books have earned him several prizes, including the Rome Prize, the Anna Akhmatova Prize, and the Best Travel Writing Award from Peace Corps Writers. His journalism has been anthologized in The Best American Travel Writing, and The Best American Science Writing.
In 2005, Pantheon published a collection of Bissell's short fiction, God Lives in St. Petersburg: and Other Stories. In the same year, his story "Death Defier" was published in the Best American Short Stories. His story "Aral" inspired Werner Herzog's 2016 film Salt and Fire .
In Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter (2010), Bissell explored the subject of the video game industry. Part memoir, part genre criticism, the book features a profile of Gears of War series game designer Cliff Bleszinski, who had achieved celebrity-like status for the hit video game Gears of War , and a chapter on the appeal of games like Grand Theft Auto IV , including Bissell's own simultaneous struggles with addiction to video games and cocaine. Many of the book's essays were written on assignment by established publications such as The Observerand The New Yorker , and argued the importance of videogames as a cultural and social movement. That year, Bissell was recognized as one of the video game industry's most influential voices opening the door to more opportunities in video games. Bissell went on to write for many hit game franchises, and in 2019, would become the lead writer and an executive producer for an anthology television series based on the non-fiction book Masters of Doom based on the industry's early days.
Bissell wrote about the cult film The Room in a 2010 article ("Cinema Crudité") published in Harper's Magazine.In May 2011, he signed on to co-write (with actor Greg Sestero) a closer look at the film – the resultant book, The Disaster Artist , was published by Simon and Schuster in October 2013. It was later adapted into the feature film The Disaster Artist directed by James Franco and released in 2017. The script adaption of the book was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2017.
Bissell's story "Expensive Trips Nowhere" was filmed as The Loneliest Planet (2011). In 2021, he co-developed the television series The Mosquito Coast based on the novel of the same name.
While Bissell has been critical of neo-conservatism, the Bush administration, and American unilateralism, his politics often do not fit within established categories of American liberalism and conservatism. Much of his work is concerned with the legacy of the Soviet Union and Communism.He has cited Philip Caputo as a major influence, along with Michigan writers Jim Harrison and Thomas McGuane. He has called Martin Amis his favorite living writer, and he has praised Inside Story as Amis' most beautiful book.
Jeffrey Kent Eugenides is an American novelist and short story writer. He has written numerous short stories and essays, as well as three novels: The Virgin Suicides (1993), Middlesex (2002), and The Marriage Plot (2011). The Virgin Suicides served as the basis of a feature film, while Middlesex received the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in addition to being a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the International Dublin Literary Award, and France's Prix Médicis.
Metal Gear is a franchise of techno-thriller stealth games created by Hideo Kojima. Developed and published by Konami, the first game, Metal Gear, was released in 1987 for MSX home computers. The player often takes control of a special forces operative, who is assigned the task of finding the titular superweapon, "Metal Gear", a bipedal walking tank with the ability to launch nuclear weapons.
Cliff Bleszinski, popularly known as CliffyB, is an American video game designer, known for his work in the development of the Unreal and Gears of War series. After working at Epic Games from 1992 to 2012, he co-founded Boss Key Productions in 2014.
David Hayter is a Canadian-American actor, screenwriter, director, and producer. He is well known as the English-language voice actor for Solid Snake and Naked Snake in the Metal Gear video game series. He wrote the film X-Men and co-wrote X2 and Watchmen, and was awarded the Saturn Award for Best Writing in 2000 for his work on X-Men. Hayter voices King Shark on The Flash.
Jennifer Hale is a Canadian-born American voice actress. She is best known for her work in video game franchises such as Baldur's Gate, Mass Effect, Metal Gear Solid, BioShock Infinite, Metroid Prime, Overwatch, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. In 2013, she was recognized by Guinness World Records as the most prolific video game voice actress.
Raymond Benson is an American writer known for his James Bond novels published between 1997 and 2003.
A novelization is a derivative novel that adapts the story of a work created for another medium, such as a film, TV series, stage play, comic book, or video game. Film novelizations were particularly popular before the advent of home video, but continue to find commercial success as part of marketing campaigns for major films. They are often written by accomplished writers based on an early draft of the film's script and on a tight deadline.
Gears of War is a 2006 third-person shooter video game developed by Epic Games and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It is the first installment of the Gears of War series, and was initially released as an exclusive title for the Xbox 360 in November 2006. A Microsoft Windows version, developed in conjunction with People Can Fly, was released in November 2007. The game's main story, which can be played in single or co-operative play, focuses on a squad of troops who assist in completing a desperate, last-ditch attempt to end a war against a genocidal subterranean enemy, the Locust, and save the remaining human inhabitants of their planet Sera. The game's multiplayer mode allows up to eight players to control characters from one of the two factions in a variety of online game modes. Gameplay features players using cover and strategic fire in order to win battles.
Thomas Pierre Wiseau is an American actor and filmmaker. He is known for writing, producing, directing, and starring in the 2003 film The Room, which has been described by many critics as one of the worst films ever made and has gained cult status. He also co-directed the 2004 documentary Homeless in America and created the 2015 sitcom The Neighbors.
The Room is a 2003 American independent romantic drama film written, produced, executive produced and directed by Tommy Wiseau, who stars in the film alongside Juliette Danielle and Greg Sestero. Set in San Francisco, the film is centred around a melodramatic love triangle between amiable banker Johnny (Wiseau), his deceptive fiancée Lisa (Danielle) and his conflicted best friend Mark (Sestero). A significant portion of the film is dedicated to a series of unrelated subplots, most of which involve at least one supporting character and are left unresolved due to the film's inconsistent narrative structure. The work was reportedly intended to be semi-autobiographical in nature; according to Wiseau, the title alludes to the potential of a room to be the site of both good and bad events. The stage play from which the film is derived was so-called due to its events taking place entirely in a single room.
Michael V. Capps or Mike Capps is an American video game designer who was the president of Epic Games, based in Cary, North Carolina from 2002 to 2012. In 2018, he co-founded a new artificial intelligence company called Diveplane Corporation. He has been described as "a legendary figure in the video game industry."
Gary Leslie Whitta is an English screenwriter, author, game designer, and video game journalist. He was the editor-in-chief of both the UK and US editions of PC Gamer magazine and a contributor to the gaming magazine ACE.
Damon S. Baird is a fictional character in the Gears of War franchise. He first appeared in the first and eponymous video game of the series as a supporting character. He has since appeared in every mainline installment of the Gears franchise, and is featured as the main protagonist of the spin-off title, Gears of War: Judgment. He is voiced by Fred Tatasciore in all video game appearances.
Gregory Sestero is an American actor, filmmaker, model and author, best known for his role as Mark in the 2003 cult film The Room, as well as for his well-received memoir The Disaster Artist, detailing his experiences making The Room, which itself was later adapted into a 2017 film.
Ludonarrative dissonance is the conflict between a video game's narrative told through the story and the narrative told through the gameplay. Ludonarrative, a compound of ludology and narrative, refers to the intersection in a video game of ludic elements (gameplay) and narrative elements. The term was coined by game designer Clint Hocking in 2007 in a blog post.
The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made is a 2013 non-fiction book written by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. Sestero details the troubled development and production of the 2003 cult film The Room, his own struggles as a young actor, and his relationship with The Room director Tommy Wiseau.
Fiction Writers Review is an online literary journal that publishes reviews of new fiction, interviews with fiction writers, and essays on craft and the writing life. The journal was founded in 2008 and incorporated as a non-profit organization in Michigan in 2011. In 2012 it received 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
Gears of War is a media franchise centered on a series of video games created by Epic Games, developed and managed by The Coalition, and owned and published by Xbox Game Studios. The franchise is best known for its third-person shooter video games, which has been supplemented by spin-off video game titles, a DC comic book series, seven novels, a board game adaptation and various merchandise.
Kill Screen was a print and online magazine founded in 2009 by Jamin Warren and Chris Dahlen and owned by Kill Screen Media, Inc. It focused on video games and culture, but also included articles based on entertainment. The name is based on the video game term of the same name.
The Writer Will Do Something is an interactive fiction video game written by Matthew S. Burns and Tom Bissell and created using Twine.