Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Book Review: NES Omnibus, Volume 1

Brett Weiss, author of the SNES Omnibus books, is back! This time around he’s focusing on the home video game console that put Nintendo on the map: the NES. Just like the SNES Omnibus series, the NES Omnibus is split into two books, so the appropriate attention is given to the myriad of games released for the most iconic and influential video game system of all time.

Here’s the official synopsis for the NES Omnibus, Volume 1:

Featuring a 1200-word foreword by The Goldbergs creator Adam F. Goldberg, The NES Omnibus: The Nintendo Entertainment System and Its Games, Vol. 1 (A-L) by gaming historian Brett Weiss covers the first half of the NES library in exhaustive and engaging detail: every U.S. release from A to L. More than 350 games are featured, including such iconic titles as Castlevania, Donkey Kong, Double Dragon, Duck Hunt, Final Fantasy, and The Legend of Zelda. Each game, whether obscure or mainstream, is given the spotlight. In addition to thorough gameplay descriptions, the book includes reviews, memories, historical data, quotes from vintage magazines, and, best of all, nostalgic stories about many of the games from programmers, authors, YouTube celebs, and other industry insiders. The book also features more than 1,500 full-color images, including box art, screenshots, and vintage ads. Nostalgic story contributors include such industry pros as “8-Bit” Eric Perez (YouTube personality), David Warhol (legendary Intellivision programmer), Steve Woita (Atari, Genesis, and PS1 programmer), Sean Tiedeman (director of The King of the Arcades), Shane Stein (Executive Producer of The Game Chasers movie), Greg Sewart (former Previews and Reviews Editor for Electronic Gaming Monthly), and many others.

As you can see from the description above, this book covers more than 350 games released in the U.S. and they are sorted in alphabetical order from A to L. I have fond memories of playing Duck Hunt, Double Dragon, and, of course, Legend of Zelda. The length of the game profiles varies, but you can expect artwork, in-game screenshots, a description of the games, and insightful commentary. Never played Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers but want to learn more about it? In this book, you can. Flying Warriors, Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu, King’s Quest V, and a whole lot more are in this 424-page book. Games that sold like hotcakes and those you’ve never heard of before — it’s all here!

In addition to all of the games, there are essays about key topics related to the NES, including The Power Glove. Reading about this infamous peripheral, which I never owned but was aware of, was very cool. As with all Nintendo consoles, it’s about more than just the games. This book, just like its predecessors, does a wonderful job of making you feel like you’ve gone back in time to the days of the NES. It’s also a testament to the staying power of these games, which many people still play today — on both modern and original hardware. If you’re a lover of retro games, like me, or simply want to learn more about the games from days gone by, the NES Omnibus: Volume 1 by Brett Weiss is a worthy addition to your library.

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