Over the past few years Bitmap Books have been releasing visual compendiums of retro game consoles. They have done some sterling work for the ZX Spectrum, Commadore 64 and Amiga but when they started a Kickstarter last year to raise funds for a NES Visual Compendium I quickly backed that and so did many others, it sailed past its goal raising 8 times the required amount!. I've spoken at length about my love for the NES before and the chance to grab a book full of stunning pixel perfect artwork from some of the most formative games in the medium was too good a chance to pass up. I backed the 40 pound tier which meant I would get the book in a lenticular case, a chiptune CD, 50 glitches NES postcards and a Famicom Disc System laptop sticker and a digital copy of the book.
So after what seems like a millennia I finally received my copy of the book this weekend, but was it worth the wait?
Well to start off with the lenticular case enveloping the book snugly is a thing of beauty; sturdy and impressively weighted this feels like a premium item, not one built to cash in merely on nostalgia but to be a reference or coffee table book of substance. The book itself has a slipcase and the paper stock of the pages is of good quality, with the book containing over 500 pages it is a hefty tome but expertly crafted with sewn binding. The printed images are immaculate and crystal clear and the occasional interviews and smattering of quotes are nice touches. The reflections of gamers on individual NES titles is a thoughtful and personal touch and shows that this was a true labour of love.
There are a few titles given the privilege of gatefold pages which lay out the artistry behind these titles and a few of my favourites include Mario Bros 1, Punchout and Kirby's Adventure.
So the book is a very worthwhile purchase and a must for any NES/Famicom fan. The glitch postcards are a nice addition and as I've done some glitch art in class myself I really can see the beauty behind the broken. The sticker is fine and whilst not the finest of print quality it looks alright. The CD is a nice bonus and whilst I can't imagine listening to it that often it was a good incentive for the tier I bought in on.
Overall this is an essential purchase for NES fans and gamers as a whole as some of the art and games contained within have left a long lasting legacy in gaming. Beyond that, it's just a darned pretty book!