The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers: Volume 1 by John Szczepaniak started out on Kickstarter, the campaign was successfully funded in June of 2013, smashing it’s £50,000 target and raised a mind-boggling £70,092. John has contributed to magazines like Retro Gamer, GamesTM, Pixel Nation and Hardcore Gaming 101, where he helped put together The Guide to Classic Graphic Adventures book, and was managing editor on the Sega Arcade Classics Volume 1 book.
After a quick scan through the book it became apparent that visually it’s not going to be in the realms of other more professionally presented retro books, in this instance content is king and I’m happy to say its got that covered with across an incredible page count of 500. Essentially the book is full of interviews with Japanese Game Developers who rarely get much press over in the West, so being able to read about what they went through during the heyday of gaming in their eyes really intrigued me.
John must spent weeks traveling around Japan getting these interviews with some of Japan’s finest developers and then getting them translated and edited for the book. My hat goes of to him as this must have been a huge task for all those involved, one thing that stands out is that John certainly has a talent for writing and editing. There are plenty of gems once you delve into the pages, reading up on Katsutoshi EGUCHI, Kouichi YOTSUI and many more really gives a fascinating insight to how things where in the Japanese gaming industry, the sheer amount of interviews here means you could well be coming back to this book for months on end.
I do have a few small gripes, firstly the book is not going to blow you away in the design stakes, then there is a lack of images within its pages and those that exist are low-res and some people will be a little confused by the general layout and the flow of the interviews but then again this book needs to be seen for what it is, it’s not trying to be the best retro gaming book your money can buy, it’s trying to fill your mind with stories that us here in the West would otherwise never have known and that makes this book well worth your money, perhaps more appropriate for the hardcore retroheads but if your thirsty for information on retro gaming then maybe this should be your next purchase.
Retro head and key holder of RVG.