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 NES Visual Compendium, all of which owe a debt to the web in some way, either thanks to crowdfunding or simply online word-of-mouth driving sales. Another fine tome to add to that list is the Nintendo 64 Anthology from Geeks Line. A Kickstarter campaign raised €67,593 earlier this year and now the finished product is here, and as you might expect it's an essential purchase for fans of Nintendo's 64-bit powerhouse.
Written by Mathieu "Math" Manent, the Nintendo 64 Anthology aims to be a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in the story of the system. Not only does it include an incredibly detailed history – which looks at the industry at the time of launch, the deal with Silicon Graphics and how Nintendo handled the announcement and release – but it also an A-Z guide to every game released on the console worldwide, an interview with the legendary Martin "GoldenEye" Hollis, hardware details, accessory profiles, collector's items, cancelled games and even a brief glimpse at some of the best (and worst) adverts for N64 titles.
The level of detail borders on the obsessive, but never becomes overwhelming. Even if you only have a passing interest in the N64 you'll still be interested to see all of the different colours the iconic controller was released in, or observe the various hardware bundles which launched internationally. The book strikes a near-perfect balance between text and imagery, filling each page with eye-catching photos and pin-sharp screenshots to such a degree that practically any page it falls open on has something to catch your attention.
The A-Z section includes information on each title, box artwork, screenshots and a small description giving you a flavour of the game in question. Naturally these mini-reviews are based on the opinion of the author, but in general Manent's verdicts are pretty much spot-on and it's abundantly clear that he's intimately familiar with each and every one of these titles. There are a few instances in the book where it's obvious that the author's first language isn't English, but they are few and far between – and such minor hiccups are preferable to not having the book in English at all.
Such a lavish product doesn't come cheap, however. The collector's edition of the Nintendo 64 Anthology costs $55.90 (approx £45 / €51) while the standard "classic" edition is $44.90 (approx £36 / €41) before you even factor in shipping, which makes this one of the more expensive books we've covered in a while. We dare say that it's more than worth that price though, packing in so much information, imagery and passion that you're unlikely to feel short-changed.
The N64 may not have matched its forerunner the SNES in terms of commercial success and software support, but it is unquestionably home to some of the best games ever made – Super Mario 64, Zelda: The Ocarina of Time and GoldenEye 007 being just three examples – and this book is the perfect way to truly celebrate the legacy of one of Nintendo's most remarkable platforms.