Tag: Book Review

  • Book Review Flicking Through The Vibrant World Of Yooka-Laylee And The Kracklestone

    Over a hundred pagies long

    The spiritual successor to the legendary bear and bird besties, Yooka-Laylee, nearly shook the earth when they were revealed through a Kickstarter project by Playtonic Games, the brand new studio made up of ex-Rare developers. Since the original reveal back in 2015, the team has managed to put out not just one, but two...

  • Book Review Sega Arcade: Pop-Up History - A Gloriously Decadent Tribute To A Golden Age

    Taikan your breath away

    To anyone who didn't experience them firsthand, it's hard to accurately convey the mesmerising power of amusement arcades in the '80s and '90s. A furious storm of light, sound and smell (the latter not always pleasant, we should add), your typical arcade was dominated by flashing screens and packed, jostling bodies. This was...

  • Book Review Japansoft: An Oral History - A True Treasure You Need To Read

    Celebrating the unsung heroes with this exceptional book

    A few years ago, British journalist and author John Szczepaniak launched a Kickstarter campaign with a grand vision – to document the memories of some of Japan's most influential yet underappreciated games developers. The result was an extensive three-volume series (and accompanying

  • Book Review Neo Geo: A Visual History

    The future is now

    We'll spare you the traditional spiel about how the Neo Geo was the pinnacle of gaming back in the '90s – if you own a Switch then chances are you're already intimately familiar with the amazing library of this beast, thanks to the fact that Japanese firm Hamster has been pumping out a stream of Neo Geo titles on the Switch eShop...

  • Book Review 101 Video Games to Play Before You Grow Up

    However long you take to grow up

    For gamers of a certain age, it's easy to forget that while we talk about the Console Wars, SEGA vs Nintendo, or reminisce about short naps while early CD games loaded, younger gamers may have no idea what we're talking about. There are also some franchises that have sketchy or limited recent histories, so therefore...

  • Book Review The Unofficial NES/Famicom: A Visual Compendium

    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...

  • Book Review Hardcore Gaming 101 Presents: The Guide To Shoot-Em-Ups Volume 1

    Bullet point

    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...

  • Book Review 8-Bit Art Book

    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 Stephan...

  • Book Review Super Mario Adventures

    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 within...

  • Book Review The Bitmap Brothers: Universe

    "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...

  • Book Review Nintendo 64 Anthology

    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

  • Book Review Hardcore Gaming 101 Presents Data East Arcade Classics

    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...

  • Book Review The Unofficial Guide To Konami Shooters

    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...

  • Gallery Cover To Cover With Super Famicom: The Box Art Collection

    Art attack

    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.

  • Book Review Artcade: The Book Of Classic Arcade Game Artwork

    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...

  • Book Review The 200 Best Video Games Of All Time

    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...

  • Book Review The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers: Volume 2

    "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 history...

  • Book Review Before Mario

    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 staunchest...

  • Book Review The Unofficial Game & Watch Collector's Guide

    LCD legacy

    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...

  • Book Review 33 1/3 - Koji Kondo's Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack

    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...

  • Book Review Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works

    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...

  • Book Review Hardcore Gaming 101 Presents: Castlevania

    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...

  • Book Review Boss Fight Books - Super Mario Bros. 2


    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 and...

  • Book Review The Untold Story Of Japanese Game Developers: Volume 1

    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...

  • Book Review Console Wars - Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation

    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...

  • Book Review Boss Fight Books - Chrono Trigger

    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...

  • Book Review The Legend Of Zelda: Hyrule Historia

    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...

  • Book Review Sega Arcade Classics Volume 1

    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...

  • Book Review The History of Nintendo Volume 1

    Let's-a go

    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...

  • Book Review Game Over: How Nintendo Zapped an American Industry

    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:...