Book Review: The N64 Encyclopedia: Every Game Released for the Nintendo 64 – – Gamereactor

According to the author, Chris Scullion has been playing games for over 30 years. During his 15 years in the business professionally, the Scottish video game journalist has also written for several organisations. His CV includes titles such as Official Nintendo Magazine UK (plus official PlayStation and Xbox magazines, so no fandom), Retro Gamer, Polygon, The Guardian and Video Game Chronicle (VGC). With such a long and productive career, it’s not hard to believe that Scullion has a wealth of video game and console knowledge. Fortunately, he chose to share this knowledge with us through writing and publishing books.

Scullion has previously written three unofficial guides for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and Sega Mega Drive, each covering every single game launched for the Western market on those consoles. Scullion’s fourth book comes out in August 2022 (December 2022 if you live in the US), and this time he’s gone a step further by also including every game specifically for the Japanese market. That might sound broad, but considering the console in question is a Nintendo 64, the task isn’t as daunting as you might think.

The N64 Encyclopedia is the fourth book in the series by Chris Scullion, who charts every game launched for the console.

Although the Nintendo 64’s total game library is significantly smaller than its two predecessors and biggest competitor, the Sony PlayStation, Scullion’s book still covers more than 400 games in its 256 pages. This means that no matter how limited your experience with the Nintendo 64 is, you can still find some words from the console dedicated to your fondest memories, whether your game of choice is GoldenEye 007, Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: One of the classics like Ocarina of Time, or lesser-known titles like Bass Hunter 64, Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, or one of the countless wrestling games (how many do you really need?

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After a brief introduction to the console itself, Scullion is longer even though the book focuses on games rather than the N64 or its place in gaming history, Scullion moves on and starts alphabetically (which of course means 1080 ° Snowboarding is the first game). Each game is listed with its full title, year of release, developer, publisher, and three symbols showing in which territories the game was released. The greatest game (or, in the case of Superman 64, the most infamous game) earns itself a full page, while smaller titles and many sports titles get half a page or even a quarter page. The exact information shared about the game may vary, but is mostly about the game’s place in its series (if it’s part of it), presentation, reception, performance, challenges it faced during development, or interest in the game’s entertainment. Some thoughts on the value. The book doesn’t attempt to review every game, but you can still extract information from what’s written about whether it’s good, bad, or just for genuinely interested fans.

Book Review: The N64 Encyclopedia: Every Game Released for the Nintendo 64
All games are cataloged with pictures, words and fun facts. Some games are only a full page, some are only a quarter.

Regardless of any previous knowledge or relationship you have with the game, it’s easy to immerse yourself in the material and flip through page after page to navigate the console’s library. Thanks to the light-hearted nature of the book, Scullion isn’t afraid to throw in a bad pun or two (before apologizing for his goofy humor) to spice things up. The jokes are never distracting or cruel, which is appreciated. A nice bonus is that each game’s articles have their own fun facts or curiosities written in their own dedicated bubble to make them easier to find when looking up the game again in the future. All of this combines to make this book an easier read and more interesting than similar books of the genre, with qualities ranging from dreamy to amateurish, especially in the unofficial guides. I did, however, notice a couple of minor mistakes in the book that could easily have been corrected with more proofreading before publication (I only counted three in the entire book, which is probably more than you can in this review less found in , because it was written by a non-native speaker of English). None of these errors are enough to send you out of control while reading, so they should only be considered minor details rather than convincing arguments against reading or buying the book.

Book Review: The N64 Encyclopedia: Every Game Released for the Nintendo 64
All Japan-only games are also included in the book, including the 64DD games.

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All games are paired with screenshots taken by Scullion himself. Some screenshots may be scattered and unclear, but this is a testament to both the graphical quality of the game at the time and the author’s aesthetic flair. Speaking of pictures, the book’s biggest downside is that it doesn’t include box art for each game. There could be a number of reasons for omitting this: space is the most obvious one, it can be difficult to get a perfect copy of every Nintendo 64 game box, if possible, and covers often vary by region. Still, many of us have lots of memories of the box art from these older games, so a collage of all the box art that follows would be a nice addition.

What you do get, however, is a section on the last page of the book that covers all the Japan-exclusive games, which is a nice bonus considering Scullion wasn’t able to cover them in his previous books, since the Western library is large enough. This section begins with ten games released for 64DD, a disk add-on released exclusively for the Japanese in 1999 and discontinued in 2001. This section is extra juicy for readers looking to broaden their horizons as much as possible, and while reading it, you can easily understand why most of these games don’t get international distribution due to their niche nature (it’s hard to understand why we need tons of The Mahjong game is here, even though we do get that many wrestling games). Still, some of these versions may have potential outside of Japan, and it feels like a shame they never got the chance. Run and Gunners Crime and Punishment or Tetris 64 are just two examples of possible success in the US and Europe, but the biggest surprise was Nintendo’s missed opportunity to release Pokémon games outside of Japan. The book can tell you that Japan received not two Pokémon Stadium games but three, since the first game in the series called Pokemon Stadium was a Japan exclusive. The game is somewhat underwhelming, as it only includes 42 monsters, but considering it was released in 1998, when the Pokémon craze was just starting in the West, in retrospect, you can’t help but think the game would sell well. Then again, Pokémon Puzzle League was only released in the western region, so I don’t think a single region will catch them…

Book Review: The N64 Encyclopedia: Every Game Released for the Nintendo 64
We don’t get much console history, tech info, or promotional material related to the Nintendo 64 in the book, though here we see examples of the latter.

Those who like reference books on video games, video game history, and/or the Nintendo 64 will get their money’s worth with The N64 Encyclopedia. Scullion’s writing style is pleasant and easy to read, the structure makes it easy to find the specific game you might be looking for, the production values ​​are solid thanks to the excellent materials and easy-to-read font, and the illustrations are mostly good, although some screen Screenshots could be better. Hopefully Scullien hasn’t gotten tired of writing yet, I’d like to check out his catalog now as we wait for his next book.


The article is in Chinese

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