In the last year, Nintendo hit yet another home run with the release of the SNES Classic. It’s proof that there is an undeniable hunger for classic games from the bygone era of 16-bit games. It’s with this in mind that I cracked open The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A–M) by Brett Weiss. This book is a gaming tome clocking in at over 400 pages and weighing over 4 pounds; it’s a big boy! Remember – this is only the first volume!
Laying the Foundation
Every game in this book gets its own page, an opportunity to shine as readers make their way down the catalogue. Every game has its information laid out in a similar manner, which lends a sense of uniformity. It always starts out with the author giving an in-depth description of the game along with some details regarding the gameplay.
These introductions feel mechanical, but they still play an important role. It lets readers completely unfamiliar with any of these titles get a sense of what they’re about, which is critical considering how obscure some of these games are. It sets a nice table for the rest of the information that follows.
Heart and Soul
The dry introductions quickly pivot to snippets of reviews along with thoughts from the people who played these games. The author also contributes some of his own personal memories. This is where the magic of this book really kicks in. It’s through these stories and reviews that readers get a sense of context.
Each of these shared personal moments are dripping with nostalgia. From the joy of getting to play what are regarded as some of the best games ever made, to the cringe of having to deal with dismal game development attempts. It’s all here, and all of the emotions are easy to relate to.
Tons of Artwork
This book is jam packed with artwork. Each game has its official box art featured along with pictures of the game cartridges. Screenshots are also included. All of these images help the words on the page feel more real, and help get a sense of the design and aesthetics that were used in that era.
That’s not all, though. The book takes things to the next level by also including advertisements that appeared in gaming magazines and posters during the heyday of the SNES. Seeing this is incredible. It transports readers back to the 90s, putting the marketing language that companies used to speak to their audiences on full display.
The glue that bring all of this together is the design language the book employs. Its color scheme is mainly red and black, with some dashes of gray mixed in. It screams Nintendo and is a perfect wrapper for all of the information the book contains. The front and back cover are also a perfect fit, with the venerable SNES controller front and center.
It’s Not Perfect
Yup, it’s time to nitpick. While the front cover is amazing some of the design choices backfired. The book title uses a glossy material that seems to quickly pick up nicks and scrapes, even with a dust jacket covering it. The included screenshots can be frustrating at times, with some games getting much smaller sizes than others.
Lastly, there are some production issues that show up. There are a few typos sprinkled throughout that will hopefully be corrected in any future editions. While some scuff marks show up on random pages, possibly something that happened during the printing process. It’s a shame to see these little errors appear in what is otherwise a well put together package.
The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A–M) sets out to catalogue every game to hit the console, and it does so in a meaningful way. It doesn’t matter whether readers were around for that era or not, this book is worth reading. It also makes for one hell of a coffee table book that will instantly grab guests’ attention.