Geeks Line Publishing
This French company has been creating fine tomes on video games for years, and has covered consoles such as the N64, GameCube, PlayStation and Super Nintendo. The latter is subject to a frankly insanely massive, double-book release which not only covers every aspect of the console's hardware – right down to a component level – but also devotes plenty of page space to the system's massive library. It is, quite honestly, the ultimate resource for SNES fans.
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The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers
When former video game journalist John Szczepaniak decided to crowdfund a project that would see him travel to Japan to unlock stories of game development before they were lost forever, the response was remarkable. After many years of blood, sweat and legal problems, Szczepaniak's masterwork is now complete with the release of the third and final volume in the series, and these books are utterly essential reading to anyone who has even a passing interest in Japanese games.
Sadly, Szczepaniak has since stated that despite the success of the initial Kickstarter campaign, the venture has actually left him out of pocket. Here's hoping that over time, his work will grow in stature, because there are stories and anecdotes contained within the pages of these books which have never been seen before, and - given the advanced age of some of these developers - may never be told again. The accompanying DVD is also well worth a purchase, assuming you can track down a copy.
In 2019, edited highlights from these books have been released as part of Read-Only Memory's Japansoft: An Oral History.
Originally released in 1993 under the rather wordy title Game Over: How Nintendo Zapped an American Industry, Captured Your Dollars, and Enslaved Your Children, David Sheff's oft-quoted book is focused mainly on the success of Nintendo during the '80s and early '90s, but also covers the wider console industry and contains loads of amazing stories from the period, often taken from exclusive interviews with those who were there.
It has been reprinted twice (as Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World in 1994 and as Game Over: Press Start to Continue – The Maturing of Mario in 1999) but is currently out of print, and as you might expect, it fetches a handsome price on the secondary market. Even so, it's well worth seeking out as Sheff was afforded a remarkable degree of access at a time when Nintendo - certainly its Japanese operation - was still something of a mystery to Westerners. If you crave the definitive history of the company from this period, this is a must-have - although the high value on the secondary market is slightly off-putting.
Read-Only Memory Books
UK publisher Read-Only Memory has produced a string of gorgeous coffee-table books over the years, and its latest project - a pop-up book which covers Sega's amazing 'Taikan' line of coin-ops - has just been crowdfunded. Sega Mega Drive / Genesis: Collected Works and Sega Dreamcast: Collected Works are must-haves for any Sega fan, while Britsoft: An Oral History and Sensible Software: 1986-1999 are equally excellent.
NEO-GEO: A Visual History
Another downright essential purchase from Bitmap Books is this amazing (and officially-sanctioned) guide to the world of Neo-Geo – which includes the original AES / MVS system as well as the Neo-Geo Pocket series. SNK has thrown open its archive for this massive tome, so expect lush artwork, amazing photography and exclusive interviews.