World of Power Books

Can’t get enough Nintendo from your Nintendo? Me neither. Fortunately, Scholastic Books has us covered. Meet the Worlds of Power series of Nintendo game novelizations!

Ghost-written by several authors under the pen name “F.X. Nine”, the Worlds of Power series was
created by Seth Godin in an attempt to pull kids away from video gaming and into reading. There were eight books in the series, all based on third-party Nintendo games (Castlevania II, Ninja Gaiden, Shadowgate, Wizards and Warriors, Master Blaster, Metal Gear, Bionic Commando, and Infiltrator) and two junior volumes (Mega Man and Bases Loaded II). These books not only told stories related to the game (some were the games’ backstories, others the games’ stories, and still others were side-stories), but they also gave some tips for playing.

Did they pull kids away from video gaming? I don’t know. The books weren’t released until the early 90s, at which time I was no longer reading young adult material nor ordering from the Scholastic catalog. I didn’t find them until just a few weeks ago. What I do know is that the books aren’t that great. Mine wasn’t, anyway. I got Castlevania II. I had been greatly confused both by the mechanics and the story of this game, and I thought the novelization might shed some light on it. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Instead, Simon comes to our world, gets a kid named Timothy Bradley, and takes him back to Castlevania (which in the book is the name of Simon’s world) to defeat Dracula. I didn’t like that set-up. I also didn’t like all the corny jokes and broad characterizations. Surprisingly, though, I did enjoy reading it. Even though I hadn’t read it in the day, it still took me back there. For that reason, and because I hear the others are better, I plan on looking up more of the Worlds of Power books.

Reading Worlds of Power is certainly not better than playing Nintendo. It’s not even better than watching Captain N. But the books do have some of the spirit of that time, and that alone makes them good.

Doug

Doug is a child of the 80s who was raised in Ohio and is now living the life of oblivion in the bay area of California.

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5 thoughts on “World of Power Books

  1. Drahken says:

    I was beyond scholastic before the 90s rolled around (the last scholastic catalog I would have encountered would have been in either ’87 or ’88), so I’d never heard of these before. I probably would have dug them at the time, and they seem like they’d make a fun read now. (At least for one read, just to check them out.)

  2. I loved these books! I had the Wizards & Warriors and Metal Gear book. Oddly enough the Metal Gear book’s cover was the same as the cartridge but without Snake holding his gun, they painted it out and didn’t replace it, so he was holding nothing. I think I kept the Metal Gear book because I am such a big fan, but the W&W title was lost to time.

    It should also be noted that books came with a trading card in the book that was perferated and could be removed. The front of the card was the cover of the book and the on the back was another wonderfully “encrypted” secret tip to playing the game.

    And how cool is the pen name FX Nine? Sounds like a robot wrote it, which might be why the books weren’t that good…you’re right. Even when I was reading them as a kid they were thin, but that didn’t matter because it was a book about a video game – that was rare.

  3. And double holy crap, just as I submitted that last comment I noticed that the photo of the back of the book is marked “A Seth Godin Production”. Wondered if it was *the* Seth Godin and turns out it is. Found a 1UP article about Worlds of Power…Godin created it for his nephew. Very cool.

    Seth Godin is FX Nine. Killer.
    http://www.1up.com/features/8-bit-lit

  4. Brian, didn’t know about the cards. My used copy didn’t have one. They did paint out the weapons to try to make the books non-violent, but Simon still whips a lot of creatures in Castlevania 2. “Nine” was chosen because it was close to the first part of “Nintendo”, so if readers were looking for Nintendo books, Nine would alphabetically be there.

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