I enjoy receiving new books on video games, and it’s a huge bonus when you have an article in one. This week I received The Nintendo Entertainment System Compendium and NES Oddities & The Homebrew Revolution, which are really long titles for two items that will share some insights on a lot of games most don’t know about for one of retro’s favored systems. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve written for Hagen’s Alley before in the Complete SNES Collector’s Book & Ultimate Guide and the SNES Compendium, but I’m not here to sell anyone on anything as much as to make everyone aware of some cool resources that are out there. The two I’m mentioning today are the latest in a series of titles, but are a little more off the beaten path than simple resource tools.
Both books are the product of successful Kickstarters and available on Amazon or anyone interested could find out more information about all of the projects on the Hagen’s Alley website. These aren’t slim either. Each one has a hefty weight and comes stacked with plenty of pages on good quality paper. NES Oddities covers a slew of different games from around the world, carts and digital releases alike, with many uncommon selections. The entries here give basic information along with an image of the cover art and a screenshot. The write-ups feel like they need to be longer and go more in depth , but there is enough there to spur some genuine interest. The games are organized well and bookmarked by artwork that solidifies the warm tone of the project and had me reminiscing on several older ads. The cover for this one is really attractive as well with some great original artwork that I think will catch several eyes.
The NES Compendium though is a different type of collection, having many articles, extensive interviews, and a little more about the homebrew community. There are also many more full color beautiful nostalgia-inducing pictures as well as some excellent backgrounds for the writing pieces. Reading through some of these is incredibly satisfying. They are all personal accounts, much like my piece on Mega Man 3, but several of them are incredibly interesting for insights, even into my own stuff. Both of these have an extreme personal touch. Hearing why someone else loves a game is even more inspirational at times. I find this one comforting in a way, because my eyes will never get tired of seeing some of these pictures and the memories I associate with them.
These are both good coffee table books, but I plan on going through each again a couple more times. I have this ever growing list of games to check out and these books are constantly making that longer as I keep finding interesting titles. They take up a good bit of space on the shelf, but worth it, and it is nice to have a short reference guide for homebrew games if I need it. There is something cool about checking these out again when I can’t actually play games for whatever reason. I’ll show these off like the others, and look forward to the future books that are in the works, whether I’m a contributor or not.