Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works - The Definitive History of Sega's 16 Bit Console
In November 2013, Darren Wall began a Kickstarter to fund the ultimate documentary art book to celebrate 25 years of the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. In less than 48 hours, he had reached his goal of £30,000 ($47,000). By the time the Kickstarter ended on December 9th, over 2,000 backers had pledged £98,000 ($154,000) to the project. Published by Read Only Memory, this collected works is not only the definitive history of the Mega Drive/Genesis, but the best book about video games I have ever seen.
The book was produced in collaboration with Sega and is the only licensed history of the console. The first thing that got me when I opened the package was the hardcover, foil blocked black on black cover. When you open the book and start turning the pages you can feel the paper is high stock. Of course, there is a written history of the console, but the real gem of the book is the pictures. Full page photos of the different versions of the console, the CD add-on, the power base converter and more. There are two gatefold pages of the blueprints of the Mega Drive and Genesis, along with concept drawings of controllers and the hardware itself, most of which has never been seen outside of Sega of Japan.
The artwork in the book is amazing. Cover art from games like Phantasy Star, Landstalker, Golden Axe and dozens, all from not only the EU and US, but the Japanese versions as well. There is even pixel art from the original games. Ever wanted to see all of a town from Phantasy Star 2 all at one time? This has a two page spread of that, along with character models from Sonic, Streets of Rage, Shinobi and more. Over 60 pages dedicated to the art, as well as title logos and levels. There is also concept art from some of the most popular games. Early character sketches of Toe jam and Earl, Sonic and more. There are two gatefold pages in the art section also, of Shinobi and Space Harrier that I would love to have in poster form to hang on my game room wall.
Also in the book, are rare game design documents showing concepts of characters and level design that shows how the process of making a game looks. There is an entire section dedicated to game character illustration where you can see what some of your favorite characters were first designed to look like. To top it all off, there are 27 different interviews with original developers of the console from Yu Suzuki (Space Harrier, Hang-On) to composer Keisuke Tsukahara (Shinobi, Shenmue 2). With these interviews, you get an even deeper look at not only the development of the console, but how game development was in the early 90's. It was very interesting to see who worked on what game, and to even find that some of these developers have worked on some of my favorite games within the past few years.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to not only the Mega Drive/Genesis lover, but anyone who loves the 16 bit area of video games or the art that goes into games. With over 1,000 illustrations and 352 pages this book is very informative. The pages are printed on heavy stock paper using a high quality print process, and the hardback cover looks very nice. When they ship the book, it even has plastic corner protectors to keep the book pristine in shipping. So much in the design of the book is high end, that the £35.00 ($55.00) seems like it was seriously underpriced. The book is amazing; I have looked through it for days and have seen something new each time that I didn't see before. I also like how they included footnotes about everything in the book either on each page, in notes at the end of sections, or at the end of the book. The Genesis was the console that made me fall in love with video games and to look through this book takes me back to those days. I may seem biased when I say this, but this book is not only the book for the history of the Mega Drive/Genesis, but it is the best video game book I have ever seen.
If you are intrested in getting your own copy, please go to readonlymemory.vg and get yours today.
Thanks to Read-Only Memory for supplying a copy for review.