Could this be the perfect coffee table book?
We've seen an explosion in books celebrating retro video game history lately. One of the most prolific publishers is UK-based Bitmap Books, which is responsible for many of our favourites - including the excellent Super Famicom: The Box Art Collection. Their catchily titled 'Visual Compendium' series has...
The humble 2D shooter may have fallen out of favour with the mainstream these days, but it's certainly one of the most important genres in the world of video gaming. Were it not for Space Invaders – the shooter that arguably birthed a genre – then our industry may well have evolved in an entirely different fashion. During the '80s...
A minimalist trip down memory lane
We've seen lots of attractive coffee table art books aimed at retro gaming fans in recent times, which is no bad thing. Joining the ranks is a publication simply titled 8-Bit Art Book - by Ear Books - which pays homage to the visual quality of classic games spanning from 1975 to the early '90s. The author...
A wonderfully bizarre tour of the Mushroom Kingdom
He's undoubtedly one of the most recognisable faces ever to grace the box art of a video game, but aside from his blue-collar occupation and a dislike for turtles, fans in the early '90s didn't know a whole lot about Super Mario himself. Beyond the pixels onscreen and information found buried...
"Black leather jacket, black jeans, and a white T-shirt"
Despite the video gaming world's obsession with offering "cool" experiences such as shooting bad guys, driving fast cars and slaying monstrous dragons, the hobby had a very unfashionable reputation with the mainstream media prior to the start of the '90s. Gamers were seen as spotty, socially...
A fitting tribute to a beloved console
So much for the internet destroying printed media. In the past few years we've seen a wealth of amazing video game-related books, including Sega Mega Drive: The Collected Works, Britsoft and – still to come – the
Are you a bad enough dude to read this book?
Alongside the likes of Capcom, Konami and Namco, Data East was one of the quintessential software makers of the '80s arcade scene, but unlike those other firms it perhaps didn't have the pulling power to ensure long-term success. The company has long since been dissolved and its properties sold to the...
A timely reminder that Konami was really good at making games, once
Konami may be retreating from the production of video games these days but not so long ago the company was seen as one of the leading lights in the industry, challenging the likes of Capcom, Sega and Nintendo when it came to creating compelling, must-have experiences. This...
Super Famicom: The Box Art Collection launches this month, but we've been lucky enough to have the chance to thumb through an advance copy ahead of its official release. Published by Bitmap Books and created by fanatical Super Famicom fan Stu Brett, this 276 page tome highlights some of the best cover artwork of the 16-bit years.
Got any spare change?
It's hard to believe it now, but there was a time when the evolution of the video game industry happened not in the home, but at locations like bowling alleys, cinemas, bars and - if you're from the UK - humble fish and chip shops. While home consoles have been a massive part of gaming for decades, they traditionally lagged...
Hardcore Gaming 101 does it again
People love putting things in lists - it's human nature. Since the dawn of the internet however, such lists have taken on a life of their own; starved of time, short on attention and faced with a seemingly unlimited amount of free content, the average web user wants information delivered in the shortest time...
"I hit my head against the monitor hard enough to make the screen crack"
The term "labour of love" is often bandied around in media circles, usually relating to a personally important project by an artist writer, and while it's possibly overused in some cases, it most certainly applies to John Szczepaniak's quest to chart the hitherto unseen...
An evocative and surprising look at Nintendo's uncharted history
It's common knowledge that Nintendo has been around for over a hundred years, and that the company started out producing playing cards many decades before finding fame as a purveyor of interactive entertainment. However, the years in between are often overlooked by even the...
Game & Watch was Nintendo's first foray into the world of portable electronic gaming. These small, pocket-sized devices used LCD screens to create crude but surprisingly playable games, perfect for passing the time on the way to and from work (in fact, creator Gunpei Yokoi even stated that he was inspired to create the range after...
Going deep into the classics
The themes of Super Mario Bros. are such a prominent part of our culture that they're easily celebrated, but perhaps not so easy to truly appreciate. The tracks - especially the original Overworld/Ground Theme - pop up in so many places and are so readily playable in our heads that we can treat them as simpler and less...
To be this good takes AGES
Back in the early '90s Sega and Nintendo were hostile enemies, and this rivalry trickled down to the people who played their products. Anyone old enough to have experienced this period will no doubt recall the heated playground debates about which console was best, and the splintered friendships caused by something as...
A bloody good read
Castlevania is one of those franchises which will always be inexorably linked with Nintendo. The series became a household name thanks to its well-received NES outings, and in the days of the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS it strengthened this connection with six excellent "Metroidvania" releases. Although its future may well...
For how unique it is compared to other games in the Mario line, it’s amazing how easily Super Mario Bros. 2 is taken at face value or glossed over entirely. Many fans are happy to share the fact that the game is actually a reskin of Japanese title Doki Doki Panic after the original Super Mario Bros. sequel was deemed too difficult...
Charting a golden era
When journalist and novelist John Szczepaniak launched his Kickstarter campaign back in 2013 to record the hitherto undocumented story of Japan's game development community, there were a few raised eyebrows around the web. His funding goal was a lofty one, and the task seemed almost herculean in scope — he planned to travel...
An insightful history with a bit too much Blast Processing
It's crystal clear from the first page of Blake J. Harris' Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation that the book is destined for the big screen. With not one, but two movies based on Console Wars already in production before it even hit bookstore shelves– a...
There's more than one way to revisit the past
It's difficult to write about video games. Believe us, we know. The medium is, strictly speaking, a compound one. Whereas writing about works of art in most media entails a relatively straightforward discussion of how well or poorly the work in question used the tools available to that medium, writing...
Consulting the legendary tome
It’s amazing to think that a game which started out as a very basic action RPG on the NES has morphed into one of gaming’s most enduring and famous properties, sparking everything from emotional debate to hushed reverence whenever its name is uttered. The Legend of Zelda series - apparently inspired by creator...
To be this good takes ages
Those of you that like retro gaming will no doubt have already heard of the site Hardcore Gaming 101. Run by a team of super-knowledgeable and keen gaming enthusiasts, HG101 is bursting with content relating to vintage games and franchises. The site was founded by Kurt Kalata, who is the driving force behind Sega Arcade...
You might consider yourself a Nintendo expert, with innumerable facts and figures at your disposal, but even the most knowledgeable follower of the Kyoto company will find hitherto unknown realms of information in The History of Nintendo: Volume 1 — 1889 - 1980: From playing-cards to Game & Watch. The book made waves last year in...
Game over man
You won’t find an abundance of book reviews here on Nintendo Life – we’re aimed squarely at providing you the best content from the world of interactive entertainment, after all – but anyone who considers themselves to be a fan of The Big N (or video gaming in general) should read David’s Sheff’s Game Over (or Game Over:...