Welcome to our Kickstarter campaign to create an officially-licenced coffee table book on the SEGA® Master System™. The book pays tribute to the amazing pixel art, product design and graphic design associated with this iconic 8-bit system. The book is officially licensed by SEGA and is the first book of this kind to be released for the Master System, ever.
This will be the sixth visual compendium from Bitmap Books. Previous titles in the series on the Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, ZX Spectrum, NES/Famicom and SNES/Super Famicom have all been met with critical acclaim, most notably with the ZX Spectrum book, which won gold at the 2016 Roses UK Design Awards.
As the name suggests, within each compendium the visuals are the main focus, with 200-word soundbites of text accompanying each game spread. This may be a quote from the game’s original developer or artist, a review from a well known journalist, or even a fan recounting their favourite gaming memories. Within each book you'll also find a series of larger features and interviews with developers and artists, ensuring a great mix of visuals and words. Overall, each these books contains around 60,000 words and hundreds of iconic images; each one is a perfect coffee-table art book.
All of our books are produced by graphic designer Sam Dyer. Hundreds of man hours are spent making sure each and every page looks as good as it possibly can; colours are impeccably balanced and the presentation is perfect. The best printers and binders are used and little extra touches are added here and there to make each book a beautiful thing to own, read and collect. As standard, all books now come shrink-wrapped.
The Master System was originally released as the SEGA Mark III in Japan in 1985, and was a direct competitor to Nintendo's Famicom home console. Despite an impressive library of SEGA arcade conversions - such as Space Harrier, After Burner, Out Run and Enduro Racer - the Mark III couldn't match the popularity of the Famicom, even though it possessed superior hardware and featured some great ideas, such as the 'My Card' format – a credit card-sized alternative to cartridges that were smaller in capacity but more affordable.
In 1986, SEGA rebranded the Mark III as the Master System and launched it in North America. Visually similar to the Mark III, the Master System was clad in a black and red colour scheme and came bundled with the arcade classic Hang-On and the light gun shooter, Safari Hunt. Sadly, the story was very much the same as it was in Japan; the Nintendo Entertainment System had such a stranglehold on the video game market in North America that the Master System failed to gain serious traction and ultimately lost out to its 8-bit nemesis.
Fast-forward to 1987 and the Master System launched in Europe to huge success. Territories such as the UK were very computer-oriented at the time and Nintendo had yet to make serious inroads in the region; the result was that uptake on the Master System was huge, thanks to the affordable price tag and promise of an 'arcade experience in your home'. The Master System was no stranger to a wealth of weird and wonderful peripherals throughout its lifespan. These included items such as a pair of 3D glasses, a handlebar controller for racing games, the iconic 'Light Phaser' and the trackball Sports Pad.
The console also saw success in other countries, most notably Brazil, where it has a very loyal fanbase and is still manufactured and sold to this day. This presence in Brazil has been driven by the company Tectoy, which published notable games throughout the '90s such as Baku Baku Animal, Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat 3.
While it's fair to say that the Master System didn't have the most successful lifespan when compared to contemporary rivals but historically it remains vitally important to SEGA's development as a company, and the release of its most successful home console, the 16-bit Genesis/Mega Drive. The Master System gave SEGA valuable experience of converting their arcade games for home consoles, and this became the foundation for the astonishing worldwide success that was to come just a few years later. The library of games on the Master System is modest in volume, but packed full of quality and home to some of video gaming's most iconic franchises, such as Alex Kidd, Fantasy Zone, Shinobi and Phantasy Star.
The book 目標の本
SEGA® Master System: a visual compendium measures 170mm x 230mm and will be printed lithographically to the highest standards. This ensures that colours in the book are really vibrant and pages have a high-quality, luxurious feel to them. As standard, all visual compendiums now come with a spot varnished cover and a spot varnished protective dust jacket. The binding is 'thread sewn' which means that the book can lie flat so the imagery can be fully enjoyed. The binding does not use glue which can crack over time and result in loose pages. Thread sewn binding is the best available.
SEGA® Master System: a visual compendium will be available in softcover and hardback editions, both 364 pages long. The page count will grow if more stretch goals are hit. Our previous two books on the NES and SNES ended up having well over 500 pages! Most stretch goal bonuses - such as additional pages, slipcase and gatefold pages - will apply to both the softcover and hardback editions.
SEGA® Master System: a visual compendium is being created by an experienced and talented team of writers, designers and artists. Sam Dyer is overseeing all design and the overall art direction and project management. Steve Jarratt (Total!/Edge/Sega Power) is overseeing all copy and is the book’s editor. Damien McFerran (Nintendo Life/Eurogamer) is in charge of writing the features and facilitating developer interviews. Craig Stevenson is creating a suite of bespoke pixel artworks that will be used throughout the book, emulating the Master System pixel style and palette.
We're delighted to announce that SEGA® Master System: a visual compendium will include a foreword written by Mark Cerny – programmer, game designer and most recently the Lead System Architect of the Sony PlayStation 4. Mark's career snowballed in 1984 when he designed Marble Madness at Atari. He then went on to work for SEGA in Japan, where he was involved in the launch of the Master System. While there, Mark designed the innovative 3D glasses, created original titles such as Missile Defense 3-D and handled some excellent ports such as California Games and Shanghai. We've also been lucky to interview Mark for the book and will go into detail regarding his time at SEGA, and his memories of the Master System.
The book then provides an overview of the creation of the Master System and sets the scene for what is to come. This section is a mixture of words, images and pull-out quotes.
For roughly half of the book, each spread features an image of a game accompanied by a 200-word review/critique. In total, more than 100 games across the various regions will be included. Due to licensing restrictions, not every single game for the SEGA Master System will be able to be included, but rest assured, we will be doing everything we can to gain the necessary permissions to ensure that the most famous games make the cut.
Also featured in the book will be a series of features written by Damien McFerran (Nintendo Life/Eurogamer), covering topics such as arcade conversions, the groundbreaking 3D glasses and the console's amazing success in Brazil. These feature sections will be a great contrast to the visual game spreads and will contain around 3,000 words each.
We will also interviewing a selection of key individuals that worked with the Master System. As it currently stands, the interviewees include Mark Cerny and current SEGA employees Mutsuhiro Fujii (planner of Fantasy Zone and Space Harrier), Takashi Shoji (a programmer in the Master System era) and Rieko Kodama (designer and artist of Phantasy Star and Alex Kidd). These interviews will provide a unique look into the development of games and life at SEGA in the mid-'90s.
As with the other books in the compendium series, we will once again be photographing a wide range of systems and peripherals. All the key hardware will be photographed and presented in a beautiful way, showcasing the iconic product design that became SEGA's trademark during this era. For the photography, we have been lucky to work with a very dedicated Master System collector (@segacollect) who has kindly gave us access to his impressive collection.
The book will also showcase the very best box art for the SEGA Master System, covering all regions. The Japanese box art had a very different look to the western designs and used a metallic gold border instead of the famous black and white, grid-style background. Each box art will be accompanied by a 200 word critique.
One of the things that made the Master System so unique were the 3D glasses peripheral. Designed by Mark Cerny, these glasses were incredibly advanced for the time and used shutter technology that has most recently been used by television companies manufacturing their own 3D specs, some 30 years later! Each book will come with a free set of 3D glasses and there will be a section of games with a '3D effect' applied to them. This effect isn't an exact replica of how the actual SEGA 3D glasses worked, but it will at least give you a taste of what it would have been like seeing these games on your TV back in the '80s.
So far, we have a handful of contributors who will be writing in the book, and as the project develops, many more will be added. These contributors, more often than not, were the actual people that made the games, so they can offer some great anecdotal stories and insight that won't be found elsewhere. Also on board to write game reviews will be past and present game journalists such as Julian Rignall (Mean Machines Sega), Steve Jarratt (Total!, Edge, Sega Power) and Andy Smith (Sega Power).
Throughout SEGA® Master System: a visual compendium, we will once again be working with John Szczepaniak – author of The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers Volumes 1, 2 and most recently 3. John has incredibly supportive of our work and we’ve come to an agreement where we can use his interview content in the book. This is great news as we now have access to interviews with some truly legendary Japanese developers.
Occasionally, it will not be possible to quote the original development team, so in these instances, we will be using text from existing interviews which is completely standard practice and all sources will be credited appropriately. We would like to thanks the great folks at shmuplations.com who we've worked with to gather some great translated Japanese interviews.
This campaign features a selection of unique rewards that will hopefully appeal to SEGA fans. These range from unique box art postcards to the chance to own your own spread in the book and review a game of your own choice.
Box art postcards (over pledge by £5 to add to your pledge)
We've created two sets of postcard packs that can be added to your existing pledge or can be pledged for as their own tier. The first set features iconic imagery seen on the Western box art and the second set feature images from the Japanese boxes. These postcards are printed lithographically to very high standards and are then presented in a protective sleeve. They are not cheap digital prints; they are printed on high-quality uncoated paper stock.
Blueprint poster (over pledge by £15 to add to your pledge)
Here's a unique chance to own a technical drawing of the Master System. This illustration is based on drawings from SEGA and would look great on the wall of any SEGA fan's gaming den. The poster is A2 (594mm x 420mm) and comes rolled (not folded) in a heavy-duty poster tube.
Bitmap Books t-shirt featuring Alex Kidd (over pledge by £20 to add to your pledge)
Here's a chance to own an official Bitmap Books t-shirt featuring Alex Kidd. Each t-shirt comes in its own polybag. Sizes available are as follows: Small - 35/37" // Medium - 38/40" // Large - 41/43" // Extra Large - 46/48" // Extra Extra Large - 50/52".
Please note that you'll be asked in the backer survey (sent once campaign ends) to supply your required size.
Have your own spread
Something we do throughout all our visual compendiums is to invite backers to pick their favourite game to be featured in the book. The backers get to write their own 200-word review for the spread. This is a unique opportunity to have your name in print and, in your own words, talk about your memories and thoughts on a particular game. However, please note that you will need to supply a list of five games in order of preference, and your words will be professionally edited to suit the style and tone of the book.
Stretch goals ストレッチゴー
If the book goes past its £50,000 target, we’ve devised a series of stretch goals that will happen if the below amounts are reached. Basically, the more funding we get, the better the book will be for you!
In total, 8 gatefold spreads and loads more pages will be added to the book if the stretch goals are met. Gatefold pages (as used in our previous NES and SNES books) are additional fold-out pages which mean that you can effectively have four pages in a row. These are ideal for showing a beautiful game level map!
We will also be adding bookmark ribbons and special Pantone ink upgrades into the stretch goals. The two bookmark ribbons will be red and blue to match the Master System logo and will only be included on the hardback. Pantone inks are essentially a much more vibrant ink option. In previous books we've introduced special Pantone golds, silvers and fluorescents. Is this book, we're proposing to upgrade the blue and red (from Master System logo) to Pantone.
At £100,000 the book will come in a printed heavy-board slipcase. Those who have seen our NES and SNES books will be familiar with this style of heavy-duty slipcase. The slipcase will be applied to both the softcover and hardback editions.
Further stretch goals will be dependant on the success of the campaign and will be announced in due-course. Essentially, the more the campaign raises, the better the book will become.
Due to the associated costs with licensing deals such as royalty payments, the campaign target for this campaign has been set to £50,000. This is the minimum required to deliver the proposed 300 page book. A large proportion of the budget goes on print and an even higher amount of tracked shipping. What's left goes on making sure the people who've worked on the book are paid appropriately and the various other printed items. Anything over the minimum £50,000 will be reflected in the stretch goals such as adding pages, special print techniques and the slipcase for example.
Based on the Kickstarter campaign finishing at the end of July, The books will be delivered in February 2019. The PDF (that everyone gets) will be delivered in November 2018.
This may seem like a long way off but I've built in plenty of time for the official sign-off from SEGA. So this may be sooner if the process is faster.
All books will be sent tracked. You will receive a tracking number as soon as fulfilment starts. We have tried to keep shipping to minimum – the UK is £2, Europe in £7 and Rest of World is £10. These prices are heavily subsidised by Bitmap Books to keep costs as low as possible for you. We use a professional fulfilment house for all pick and pack. This minimises any issues that occasionally come up with Kickstarter fulfilment. I will be working with the fulfilment house to devise the best packaging solution. All books will be shipped in a protective book wrap, have hard plastic corner protectors and then be inserted into a waterproof poly bag. The feedback we consistently hear is how well our books are backed.
Please note that you will incur NO customs charges for importing the book. Books are zero rated and we clearly declare the contents and low value on the fascia to avoid charges.
We are delighted to be working some key partners throughout the campaign and I wanted an opportunity to say thanks for their help and support.
A special thanks to GamesYouLoved who have been major supporter of me and my books. GamesYouLoved is born out a love of retro games of every description from your childhood.
The most visited Nintendo site in the world, beaming the very latest Nintendo news, reviews and features right into your eyeballs.
Sega8bit is one the biggest and most passionate Master System fan sites out there. It's the place to go for game reviews, high scores, community advice and anything else Master System related.
Why Bitmap Books を選ぶその理由
Bitmap Books can be trusted to deliver on their promises and produce a product of the highest possible quality.
Our previous books have received some outstanding feedback and press coverage from around the world. We also have experience working on an official book as we dealt directly with SNK in Japan for NEOGEO: a visual history.
I hope you will support this campaign.
Thanks / ありがとうございます
All designs shown are not final and are subject to approval by SEGA
Risks and challenges
When producing a book there are normally certain risks associated with it which hopefully I have minimised. As a graphic designer by trade I am perfectly placed to deliver this project to a very high standard. I have over ten years’ experience in design and print, so am used to seeing through books and brochures of this size. Also, having successfully delivered seven Kickstater campaigns before, I have gained considerable experience and have every confidence of delivering a high-quality product for each backer.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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