Nintendo Fun Book Club 2: Influential Video Game Designers: Shigeru Miyamoto

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By Jennifer Dewinter

Published by Bloomsbury

This book, released on May 21st, 2015, takes an academic look at the career and contributions of Shigeru Miyamoto. I found its scholarly approach immediately apparent- there are A LOT of citations. Everything from David Sheff’s Game Over to Jeff Ryan’s Super Mario to even Iwata Asks interviews are referenced throughout the book. As the most current published work on Mr. Miyamoto, the book makes use of past and recent sources when chronicling Miyamoto and Nintendo’s journey from Donkey Kong to the company’s current struggles with the Wii U.

The journey is focused and brief. The bulk of the attention and analysis in the book is devoted to the original Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Nintendogs, Mario Paint, Wii Fit, Wii Sports, LoZ: Twilight Princess, and Super Mario Galaxy. While these games obviously only represent a fraction of Miyamoto’s output, you can glean quite a bit about his design philosophy from them.

The primary text is only 128 pages, with the last 50 or so consisting of Miyamoto’s gameography, the (extensive) works cited, and the index. There are a few typos here and there, some misinterpretations of particular game structures/mechanics, and an unfortunate reliance on frequently lambasted website VG Chartz for sales information.

Despite these quibbles, I found Dewinter’s book to be a well-researched and enjoyable read about Mr. Miyamoto and his work. It reinforced some beliefs I already had, exposed me to some new perspectives, and made some connections that had been in front of me all along, but I hadn’t noticed until now. It’s not the definitive book on the man and his work, but it’s a step in that direction and a focused and worthwhile approach.

Buy on Amazon

Episode 88 – Squid Dynamite

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Left-click here to listen in your browser or right-click, then “save link as…” to download the episode!

News:

Games: 

Xeodrifter, Mario Kart 8, BoxBoy!, amiibo tap, 3D Streets of Rage 2, Splatoon

Music:

The Bouncing Souls – We Love Fun (unofficial Nintendo Fun Club theme song)

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow – Pitch Black Intrusion

Bis – Tell it to the Kids

Nintendo Fun Book Club 1: Game Boy World: 1989

Written, photographed, and designed by Jeremy Parish

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I’m just going to assume that if you’re here, you are familiar with Jeremy Parish’s work. While you’ve probably read his writing at 1UP, US Gamer, Anatomy of Games, or heard him host the legendary Retronauts podcast, you may not know his most recent, and ambitious, project yet- Game Boy World.

Game Boy World, in Mr. Parish’s own words,

is meant to be two things: One, a chronological index of all Game Boy titles released globally. And two, an in-depth exploration of those games contextualized within the history of the platform, of games, and of the times.

For each game covered on the site, you’ll find release dates, developer information, written analysis, video, photos of packaging, scans of manuals, and more. Here’s a sample.

Pretty comprehensive, eh? Naturally, all of this content would not fit into 130-ish page book, but that’s not to say that Game Boy World: 1989 isn’t chock-full of green-tinted grey-scale goodness. What you’re getting here is coverage of every Game Boy game released in North America and Japan in 1989. This includes (color) pics of the games’ packaging (both regions), screenshots, developer/publisher/release date information, and of course, the full write-ups of the games from the website. There are even some ~~bonus~~ features here, like sections devoted to developers and publishers on the system, Nintendo’s portable history, Gunpei Yokoi, and the (lack of) region locking on the Game Boy.

Game Boy World: 1989 is the definitive guide to the first year of the Game Boy’s life. While the majority of the text is available on the site, I’m extremely happy to have a physical copy of the book. There’s just something inherently wonderful about having a book chronicling the first year of the Game Boy’s life on your shelf- a pure, single-purpose entertainment device, that you can take anywhere with no fuss. In that way, the book is kinda like the Game Boy itself.

Buy Game Boy World: 1989 – Paperback (Amazon.com), Paperback (Amazon.co.uk), .PDF (Gumroad) Hardcover w/ dust jacket (Blurb)