Book Review: Commodore 64 Book: A Visual Commpendium

Book-Review-Commodore-64-a-visual-CommpendiumIn our little hobby of videogames, nostalgia has always played an important part. Our memories keep alive games we haven't played for years - even if they were absolute stinkers. This is where the Commodore 64: a visual Commpendium comes in. Each game (100+ of them!) is lovingly spread across two pages with annotations from industry giants past and present. It all looks very reminiscent of a Retro Gamer's Reader Revival review - the focus dedicated to the artwork more than the accompanying blurb.

You can see that the book is a labor of love to the Commodore era - compiled by fans for fans of the 8-bit juggernaut. Chronologically ordered from the machines' humble beginnings in 1982 right through to the homebrew scene to today - there is something for everyone to peruse through and get that cheeky rose tinted smile back.

The book itself is of really good quality - something as simple as a dust cover shows the attention to detail and the extra mile gone to create the book. No page is wasted either - the inner and back pages made me laugh as they are line loader screens which always reminds me of sitting around seemingly for an eternity waiting for my game to load. The centre pages have some classic loading screens -everything from Treasure Island Dizzy to Head Over Heels to Rastan - these pages took my attention for a considerable amount of time poring over every pixel! I just wish there were more of them to devour, I would have really loved that. There were a couple of pages that seemed out of place somewhat - one looked to be lifted straight from a Codemasters Quattro Sports pack with ATV and Snooker games on it and the other was an Ocean film licence set up. They bridge the gap between the years in the book, but maybe if there were more of them (though loader graphics were a late 80's thing) they would stick out less. In their defence, they do have annotation by the original artists adding some interesting insight.


Strewn across the book is a liberal smattering of Oliver Frey artwork - his masterpieces were truly the gap between the game itself and how our gigantic imaginations as kids perceived it. Games like Chase HQ 2 and Platoon - fun games for sure, but not nearly as exciting as his artwork portrayed. Artwork was always key when choosing a new game on the C64 and the Commpendium is true homage to our trials and tribulations as pioneering enthusiasts.

So is the Commodore 64: a visual Commpendium worth your hard earned pennies? If you are a C64 die hard then it is a great addition to your collection. There is something in there for every enthusiast. From Cybernoid to Rambo to some pretty cool full game map spreads, it is a pleasure to leaf through. If you are more the casual gamer with an interest in the C64 - it is a good starting point to find some classic games. There is a PDF version available at less than half the price so if you are a tablet reader then it is definitely worth your time. Plus I have to recommend it as I am biased - any media that references one of my all time favourite games - Buggy Boy, immediately gets my two thumbs up and a ZZAP! Sizzler award.

Link: Buy Commodore 64 Book: A Visual Commpendium (C64) at Funstock

Last Updated ( 30 November 2014 )  

James 'ewjim' Evans

Jim is a self confessed know it all when it comes to 16-bit gaming. With a strange fondness of playing rubbish videogames for the fun of it, there is no stoop too low he won't go to for entertainment.

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