Welcome to our Kickstarter campaign to create an unofficial coffee table book on the SNES/Super Famicom. The book pays tribute to the amazing pixel art, product design and graphic design associated with these iconic 16-bit systems.
It would be a massive understatement to say that the Super Nintendo had a formidable act to follow when it arrived at the dawn of the 1990s. Nintendo's previous console the NES (or Famicom as it was known in its native Japan) enjoyed seven years of almost unrivalled dominance following its initial launch in Japan in 1983 and had almost single-handedly rehabilitated the home video game market, turning Nintendo into a household name across the globe.
However, with powerful rivals like the Sega Mega Drive and NEC PC Engine threatening to chip away at Nintendo’s market share, success was by no means guaranteed. The successor to the NES needed to offer more power and better software than these upstart competitors while simultaneously maintaining the adoration of the legion of gamers who had grown up with Nintendo’s 8-bit console and now – quite rightly – demanded more complex experiences.
With the competition already winning over players with dazzling, arcade-quality visuals, Nintendo's hardware designers were fully aware that the company's 16-bit console would have to go one better in the presentation stakes. While the focus of this new system was still 2D visuals, the "Super" Nintendo could display many more colours on-screen than its nearest rival, the Mega Drive. This spectacle was bolstered by the inclusion of simulated 3D effects and scaling – referred to by Nintendo's developers as "Mode 7". In addition to this, the console was equipped with the Sony-made S-SMP sound chip which offered CD-quality audio to ensure that sonically, the system was a considerable leap ahead of its rivals.
This will be the fifth visual compendium from Bitmap Books. Previous titles in the series on the Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, NES/Famicom and ZX Spectrum have been met with critical acclaim, with the latter winning gold at the 2016 Roses UK Design Awards. The visual compendium books aim to showcase the very best pixel art, box art and product design for each system, so the visuals are the main focus, with 200-word soundbites of text accompanying each game. 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 is also a series of larger features including profiles of key software houses and interviews with developers and artists.
All of our books are produced by graphic designer Sam Dyer and have an art book feel to them. Hundreds of man hours are spent making sure every page looks as good as it possibly can, colours are 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 and collect.
The book 目標の本
This latest book focuses on the Super Famicom in Japan and the SNES across North America and Europe, offering a visual snapshot of the best games, developers, box art and product design from across these territories. As the name suggests, the book is mainly visual; it won't be a super-detailed insight into the SNES/Super Famicom, but more a visual companion designed to stir up excitement and nostalgia for this fantastic machine and its legacy of classic games.
The book 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.
SNES/Super Famicom: a visual compendium will be available in softcover and hardback edition, both 500+ pages long. The hardback edition will come with four Super Famicom coloured bookmark ribbons as standard. Any stretch goal bonuses such as additional pages, slipcase and gatefold pages will apply to both the softcover and hardback editions.
The book is being created by an experienced and talented team of writers, designers and artists. Sam Dyer is overseeing all design. Steve Jarratt (Total!/Edge/Official Nintendo Magazine) is overseeing all copy and acting’s the book’s editor. Damien McFerran (Nintendo Life) is in charge of writing the developer profiles and facilitating developer interviews. Matt Wilsher is in charge of photography. Craig Stevenson is creating a suite of bespoke pixel artworks that will be used throughout the book, emulating the SNES pixel style and palette.
The content of the book is structured like a classic RPG, featuring a fold-out map which includes the various destinations, such as the Cemetery (unreleased games), Skyscraper (Developer profiles), Art Gallery (Box art) and so on.
Each destination in the book has a divider, drawn by Craig Stevenson, giving it that classic SNES RPG feel.
The book is kicked off with a foreword written by ex-Rare game designer and graphic artist Steve Mayles. On the SNES, Steve is most well known for being heavily involved in the creation of Donkey Kong Country and the advanced Silicon Graphics 3D images that were so breathtaking at the time. He also co-created iconic games such as the Banjo-Kazooie series. Nowadays, Steve is part of the Playtonic team which recently released Yooka-Laylee.
The book then provides a brief overview of the creation of the SNES/Super Famicom 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.
We have also sought permission from Nintendo Game Maps and The Video Game Atlas to print some of their amazing game maps. It’s fascinating to see these game laid out in all their glory, offering a new perspective on titles you may have seen images of many times before. Also a huge thanks to The Video Game Museum for the amazing screenshot resource.
Also featured in the book will be a series of company profiles written by Damien McFerran (Nintendo Life), and covering key developers such as Enix, Acclaim and Hudson. In contrast to the game pages, the profiles are approximately 2,000 words and include images of the companies' key releases.
Damien is also interviewing a selection of key individuals that worked with the SNES/Super Famicom. As its stands the interviewees include Brian Fehdrau (Secret of Evermore), Kevin Bayliss, Steve Mayles and Chris Sutherland (Rare), with many others to be confirmed soon.
As with the other books in the compendium series, Matt Wilsher will once again be photographing his way through the systems and peripherals in his usual beautiful style. All the key hardware will be photographed.
Finally, the book features a series of mini-articles on subjects such as magazines, box art, black box games, the homebrew scene and unreleased games. As the book progresses we are looking to add extra sections here and even involve the Kickstarter backers as we did with the NES book and the memories section.
So far we have a handful of contributors who will be writing in the book but 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.
Kevin Bayliss (Rare), Steve Mayles (Rare,) Julian 'Jaz' Rignall (Mean Machines), Steve Jaratt (Total!/Edge/Official Nintendo Magazine), Andy Dyer (Total!), Nick Bruty (Shiny Entertainment), Thomas Brockhage (Rainbow Arts), Jason Brookes (Super Play), Wil Overton (Super Play), Samuel Claiborn (IGN), Frank Matzke (Factor 5), Greg Ford (Electronic Gaming Monthly), Tim Girvin, Sam Kennedy (Electronic Gaming Monthly), Wes Nihei (Game Pro), Andy Roberts, Perry Rodgers (Electronic Gaming Monthly), David Siller/Sushi-X (Electronic Gaming Monthly), ‘Trickman’ Terry Minnich (Ex-Tricks of the Trade Editor for Electronic Gaming Monthly; co-owner of Pixel Blast Arcade) plus many more...
Throughout SNES/Super Famicom: a visual compendium, we will once again be working with John Szczepaniak – author of The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers Volumes 1 & 2. John has been great 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 legendary Japanese developers such as Kouji Yokota (ActRaiser), Satoshi Nakai (Assault Suits Valken) and Taichi Ishizuka (The Firemen) to name but a few… The only downside of the book being unofficial is that we will be not able to talk to any current Nintendo employees, and many of these games original creators are still working there. In these instances, we will be using text from existing interviews which is completely standard practice and all sources will be credited appropriately.
This campaign features a selection of unique rewards that will hopefully appeal to Nintendo fans. These range from unique posters to the chance to own your own spread in the book and review a game of your own choice.
'The Islands of SNES' A2 Poster
Created exclusively for this campaign by Gary J Lucken of Army of Trolls, this incredible artwork features a series of SNES-themed islands referencing different games and game genres. The poster will never be reprinted so this is your one and only chance to own it. Army of Trolls works with huge companies such as Honda and Disney so this is a unique opportunity to own a piece of the company's artwork. The poster measures 594mm x 420mm and will be delivered rolled up in a heavy-duty tube.
We are delighted to be once again working with graphic designer Adam Rufino on the creation of a set of SNES/Super Famicom blueprint posters. Measuring 594mm x 420mm (A2), they are in the style of a technical drawing and have been specially illustrated by Adam especially or this campaign. Both posters feature silver metallic details, and are lithographically printed to very high standards – they will be very cool!
Have your own spread
Something we do throughout all our visual compendiums is to invite backers to pick a game to be featured in the book. They then get to write a 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.
Become a character in the book
This is a unique opportunity to have yourself immortalised in pixels and appear in the book. If chosen, you will work with Craig Stevenson to create your character which will then appear within the book in one of the locations. It will also appear at the back of the book within a special backer thanks section.
Stretch goals ストレッチゴール
If the book goes past its £25K target, we’ve devised a series of stretch goals that will happen if the following amounts are reached. Basically, the more funding we get, the better the book will be for you!
In total, 16 gatefold pages will be added to the book if funded. Gatefold pages (as used in our NES book) 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!
At £175K the front cover of the hard slipcase will be made lenticular. Those who have seen our NES book will be familiar with this effect. It essentially makes the slipcase cover animate - so the sprites move/change when the slipcase is moved. Both the slipcase and lenticular will be applied to both the softcover and hardback editions.
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.
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 and overseas books will also have extra protection. Books will be shipped in November 2017 just in time for Christmas!
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.
I hope you will support this campaign.
Thanks / ありがとうございます
Please note that this book is not officially endorsed by Nintendo but is produced as a tribute to the iconic SNES/Super Famicom. All games and characters are the property of the copyright owners and are used for review purposes only. Nintendo®, SNES®, Super Famicom®, Mario®, Zelda®, Super Metroid®, Mega Man®, Star Fox®, F-Zero® and Punch Out!!® and all registered trademarks owed by Nintendo.
Please note that some content may not be suitable for young children.
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 six 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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