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Game Boy World: 1990 Vol. 1 | Black & White Edition: A History of Nintendo Game Boy (Unofficial and Unauthorized) (Volume 2) Paperback – May 1, 2016
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In fact: This even motivated me to start collecting original Gameboy cartridges! Each game is described in great detail, even up to the point of detailed description of the gameplay and even background information on "ghost" development studios! Each game-entry also features lots of screenshots and photos of the packaging, manual and cartridge! Very nice work! There are some flaws though, which make this series hard to enjoy for me. The main gripe I have with the writing is, that Jeremy seems to be overly negative about most games on the Gameboy. In many if not most articles, he goes into great detail about how bad and (in his opinion) flawed a certain game is. This is fine of course and no game is perfect (except for Tetris ;-) ) but he seems to do it WAY too much for my taste.
Take the very first game shown in this book, for example: Wizards and Warriors X: Fortress of Fear. Jeremy describes it as being the worst game released up until that time for the Gameboy, "offering nothing of value"! Thats a VERY harsh description for this game for sure. He even compares it to the "bad" Gameboy release "Baseball" from 1989 and considers Baseball to be a better game! Comparing games of completely different genres is one thing (and in my opinion not very professional either) but constantly comparing this portable game to a similar NES release takes the cake. He often acknowledges that the Gameboy's technical capabilities are very limited and below the capabilities of the NES, yet he compares Fortress of Fear to the NES release "Ironsword", complaining that the NES game had better gameplay and overall much more to offer. For one thing, that's pretty much still the case for most portable games released even today in 2016. Jeremy himself writes, that the Gameboy was underpowered even for 1989, yet he keeps on comparing quite a few games to "bigger" NES releases. This is ok if you keep it neutral but Jeremy seems to use that as a "fact" that the Gameboy game "Fortress of Fear" is bad.
I bought this game because I liked the artwork and I can definitely tell you, that this game is not as bad as Jeremy makes it out to be. He is right that this game has some cheap deaths and frustrating parts but overall, it is very much enjoyable. The controls are tight and precise and the graphics are good for a GB game from the early 1990s. It also offers an amazing soundtrack with many tunes sounding like 8-Bit Metal songs from the late 80s! Jeremy doesn't even mention the music of this game at all! In fact: besides the article about Tetris, I pretty much never saw him mention the music of a particular game in any article. For me, apart from gameplay and graphics, the music is a VERY important and integral part of a game. It transports the mood, creates atmosphere and it entertains, yet it can also be a very negative aspect as well like in the NES Ghostbusters game having one tune playing on repeat the entire game.
With this example, I wanted to point out the flaws of this book. Jeremy focuses WAY to much on negative aspects of every single game, going into great detail about many (even tiny) negative aspects of each game. The book feels extremely biased because of that.
Jeremy writes in the introduction, that he tries to judge "... these games as creations of the times and technology that birthed them." But a few sentences later he states, that he "... evaluates how well it [the game] holds up two decades later...". So he tries to judge each game by todays standards, as well as the standards of 1990? Pretty tough and in my opinion, he clearly leans towards the former, often criticizing a games difficulty. Today it is common for videogames to "hold hands", but in 1990 games were tougher and gamers also should take a look into the manual from time to time :-)
I know that I went into great detail about the negative aspects of this book myself. It is meant as a fair warning because in my opinion, this book is far from neutral and very biased. I wished Jeremy would focus more on the positive sides of each game: graphics, design, music, gameplay, originality and on the achievements and skill of developing such games on such a limited hardware instead of pointing out every single negative aspect of each game. Focusing more on positive aspects of each game would balance the tone of this book into more neutral territory. As of now, it is heavily leaning towards the negative side of things or neutral descriptions of the gameplay.
It's not perfect, but this book still has a LOT to offer. Very detailed descriptions of each game (like mentioned above), very good photos of each game complete in box, as well as very clean screenshots and lots of background-info. I don't recommend buying the b/w version though, which seems to have a poor print quality of the photos. The entire project seems to be very promising and you clearly see how much work and effort goes into every article, youtube-video and book. If the next releases get a more balanced opinion on these games, this will be the perfect compendium for Gameboy fans and enthusiasts!