Gaming in the Obscure – Book Review.

Gaming in the Obscure is a new book currently shipping around the world to all those that backed the original Kickstarter campaign and made this book become reality, it is the brain child of Johnny Blanchard, a man with an obsession obscure games machines and over the years he put together a pretty good collection. So he took that obsession and filled a book for us to experience the world of obscure gaming.

The book is A4 in size, and uses a landscape layout, what struck me instantly though was the stunning cover designed by Alex Storer, very modern style and certainly gives the impression of quality. The book consists of 160 full colour pages, the content is separated in the book via Generations, essentially the era the console was released into. In total there is 18 wonderful but obscure consoles covered, each console gets a total of eight pages, one page dedicated to a summary/description of the console, then three pages dedicated to external photographs of the console and lastly four games spread across four pages as selected by the author.

All of the images are crisp and bright, my one gripe here would be the external photos could be more polished but this is a book from an independent publisher, who is creating all the content more or less on his own so I find it hard to be too critical, in fact Johnny does cover this in his own words on the Kickstarter campaign description.

I made the decision to only include consoles I owned, this was so I could (where possible) record footage of games and take my own photos. I felt this was important rather than just buying stock images.

This book is clearly a labour of love for author, he wanted to share his passion with like-minded people like you and me, he has achieved that, the 18 consoles chosen are indeed obscure, many of them are on my wanted list, from the Bandai Pippin to the NEC PC-FX. I would have been nice to have had more consoles covered but I appreciate that Johnny only wanted to use the consoles that he owns, there is a possibility of a revised larger version of the book so we will wait and see any further announcements.

Johnny really has created a fantastic tome here, the paper used is 180gsm and the priniting throughout the book was faultless, a highly polished book on all fronts… ok it’s not going to reinvent the world of retro books, one could say it lacks a little depth and much of what is in the book is widely known but there is something special here, a unique concept and a celebration of the obscure that really is a joy to behold.

At this point the book is for Kickstarter backers only, once we have word on further distribution we will let you all know.


  • 7/10
    RVG Rating - 7/10


A unique concept for a book, perhaps lacking depth but a book that oozes style and lets face it, not many books celebrate this area of the retro scene.


Retro head and key holder of RVG.

%d bloggers like this: