The Unofficial NES/Famicom: A Visual Compendium
Image: Damien McFerran / Nintendo Life

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 already tackled the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amiga - and now it's the turn of a console. Not just any console, either - we're talking about the mighty NES (or Famicom to our Japanese friends).

Of course the NES needs no introduction here at Nintendo Life, so let's just dive straight into the book. This visual compendium aims to showcase the very best pixel art, box art and product design on the NES. Each of the 536 pages is jam-packed with attractive pixel art along with mini reviews from contributors as revered as ex-Mean Machines' Julian Rignall and former Rare designer Kev Bayliss. Steve Jarratt - famous for launching UK publications such as Total!, EDGE and Official Nintendo Magazine - is sat firmly in the editor's chair, while our very own Damien McFerran has contributed several in-depth company profiles and interviews.

The book is overflowing with attractive schematics, bespoke pixel art, great interviews and tidbits which you might not have known previously. If you're a fan of the NES - or Nintendo in general - then this really has a bit of everything. As you might expect from the title, the focus is on striking imagery but there's more than enough written content to keep you busy here, including exclusive interviews with the Pickford Brothers, Bayliss himself and illustrator Tom Dubois.

Every now and then you'll stumble across fold-out sections such as a Kirby's Adventure spread which spans 4 pages. It's nice to see the pixel art showcased in such a way and it makes a nice change as you thumb through the book. It even looks good when you're not reading it - the tome comes protected in a tough slipcase which sports a rather attractive lenticular fascia.

While British players will have a soft spot for the likes of the ZX Spectrum and C64, it's wonderful to see Bitmap Books has now expanded its Visual Compendium series to include consoles, and we personally can't wait to see what the publisher tackles next.

The Unofficial NES/Famicom: A Visual Compendium is available now direct from the publisher or via Funstock.

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