Mastering NIntendo Video Games (1-2)
Length: 146 pages
From: Judd Robbins and Joshua Robbins/Hayden Books, 1990

Ad copy:"..the all-new, high-octane guide to Nintendo! This strategy manual teaches you all you need to know to beat the blob, destroy dragons, and thwart all evil-doers in your attempt to conquer America's hottest craze - Nintendo! ... Mastering Nintendo Video Games II is your total guide to winning at Nintendo!"

The truth: Cute cover, man. It's too bad that the contents don't really live up to it. The authors went for the "let a bunch of kids play the games for us" approach (they even list in their acknowledgements "Josh Gallup for so generously loaning us Tecmo Bowl so that we could write about it"). Inside, the layout is kind of busy, with lots of horizontal and vertical rules, boldface, and little icons representing the ratings, hints, and so on. The odd thing is that there are zero pictures in the entire thing - kind of a strange omission, especially given the $10 price of the book.

This book is divided into several sections: Section 1 is the in-depth review section, with each game's story and several hints (although most of the hints are of the "Here is an evil thing you will run across - be sure to avoid it to keep from dying" variety). Section 2 is secret stuff taken from "Classified Information", and Section 3 contains capsule reviews of 30 or so games. The book's text is for the most part dry as a bone, except for sparkly bits here and there (Josh says at one point that 1943 is "nothing to do a loop-the-loop over". Whoa!)

Overall, this is definitely another read once, then put on the cupboard book.