The Unofficial SNES/Super Famicom: A Visual Compendium is the latest release from Bitmap Books, this is another beautiful volume in a long list about retro video games. We recently reviewed The Unofficial NES/Famicom: A Visual Compendium and this is another stunning example of what A Visual Compendium should look like.
The book comes in a stunning protective board slipcase which has a lenticular fascia. The book itself features a spot varnished protective dust jacket and measures in at 170mm x 230mm so a perfect size to show it off on your coffee table. The printing technique is once again lithographical which provides some simply sublime results. Those that own previous editions from Bitmap Books will know what I mean here. The colours are really vibrant and the pages have a high-quality feel to them. Another great thing about this book is the ability to lie the it flat due to its ‘thread sewn’ binding allowing all the imagery to be fully enjoyed.
As the name suggests the book focuses on the Super Famicom from Japan and the SNES from across North America and Europe, the book starts out with details of the team involved in the books creation, then a fully fledged, contributors and contents area before a short foreword from Steve Mayles of Rare fame. Essentially the book represents a visual snapshot of the best games, developers, box art and product design from across the aforementioned territories. Capturing some of the best games the console had to offer, from Act Raiser to Zoku: The Legend of Bishin, I can not overstate how stunning each page looks, really showing of how great these games really look.
There is well over 200 games featured, including unreleased tiles. The addition of some Homebrew games really was a nice and unexpected treat, it shows the level of research Sam and his team at Bitmap Books have gone too yet again. As you would expect there are a few interviews, some being key figures like Kev Bayliss and Chris Sutherland from Rare. Some high-profile gaming companies also feature in the book, Argonaut Software and Hudson Soft are two examples, its fascinating to read that a company like Argonaut Software would crack a copy protection system on Nintendo’s newly released Gameboy just to get their attention is mind-blowing and just an example of the content within this book, could you imagine a large software house trying that these days?
I would be amiss as I review this book if i was to not mention the gatefold pages spread throughout the book, games like Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Final fantasy III/ VI and many more get this treatment, simply adding a chance for you to pause and just admire the pixel perfect game imagery and that of the printing technique.
There is simply so much content in this book, well over 500 pages all told, a book for you MUST have in your collection, this is a book that should be celebrated as much as its contents and one I’m not ashamed to give full marks to.
Retro head and key holder of RVG.