There is just about nothing I like more than an excellent hard-cover coffee table book. Add in the fact that this one is all about the SNES and its huge library of games, and I was instantly in love.
The first volume of Brett Weiss’ part artbook/part history book/part fan service book covers every official SNES game starting with letters “A” through “M.” The book is truly a love letter to the console, its games, and the people who played them. Let’s dig in.
There is nothing bad to say about how this book is put together. As silly as it sounds to comment on a book’s constitution, I have seen lots of books prove disappointing in that regard. The Omnibus has thick covers, sturdy binding and heavy, glossy pages.
I really like the way flipping through the pages feels. Anyone who has ever held a sturdy book will understand this feeling. The affection is multiplied when taking the subject matter of the book into account.
I could gush over the construction of this book all day, but that would miss the point of a review like this. Collected within the more than 400 pages of this volume are brief bios, quotes and insights on the games starting with “A” through”M.” I like the decision to split up the volumes because a tome containing every SNES game could easily span into the thousands of pages, especially given the deluge of high profile “Super” games on the console.
I like the brief synopsis of each game. As someone who missed a lot of this era of gaming on the first run though, these descriptions offer an insight to the context of the time. A lot of the synopsises seem to be pretty basic, but with so many games on display, I don’t mind the simplicity. I cannot imagine knocking Weiss either, for the shorter descriptions on a few of the lesser known games.
The “Notable Quotables” sections are excellent as well. These brief sections pull quotes from different videogame publications at the time of the game’s release. Not every game has a “quotable”, but the ones that do are put into context by giving the reader a sense of how the game was viewed at the time of release. In a similar way, the Insider Insights provide specific memories from people who played these games growing up. I love these because they add a human element to the book that publication quotes and synopsis’ do not quite capture.
The art is another boon for this book.
Every game has box art and screenshots included. These add some eye-candy to the pages for those who would rather look at pictures instead of read blocks of text about games they might have never played. The screenshots are also cool because they provide a window of insight into how games looked at different points of the SNES lifecycle.
Miscelanious Items to Consider
As much as I have gushed about the first volume of the SNES omnibus, there are a few problems I have with the book.
The first thing that comes to mind, and is evident when flipping through the book for an extended period of time, is the amount of white space on some pages. These blanks make the book feel emptier than it would normally. This is a problem dependant on the game. Some games, like “Mario’s Time Machine,” use page space perfectly. On the next page however, “Mark Davis’ The Fishing Master” has much more of an empty void accompanying it.
The end of the book features a bibliography, the websites used and mini-bios for everyone who contributed to the “Insider Insights” sections. I love this because it shows Weiss’ dedication to those who helped make this book a reality.
The SNES Omnibus Volume 1 is an excellent addition to any coffee table. Hundreds of pages of videogame history are gathered for the perusal and viewing pleasure of anyone who stumbles upon it. Even with some small problems, the book is a must-own for fans of the SNES and its games.
Disclaimer: BrutalGamer.com owner and editor-in-chief Jason Micciche contributed to the omnibus in the capacity of several “Insider Insights.” Brutalgamer.com recieved a copy of the book for review from the publisher.
The SNES Omnibus Volume 1
Release date: July 2018
Publisher: Schiffer Books
Written and assembled by: Brett Weiss (with additional contributions)