In the 62 years since a physicist invented Pong, video games have transformed from a social diversion to a global obsession to an integral part of the fabric of our reality. The evolution of their artistry has followed a similarly extraordinary arc; what began as sluggish rectangles and boops has become an ever-increasingly respected forum for groundbreaking storytelling and imagery.
This month, we feature four distributed book titles that touch on a
different aesthetic era of home gaming, from the pixelated pioneers at Atari to the 16-bit sensation of Nintendo to the joyful battle insanity of the Metal Slug franchise to the uniquely serene fantasy worlds of the Mana series.
Each of these stunning chronicles of gaming history are available now in our Books Collection, and set to ship within 3 to 5 days from purchase.
Atari 2800/7800: A Visual Compendium
Atari established the home video game industry, and its name immediately became synonymous with 8-bit adventure. The Atari 2600 system was the first piece of gaming equipment to dominate the world's collective living room, offering the most iconic titles of all time, like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Defender, Joust, Pitfall and many, many more. But the gaming giant fell just as swiftly, due to a full-scale video game crash in 1983. Even after this catastrophe, Atari soldiered on, and just one year later, produced the powerful 7800 console — a machine that should have returned Atari to its former glory, had everything gone according to plan...
Atari 2600/7800: A Visual Compendium follows the highlights (and lowlights) of a tumultuous time in gaming history, an era which laid the foundation for one of the world’s most popular forms of entertainment. The book showcases the very best pixel art, cover art and product design on each system. Spread over 528 pages, it features over 200 classic games, with articles on third-party developers, interviews with key industry figures and features on cover art, prototypes and even "homebrew" releases.
"This is one of the highest quality and most beautiful collections of retro game images ever compiled. More important than the imagery (at least in my opinion) I find it to be factually precise, recording the stories and history from those days with an accuracy seldom seen." — David Crane, game designer and co-founder of Activision
Atari 2800/7800: A Visual Compendium. Published by Bitmap Books. 528 pages. Hardcover. Expected to ship within 3 to 5 days. Ships worldwide. $39.99.
The Unofficial SNES Pixel Book
This dazzling volume of digital worship celebrates the true golden age of 16-bit gaming on Nintendo’s peerless '90s home console. Translated from the German text from original publisher Elektrospieler, the The Unofficial SNES Pixel Book features in-depth articles detailing the major genres of the SNES megaverse. These are illustrated by tens of thousands (!!!) of screenshots taken specifically for this volume, including sprawling montages and head-spinning level maps.
So whether it’s a colossal spaceship, multi-screen boss monster, towering fortress, or a comprehensive level overview, you can enter the worlds of your favorite games in unprecedented ways. Featured here is a huge number of titles, from obscure oddities to the supreme classics, including Street Fighter II, Super Mario World, Super Castlevania IV, Axelay, Chrono Trigger and a bazillion others — all beautifully presented and immortalized.
The Unofficial SNES Pixel Book. Written by Robert Bannert and Christine Bauer. Published by Bitmap Books. 272 pages. Hardcover. Expected to ship within 3 to 5 days. Ships worldwide. $39.99.
Metal Slug: The Ultimate History
Way back in 1996, the original Metal Slug kicked off an action-packed series that would become renowned for tight gameplay, hand-drawn visuals and unexpected humor. In the years since, the franchise has retained these attributes across multiple sequels and spin-offs, and this book not only illuminates the games' mysterious history via hundreds of carefully curated screenshots and a detailed bio, but also celebrates the iconic artwork that made millions of players obsessed with the antics of the Peregrine Falcon Squad.
For the first time ever, gaming titan SNK has offered unrestricted access to its vast archive of concept artwork and illustrations. The book also contains exclusive interviews with key members of the development team, which bust myths to reveal the truth behind this irreverent franchise.
Metal Slug: The Ultimate History. Published by Bitmap Books. 452 pages. Hardcover. Expected to ship within 3 to 5 days. Ships worldwide. $39.99.
The Art of Mana
First released in 1991 as an offshoot of the Final Fantasy series, the beautifully rendered, action-packed world of Mana quickly took on a life and legacy of its own. Unusually naturalistic for most sci-fi game themes, Mana predated the lush aesthetics of Avatar by a generation. More than a quarter century later, the magic of Mana has woven its own entire universe, which has been beautifully captured in a new book from Dark Horse and Square Enix.
The Art of Mana collects a trove of intergalactic gaming memories in over 200 pages, with more than 400 illustrations from the original creative team, along with detailed explorations of every character, original sketches, world designs, and much more.
The Art of Mana. Published by Dark Horse Books. 208 pages. Hardcover. Expected to ship within 3 to 5 days. Ships worldwide. $39.99.