Brett Weiss is back with his third book in the Classic Home Video Games series. The previous two books covered much longer segments of time due to their being fewer games the further you go back in time and the games that did exist were fairly simple in their execution and thus easy to describe. In this, his third book, Classic Home Video Games: 1989-1990 A Complete Guide to Sega Genesis, Neo Geo and TurboGrafx-16 Games, only the year 1989-1990 is covered. The three systems he covers are the lesser-known Neo Geo and TurboGrafx-16 as well as the wildly popular Sega Genesis.
While there is some history covered here, this isn’t a history of video games and gaming. Instead, it covers the basic specifications of the three systems and then all the games available for those systems in 1989, but it isn’t just an index. While Weiss lists the developer, publisher, type of game, and how many players could play it, he also gives a good description of each game that includes how the game was played, as well as other ports that might also have existed, as well as opinions about the game.
For example, in the listing for Frogger, he describes the mechanics of the game as well as the goal, but then offers commentary and review of the game. The commentary from Weiss is what distinguishes the Classic Home Video Games series from other game indexes. The commentary lends readability to a book that would otherwise just be a resource for looking up titles that could easily be found on the internet. Because Weiss gives his opinion that the enhanced graphics on Frogger were unnecessary and the omission of the sound track made for a creepy and lackluster game, he creates a book that is both entertaining and informative.
Photographs of all three systems along with photographs of many game covers are also included. He has a photos of the Sega Genesis and the Turbo Grafx-16 in their original boxes. I’d seen the Sega box before but never the one for the Turbo Grafx-16. The photographs are a feast for collectors. Unfortunately, not every game gets an accompanying picture and there are no screen captures. On the other hand, had all that been included, the book would probably have been more than one volume and more expensive than it’s current cover price of $25.00.
Having played video games since their inception, I find a certain nostalgic delight in reading through Weiss’ books. I also think the Classic Home Video Games series is a must-have for collectors. Since most collectors, especially recent collectors, will never have a chance to play most of these games, I think they will especially appreciates Weiss’ efforts in the commentary.
So check it out and let us know what you think in the comments.