Nintendo Games Secrets (1-3)
Length: 358 pages
From: Rusel DeMaria and Zach Meston/Prima Publishing, 1990-91

Nintendo Games Secrets 3

Ad copy: "INSTANT MASTERY through AMAZING STRATEGY SESSIONS - THE HOTTEST SECRETS covered in the GREATEST DETAIL - GRAPHICS that show HOW TO DO IT - The newest, "Rad"-est games..."

The truth: I really dig this series, and I'll be the first to admit that some of the walkthroughs I've written were heavily inspired by some of the chapters in the books. For one thing, the books are actually kind of enjoyable to read for a change - they're well laid out inside and out with fairly sharp black-n-white screenshots. If you look hard enough, you might even find traces of a rare element known as "humor", which seems to be impossible to find in books like these.

There's also the issue of the covers. The covers in each Secrets of the Games series told a story of sorts. The NES books feature a guy and girl barbarian duo fighting against evil demigods; the Game Boy book series features a guy dressed in business attire and a boy fighting against a huge, evil robot; the Genesis books feature a couple of other dudes fighting a dragon (which doesn't actually get killed until book 4 in the Genesis series).

Although these books all have authorship attributed to DeMaria, it was actually Zach Meston that did most of the work for the series (going through the games and so forth), but he didn't get part credit until later on. Rusel comes through in these books as a kind of hippie dude; each book has "A Parent's Guide to Video Games" in the back that talks about things like violence and frustration, and at the end of the introduction to every book he wrote, Rusel puts these lines in:

         I'd like to end with a personal statement. Video games are often 
         violent in content. That's OK. They're games. Enjoy the games, 
         but please remember what's important:

Respect the Earth. Respect all Life.


That's Rusel's italics, boldface, and spacing! I'll forgive him his weirdness, though, because this series is more than worthy for any real player. Unfortunately, Prima Publishing's works have really gone downhill since this bookline was phased out. Nowadays they do tip books on nearly every game that's released, but this quantity certainly isn't better than real quality...