Retro video gaming, as I’ve mentioned before, is big business these days. Not everybody seeking to capitalize on nerd nostalgia is making retro hardware, though; many are the books coming out on the subject, as well, including today’s offering: Bitmap Books’ The Unofficial NES/Famicom: a Visual Compendium. It’s a big title, but that’s only fitting, since it’s a big book, measuring 9.75 x 7.25 x 2 inches and weighing just over four pounds. This is a hefty tome, and it comes inside a sturdy and attractive slipcase, fronted by a neat lenticular "A to Z" graphic celebrating many of the NES’ most famous games. The graphic is sharp and attractive, and the lenticular effect is fun (and appropriately 80s!); the only problem with the case itself is that the lenticular panel is pasted on to the front of the slipcase rather than embedded into it, meaning that it does have a bit of a hard ridge around the edge that can foul other books it’s shelved next to, potentially even being torn off if you, for whatever reason, jam it onto a shelf particularly violently. So don’t do that.
Oddly enough, the book is contained within both the slipcase and a dust jacket, which is an odd setup I don’t believe I’ve ever seen before. The dust jacket has exactly the same design as the slipcase (minus the lenticular panel, of course), even down to the bar code and MSRP printed on the back. Charmingly enough, removing the dust jacket reveals a third instance of the exact same design printed on the covers of the book itself, with yet another copy of the bar code and price tag. This is not a problem in any way — it certainly doesn’t interfere with one’s enjoyment of the book — but it is a bit of an oddity.