I have this odd tendency of shadowing Flack. Right as I was reading his first book Commodork is when he first appeared here on Retroist.com. And now as I’m listening to his podcast on MAME cabinets, I’m hearing him talk about a guy named Brett Weiss. As it so happens, I have just bought one of Brett’s books. It was a book I kept on my Amazon.com wish list for some time (as I’m cheap and I was hoping somebody else would buy it for me), and I finally bought it with my Christmas money. That book is Classic Home Video Games 1985-1988, part of Brett’s Classic Home Video Games series which also has volumes on 1972-1984 and 1989-1990.
These books are unique for a couple of reasons. One is that there are more resource than story. What Brett has given us here are encyclopedic write-ups of both the systems of these eras as well as their games. Each write up contains the game’s basic info (title, publisher, how many players, what type, etc.), a short synopsis (about a page on my Kindle), other existing versions of the game, and sequels as well as similar games. There are even pictures of some of the games throughout the books.
Another reason these books are unique is that they cover every game for these systems. Yes, you read correctly. Every game for the Atari 2600, Intellivision, Colecovision, Atari 7800, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, and Tubrografx-16 are covered in these pages, as well as games for the Odyssey, Vectrex, and several other systems. This makes these books not only an incredible achievement but also a must-have for those who, like me, are seeking to collect all retro video game knowledge into one compact source.
The Classic Home Video Game series is available in both hardback, softback, and Kindle editions. While I’m mostly a Kindle guy, I do think it is better to have the hard copies of these books since you will probably want to flip through the pages rather than reading straight through. I did read straight through the Atari 7800 section, though, and found it pretty enjoyable, and am working my way through the Nintendo section. Pick up the books at Amazon.com or at Brett’s site.