Sunday 7 December 2014

SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis: Collected Works – Review

Any great book starts with a beginning...

And here it begins where it should always start – at the birth before the start. Before the Mega Drive / Genesis came about and the advertising and the games development. Before the original hardware and then the hardware add-ons that came with it. Before the end.

This story illustrates how Sega went head to head with Nintendo when Nintendo was at the top of it’s game bringing about the ups and the downs and the story behind this epic saga of console wars. What came from this was a series of legendary titles that any gamer in their right mind should own.

Whether you are a Sega fan boy or girl it doesn't matter. The likes of Sonic 2, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe and many other games adorn this epic Sega saga. This is a global affair too – covering the Genesis in the US to the European Mega Drive, as well as the Japanese incarnation.

So this is just a written affair? Not at all. Once the story has been told by Games Journalist, Keith Stuart of the Guardian (and it doesn't drag on – just the right length for us personally with little time to spare to read these days!) we get into the visual representation of what makes the Mega Drive an icon, as well as a leading games consoles of it’s time.

This is split into key categories – some of which include:

Hardware; including development documents, schematics, a showcase of hardware released concept drawings, as well as those which remained as concepts. Even to the extent of showing product design notes for the avid fan.

Game Packaging and Character design; a massive amount of detail and artistry here. Many previously unpublished items and visual references to the wonder of Sega in the 90s.

Interviews; here we get underneath of the skin of the brand and the people who pioneered the industry at the time. From the legend of Yu Suzuki who made the arcades his own in the 80s, to Art Director Kazuyuki Hoshino – famous for his involvement with Sonic Team in the early 90s and beyond. This is an interview list that you won’t see elsewhere.

Benefactors; finishing off nicely the book thanks the gamers who made it happen….You and us here at GYL. The community who not only put their hand in their pocket to fund the book on Kickstarter. But we all helped in talking about this book during the funding period – shared it with our friends out there in the world and made it happen. We also couldn’t have done it without one man, Darren (Wall) himself of Read-Only Memory. Without Darren and his vision for the book from the concept to delivery we wouldn't have such a great legacy told in print.

The book uses the highest quality printing and reproduction to bring this all to life. Each section in the book not only uses different paper stock but different layouts to wow us.  The complete book is a solid piece indeed.

In some ways a review like this could be spoiling your own surprise factor, so we can’t go into every little detail which might do that. Like a good movie you should find out for yourself. Hopefully the images and words here tell some of that story to give you an insight without giving too much away.

Whether you lived through the early 90s and throughout to the late period of the Mega Drive - or whether you a younger gamer picking the Mega Drive up now as a retro console for the first time -  this book is going to appeal to you.

In terms of a book on the subject – we think this is the No 1 choice for anyone.

You can buy the book from Read-Only Memory – here is the link: 

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