Knowledge is at our fingertips with the stroke of a keyboard. Information about any game that’s ever been and games that are on the horizon are just minutes away. I love where technology is now. I learned about games I would have never heard of otherwise as I explore the endless ocean that is the SNES/Super Famicom library.
While accessing information in seconds digitally is nice, I love physical books, magazines, strategy guides, instruction manuals, etc. It could be I grew up in an age where you either got the latest news about video games from your friends or from gaming magazines. Just turning the pages of Nintendo Power or GamePro brought me great joy (then and now).
Nowadays physical books about games seems to have become a lost art. However there are a few outlets preserving this niche market. One instance is Brett Weiss, the author of The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and its Games Volume 1 which covered titles from A-M. Now, he has recently released Volume 2 which covers SNES titles N-Z which I will review today.
The very first thing you will notice is the eye-catching cover. It’s glossy and it’s almost like the controller is popping out of the book. If you look at the back cover, it displays the boxart for various games such as Super Mario World, Street Fighter II, Star Fox, and NBA Jam T.E., among others.
The SNES Onmibus Volume 2 promises to give an informative viewpoint of all North America released Super Nintendo games from N-Z that were released during the system’s lifespan (1991-1998). One notable exception is it does include a spot for Star Fox 2, which was only officially released in 2017 with the SNES Classic. The book includes gameplay descriptions, reviews, factoids, historical references, quotes from old-school video game magazines, tidbits from industry insiders and more than 2,000 full-color images. Let’s take a look inside.
We are treated to an interesting foreword from Ben Reeves, a senior editor of Game Informer Magazine. He talks about the some of the history and technical aspects of the Super Nintendo that even I didn’t know. Next, we are given a preface from the author, Brett Weiss, who talks about how the idea of creating this book came to be.
Let’s move on to the games section. Each game is given 1 or 2 pages worth of detail. They all start with a profile of the game in question, stating historical information about the title. Then there’s “notable quotables”(rolls right off the tongue). Notable quotables takes quotes from various sources. To my surprise, I found quotes from our very own SNES Hub within the pages. I also saw quotes from our friends at rvgfanatic and honestgamers. There were also quotes taken from vintage game magazines such as GamePro, GameFan Magazine, and SuperPlay, among others. Most titles in this book have two or more notable quotables. Many of these quotes read like mini-reviews. Some of the games have Fun Facts; just simple tidbits about the title you may or may not know. For instance, I did not know there was a hidden game called Tiny Phalanx on a Playstation 1 game called Zero Divide.
Lastly, each game’s page has a section called Insider Insight. I want to make clear the insiders featured here didn’t have anything to do with the actual making of the game they talk about. They are insiders in the sense they are active in the gaming community. A few insiders (87 in all) who contributed were Chris Baker, who worked for Marvel, LucasArts and Gazillion, Kevin Bunch, a writer for Digital Press video game fanzine, and Catherine DeSpira, who is involved in preserving the history of video games.
After all the games have had their spotlight, there are 3 articles in the back. They are editorial pieces about the Super Gameboy, Super Metroid and the Super Scope 6. Finally, we get some background information on all the insiders that provided their input for this project.
Here is my thoughts on the SNES Omnibus Volume 2: It’s big and beautiful. It’s well designed, well made, sturdy and I didn’t notice any typos or grammatical errors through my initial readings. It would make a fine piece of literature to anyone who cares about the Super Nintendo. It would also be a great addition for any collectors, die-hards, coffee tables or gaming dens. I appreciated all the old gaming ads in the book which I remembered many of those selected. It reminded me of my youth.
There is one thing I didn’t like about the book. Some of the pages had a very noticeable amount of empty space in them. Most pages were perfectly filled with content. However the ones that weren’t felt strange and awkward. Perhaps more pictures could have been added to fill up the space? I don’t know. Other than that, I found no other real faults with the book.
One could say most of the information contained in SNES Omnibus Volume 2 could easily be found doing an internet search. However those of you like me, who grew up in an age where the latest information came from a magazine you got in the mail once a month, will cherish being able to hold onto something physical like this.
I thoroughly enjoyed the content in SNES Omnibus Volume 2, and if you still have a lovejones for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, I think you will too.
You are able to purchase SNES Omnibus Volume 2 on Amazon.
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