The Super Nintendo – or SNES for short – is arguably one of, if not the greatest consoles ever produced. It houses one of the best libraries to ever grace a console, even today, with its games being the realization of what companies like Capcom, Konami, even Nintendo themselves, could only dream of on the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Its influence is felt in indie titles that have a design and aesthetic that is clearly inspired by games from the SNES, such as Undertale and Stardew Valley, and, as seen by the success of Nintendo’s miniature SNES Classic that was released last year, people will look for any opportunity to re-experience the SNES’ library. Whether you grew up with the SNES or are just starting your collection today, a great, modern guide that you should have with you is the SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and its Games, Vol. 1 by Brett Weiss, a book that not only catalogs a large portion of the SNES’ library, but also has wonderful anecdotes from those who grew up with the system that help to capture the era that few books written about the system ever have.
Brett Weiss is no stranger to writing detailed books about retro video games, having worked as a freelance writer before going on to pen the Classic Home Video Game series of books and The 100 Greatest Console Video Games. Weiss uses his experience to write detailed excerpts for the many games that make up his first volume of The SNES Omnibus, and while the book itself isn’t a page turner per se that you’re not going to want to put down, each section comes to life with beautiful pictures of things like cover art, cartridges, screenshots, even advertisements that ran in print magazines back in the ‘90’-s.
The SNES Omnibus is a great trip down memory lane for those who grew up with the Super Nintendo, and also a great guide for those who want to find out about its library before they start collecting its games. Even if you think you knew everything about the Super Nintendo, chances are you’ll still find yourself saying “I’ve never heard of that!” when you turn the page and see a game called Bronkie the Bronchisaurus, a platformer designed to teach kids about asthma. For each game within The SNES Omnibus, Brett has even included sections titled “Notable Quotable” which collect not only what people were saying about these games when they were new, but what modern reviewers are saying about them on their blogs and YouTube channels.
The Super Nintendo is more than just a console and the games that were played on it though. What has made the system have such a lasting impact are the people who reminiscence about the time they played something for the first time, or discovered a hidden gem just by picking up a game off of the shelf at Blockbuster just by looking at its box art. In portions called “Insider Insight”, Brett has assembled a plethora of talent from the games industry, whether that’s up and comers like Brittney Brombacher from What’s Good Games, to industry veterans like the Player One Podcast’s Greg Sewart among countless others to share their stories about the games included in this first volume of The SNES Omnibus. It’s one thing to hear about someone gushing over playing a title like Chrono Trigger for the first time, but another to hear a story about how they fell in love with Clay Fighter after opening it during the holiday season. Brett’s write-ups will tell you what makes up a game by describing things like their mechanics and levels, but it’s in the “Insider Insight” portion where you find out how these games took on a life beyond the data that makes them up.
If you’re looking for a gift this holiday season for someone who loves retro video games, a sure bet would be The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and its Games, Vol.1. Through its write-ups and images, it paints a detailed picture about the history of one of Nintendo’s greatest accomplishments and personal stories from contributing writers will either remind you of what it was like to get the system for the first time, or explain just how magical it was for those who are coming to the SNES much later in their lives or simply weren’t even born yet. The Super Nintendo has had a lasting impact on players, developers, and the video game industry as a whole, and Brett Weiss explains why in this first of two volumes of The SNES Omnibus.
The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and its Games, Vol. 1 (A-M) is available wherever books are sold, and you can get updates on the second volume on Brett Weiss’ website and by following Classic Home Video Games on Facebook.
Brett’s website: http://www.brettweisswords.com/
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author of this article contributed to this book. The copy for review was purchased by the author with their own funds.