Playing With Power: Nintendo NES Classics book is wonderfully bound in a glorious looking cover and an even nicer slip case, which will help prevent the book from getting damaged. The inside of the book, however, has to be one of the poorest books I’ve reviewed in a while in terms on paper quality and those all important nice touches to make you feel like you have a quality book in your hand.
Essentially the book has 300 pages of content, starting with a foreword by Don James, Nintendo of America’s Executive Vice President Operations. He talks about his time at Nintendo which, I must say, really is a fascinating read. You are then thrust into the book starting with a breakdown of the NES and then lots of information about the launch of the system. Most of this is based on the US launch but I still found it interesting reading about the first-party release titles, the likes of Excitebike, Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros. and Hogan’s Alley.
Each one of the games covered has a summary of the game, how to play, detailed information of the game and gameplay tips and tricks and in some cases full maps and this is where we will see the first glaring mistake because book promises to have a complete Overworld map and guide to all the dungeons. Sadly for unknown reasons it’s simply not there, just a title and introduction saying describing it, and then nothing.
The book is considered to be a companion book for the recently released NES Mini because all the games in the book are built into that system. Sadly though, not every game is in the book which is, quote possibly another error. While I understand that covering every game in the same manner as the ones already in the book would have taken up a huge amount of pages, they could have covered others in brief summary pages. I guess that because some of the games on the NES Mini are third-party titles, like Double Dragon, Bubble Bobble and Final Fantasy, and this is an official book, we really shouldn’t be surprised some titles are missing!
My overall feelings on the book are somewhat on the fence, so to speak. I did pick this up for a bargain busting £10 in a local discount book store. Had I had paid the full retail price I would have been very disappointed but, for the money I paid, I’m happy. So this is a book for those who need everything Nintendo on their shelves but if you’re a retro fan in general and you can get it at a bargain price then you could do worse.