Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lost Levels: Hey, I can read too ya' know.

I haven't had much luck tracking down retro gaming in recent months. I've come across the occasional SNES game or sealed DS classic, just nothing really remarkable. A couple of trips to local used book stores did produce some decent results, although not specifically video game software. While nothing rare these two strategy guides are two fine additions to the collection, each bringing a unique flavor to classic gaming literature.

Despite the noticeable lack of Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was one of the most highly anticipated games of its time. I remember playing the demo disc that came with Zone of the Enders at my best friend's house in high school, pouring over every new bit of gameplay. While a little dated today the graphics were phenomenal in 2001 and were unlike anything I had seen in my early forays into gaming. Of course these days the game is mainly remembered for its batshit crazy story, and sadly not for the insane artwork of Yoji Shinkawa.

Utterly ridiculous.

The guide is chock full of full page paintings and smaller bits of concept art, piecing together an inexpensive collection of Shinkawa's finest.

Surprisingly, the poster in the book of the strategy guide in still intact. I doubt I'll ever remove it from the book, but I assure you the full poster is even more awesome then this sneak peek reveals.

My man-crush from 1998 - present.

Heading further down memory lane, we have this incredibly fantastic Secrets of the Games: Nintendo Game Boy Secrets. This, my friends, is what we had before the internet.

or, How to Fight Dr. Doom and 
Still Be Ready for That Big Business Meeting

Just like GameFaqs, right?

As mentioned on the back cover this guide shows you all the secrets to a ton of Game Boy hits. Judging by the screencap technology of the time, these guys weren't slacking off.

Take a look at those awesome shots of... Raphael?

And for the concerned parents of the world, Secrets even offers a handy section on dealing with this new fangled addiction your children may or may not be suffering from.

Luckily, if you identify an addiction the guide gives handy tips for curing the ailment.

Nothing teaches discipline like holding toys just out of reach.

I can remember a time when books like these were treasured tomes of knowledge. Nowadays we rely on the internet if a game is too hard or if we're looking for the 100% completion. Call me crazy, but cracking open the hardcover guide for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and scouring the pages for clues was much more enjoyable than scrolling through screen after screen. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned like that.


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