My Second Book About Video Games

Since the publication of my first book on video games (Émulation et jeux vidéo, 2001, Micro Application), I have been working on a second book on the subject : Video Game Screenshots: Cartridge Quintessence. This book, written in three different languages with Lilian Piluso, will present a selection of about 250 video games sold in cartridges on the following systems (between brackets, some precisions, particularly the names of the games in different parts of the world) :
  • Atari 2600,
  • Atari 8-bit (particularly Atari XE Sytem),
  • Nec PC Engine (Nec Turbo Grafx 16),
  • Nintendo Entertainment System (Nintendo Famicom),
  • Nintendo Super NES (Nintendo Super Famicom),
  • Nintendo 64,
  • Sega Master System (Sega Mark III),
  • Sega Mega Drive (Sega Genesis),
  • SNK Neo Geo.
At the start I worked on a much greater number of systems (including arcade), but I had to select only a few otherwise the book would have had far too many pages. My talks with Winnie Forster from GAMEplan allowed me to define the editorial line more precisely. It is therefore a selection of cartridge video games, not including portable consoles. This basis anchors the selection in time and in the market of video game consoles. A part of the book explains this approach and another presents the selection. For each game there is on one page :
  • the title,
  • the year of publication,
  • the picture of the console,
  • supplementary information (alternative title, name of the console, publisher, developer, name of the series and information on the arcade version if there is one),
  • a presentation text (thanks to Lilian Piluso for writing it) in three languages (German, English and French),
  • a photo of the title screen (1/8 of the page),
  • a photo of the first level (half of the page).
The particularity of this book is to propose high quality screenshots. Not just screenshots made from emulators but real photographs taken on a cathode ray tube TV set showing the signal coming from the original consoles. The idea is to reproduce in a high resolution medium (a book), a visual impression of the games identical to what the players saw. The ambition is therefore linked to the conservation of this very particular visual impression (with horizontal lines being clearly visible).

This approach is complex :
  1. It is necessary to make a selection by associating simple criteria. I have spent a great number of hours playing, but I am not an expert in all the genres and most of all on all the consoles. So I have proposed provisional versions of my selections to friends and contacts and more generally on specialised forums such as those of the site Gros Pixels.
  2. It is necessary to gather varied information on the games. I found help in some big data bases, for example Moby Games.
  3. It is necessary to possess all the games and consoles in question. This took me several years. Fortunately some of my contacts in Japan and the US have been able to help me.
  4. It is necessary to make photographs which is difficult for many reasons, particularly because you must avoid the too dark or too bright bands on the picture and the watered effect (as well as a visible twinkling on the photo). After having tested different professional video equipment I finally found a really satisfying solution.
  5. It is necessary to write presentation texts. In that, I was lucky to meet Lilian Piluso who wrote them all.
Another very important point: I have to find a publisher.

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