GameSpite Quarterly No. 1: (Game Boy) x (20 Years) = Retrospective
If you are not aware of http://www.gamespite.net
, then I suggest you put on your reading glasses, direct your browser in that general direction and set aside a serious amount of time to think
about retro-games. It's a fantastic website that offers thoughtful, funny, brainy, and at time brutally honest essays on games of yore. What's even more wonderful is that in the Spring of 2009, GameSpite began a quarterly campaign to compile their website essays into journals that share a common theme. And the premier issue was dedicated to our friend, the Game Boy.
Now in theory, you can read pretty much the entire contents right on the website (save for a handful of the bonus essays that were only included in the more expensive hardcover edition). However, holding this little book in your hand is really something special. You see, this is the first time I've seen a claim to condense the Game Boy's 20 year history into a single tome something of a reality. What makes the book work so well is that it doesn't allow nostalgia to distort the history into something it wasn't. In fact, there are are essays on all of the Game Boy's primary threats and they are completely forthcoming about the Game Boy's hardware inferiority in each case. Likewise, it is not just the "classic" games that are mentioned, nor is it the "overlooked gems"-only; there are chapters about games that we may all remember playing or that seemed important at the time that are total duds.
Each essay is generally short (usually less than 5 pages) and covers a specific topic: be it a game, accessory or competitor. But the book as a whole works both as a brisk primer for those just getting into Game Boy collecting and as a wonderful recollection for those of us that have been interested for the past 20 years.
Games picked apart:
Castlevania: The Adventure
Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge
Donkey Kong '94
Final Fantasy Adventure
Final Fantasy Legend II
Final Fantasy Legend III
Gradius: The Interstellar Assault
Kid Icarus: Of Myths And Monsters
Kirby's Dream Land
The Legend Of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Mega Man (series)
Metal Gear Solid
Ninja Gaiden Shadow
Street Fighter II
Super Mario Land
Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins
Wario Land II
The book also includes essays on the Game Shark and Game Boy Camera as well as competing hardware such as Atari's Lynx, Sega's Game Gear, SNK's Neo Geo Pocket and Bandai's WonderSwan. All in all, it's a fantastic read. Highly recommended.