There are lots of gamers out there who seem to love physical media. Whenever a digital-only game gets a sudden print run on card or disc, people go crazy! Also, plenty of gamers love books - especially books on games. There have been countless tomes released over the last few years; practically every topic has been covered.
In Japan, the same love of print and physicality is taken even further. The Okura Mook series of books has been covering different genres and hardware for ages, and has outdone itself with a great book on LCD games.
Nintendo fans would be no stranger to some of the games in this book. The Nintendo Game & Watch series is covered extensively, giving in-depth information on each game. The most obscure details are covered. For example, who knew that the release date for Green House was 6 December 1981?! Surely, I did not.
Nintendo is not the only star of the show in this book though, as Bandai, Tomy, Mattel, Epoch and more are featured here. It should be noted that in the early days of gaming Epoch and Nintendo were huge rivals. Not quite at the level of a Console War, but they were competitive games companies in Japan in the late 70s and early 80s
Though the book is in Japanese, you don’t need any ability in the language to admire the unique designs of each LCD game unit. Many followed the Game & Watch “square and thin” style, yet others copied their respective arcade cabinet or went with something unique. That is one of the great things about these types of games - each one is its own experience. Considering how many gigabytes games take up these days, its just a marvel to see a fully playable game put into such a restricted space in original ways every time.
The one unfortunate thing about the LCD games is that you need the original hardware to play them. There are a few browser games out there and the Game & Watch Collections, but most of these games are not playable by emulated means. With that in mind this book - if you're in Japan and can track it down - makes for a great crash course in the primordial days of handheld gaming.