Some thoughts on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works book.

Mega Drive!
Mega Drive!

This week I managed to receive the first ever thing I backed on Kickstarter. ( I assume I'll get my code for the hugely delayed 3DS version of Shovel Knight (Europe) this week too.) The one I backed that I was most excited about getting was this absolutely wonderful book I found out about in one of Patrick's Worth Reading articles. It's kind of awesome having your name printed in the back of something that's as cool as this.

I dunno who this Jeff Gerstmann guy is... Sounds like a made up name to me.
I dunno who this Jeff Gerstmann guy is... Sounds like a made up name to me.

It was pretty expensive at £30, but most definitely worth it due to its high quality and my nostalgia for the Sega Mega Drive and Sega in general. I had a NES, but the Mega Drive was the point I was fully committed to this silly hobby of ours. I still adore Sonic, I'll never not adore Sonic regardless of the quality of his games.

The book has a foreword by Dave Perry from Shiny Entertainment/Gaikai, with a few words about him working on games like Global Gladiators, Cool Spot, Aladdin (the good one) and the Terminator game where I found out that they weren't allowed to have Sarah Connor in the game which is utterly absurd.

This is followed by a history of Sega where they talk about picking a fight with Nintendo, Sega US higher ups thinking that Sonic was stupid and that the Japanese branch didn't care for the 32X at all. I'm sure a bunch of this information is available elsewhere but it's a fun read and has some silly quotes from people like Corey Haim about the Mega/Sega CD.

This is a bad photo of some awesome art!
This is a bad photo of some awesome art!

There is some incredible fold-out blueprints of the early designs for the Mega Drive/ Genesis with all of the pencil notes and everything. It's fascinating and a thing of real beauty. If the book wasn't so lovely I'd rip it out and put it on my wall.

This is a thing of beauty.
This is a thing of beauty.

The rest of the book has rows of sprites from all of Sega's biggest games like Sonic, Streets of Rage, Gunstar Heroes, Altered Beast, and the Phantasy Star games among many others. This had me analyzing the images like I used to sit wide eyed looking at video game magazines as a kid. It's an incredible collection of art. Where else are you going to get two pages of Sonic level screenshots or the entirety of stages from Eternal Champions? The two pages that are absolutely the best though are the stages of Comix Zone layed out like the pages in a comic book.

I'm not a fan of the EU or the US cover for this game, but the Japanese cover is one of my favourite pieces of art ever. This is junk.
I'm not a fan of the EU or the US cover for this game, but the Japanese cover is one of my favourite pieces of art ever. This is junk.

Along with the sprites is all of the box art for all of Sega's biggest hits, fold outs of Shinobi and Alien Storm with some unused images like the realistic Gunstar Heroes cover that never was, and tons of other games like Alex Kidd, Kid Chameleon and Golden Axe etc.

My favourite things are probably the design documents for a bunch of games, obviously I am drawn to Gunstar Heroes which has a bunch of character bios and the original name at the top of the page. It turns out it was originally called Lunatic Heroes... which still kinda makes sense.

Aaanyways it's a great book full of art, interviews with important people that worked at Sega at the time and Mega Drivey things. It was absolutely worth backing and, I can definitely recommend it to people that have fond memories of the system. I have no idea where you can get it from... or even if it's available to everyone yet.

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