To many reading this they will probably be thinking what in god’s name is a Gizmondo, in my opinion its a wonderful handheld console that really deserves much more attention than it receives and one person who agrees is author of the book Justin Castle, this book covers the entire life cycle of the Gizmondo from its design right up to its decline. The first thing that strikes me about the book is the quality, Justin is another self published retro gaming fan under the name of Castle Books, yes the same guy behind the fabulous Lemmings – The Ports Book (Reviewed) and I always take those facts in to consideration when reviewing books like this, the cover is a lovely gloss finish, simple but effective. The content starts with “How It all Began” its a fascinating read, understanding what actually went in to the launch of the Gizmondo and the subsequent early mistakes in the timeline of the machine. The inclusion of hard to find images, are a real bonus here, again capturing the history perfectly.
Next up is the meaty part of the book and maybe the part, most people will be interested in, GAME REVIEWS. Justin has reviewed every game, each of them covering two pages, the first page covers all the information about the game, details like the developer and publisher, release date and the price (both EU & US) and much more besides. There is a plethora of images per review, box art, game logo, menu screenshots and in-game screenshots, all in good resolution representing what each game looks like. The write up for each game covers a brief summary, thoughts on the graphics, sound, playability and an overall summary with a score at the end. The handheld is blessed with some fantastic games, Sticky Balls and for our North American friends, Hockey Rage 2015, a game very underrated but in the words of Justin
“A sleeper hit to coin a phrase, in my opinion, not a lot has been heard of people getting into this game, I hope this review will inspire some people to go out and get a copy”
The next section covers unreleased games, such as Supernaturals, and my personal favourite, Milo And The Rainbow Nasties, some images rarely seen before and certainly ones I’ve never seen and I consider myself informed on this console. It’s full of information like that, which highlights the level of research the author has gone into for the book. The next few sections cover the entire catalogue of accessories available, from cases and batteries to headphones and in car chargers, all with a brief descriptions and images. There’s a detailed hardware section that breaks down the full specs of the Gizmondo, lots of high resolution images showing the internals of the system and multiple images of the handheld from various angles. Finally towards the end of the book there is details on homebrew games and emulation, details on how to customise your Gizmondo menu system, and a full index which is a nice addition.
Overall, this is a must have book but sadly it’s no longer available to purchase in physical form but you can now get the PDF FREE, what are you waiting for go and click.
A niche book maybe, but a book for anyone learning about a system that rarely gets the press it deserves.
Retro head and key holder of RVG.