Book Review: Super Red Green Blue

Book-Review-Super-Red-Green-BlueIn recent times we have seen a multitude of high quality books released that have illustrated the highlights of our favourite retro systems. The Mega Drive/Super Nintendo book from Retro Gamer publisher Imagine, Commodore 64: A Visual Commpendium from Bitmap Books, and the recently reviewed Push Start – The Art of Video Games are all great additions to the library of any gamer wishing to enjoy the artwork and visual delights of their favourite games and systems of yore. The one thing all of these books is missing though, is a narrative. Enter the debut novella from freelance journalist and author Robert Jones – Super Red Green Blue. A semi-autobiographical work, Super Red Green Blue tells the story of Steve, an ex-staff writer for a popular games magazine who decided to open his own used games store in a slightly downtrodden area of London.

Reading like a cross between Nick Hornby’s record store-set High Fidelity and an episode of East Enders, Super RGB revolves around Steve’s daily arguments with his store staff and the trials and tribulations of his failing relationships with his long-term girlfriend and absent mother. These arguments are usually centred on the outbursts of Jeff, a local layabout who frequents the store (the titular Super RGB) and whom believes he is the most knowledgeable gamer in the whole of the nation’s capital. What’s great about Super RGB though, is the way Jones – through Steve – relates most of the troubles in his life to videogames and periods in his life where games were the most important aspect of his existence. There are constant mentions of the intricacies of SNK and Capcom fighters, little-known Super Nintendo platform games and even an extremely moving reference to Pebble Beach Golf Links – which sounds absurd, but you’ll know what I mean if you read the book.

Interspersed with the daily back and forth of Steve and Jeff’s tempestuous interactions, there are numerous flashbacks to earlier times in Steve’s life which all involve gaming in some way, and all of the aforementioned nods to various consoles and titles from a variety of genres really spoke to me as a gamer. Jones clearly knows his stuff when it comes to games, even at one point referencing how refreshing the cans of soda in Shenmue looked when Ryo drained them in one long swig. It’s been a while since I read a book that had me hooked in the same way Super Red Green Blue did, and I think the easy-flowing writing style, multiple references to games I’ve enjoyed personally, and also the laugh-out-loud interactions between the book’s central characters all helped.

At heart though Super RGB is more than just a comedy about games – it’s also a revealing examination of how games can sometimes mean more to us than real relationships with other people, and how things can rapidly fall apart if we lose sight of what really matters in our lives. Super Red Green Blue isn’t an incredibly lengthy book – it weighs in at just under 130 pages, but contained within its modest form is a story that really made me think about my own relationship with games and how it has shaped my personality. A though-provoking, sometimes heart-wrenching and above all humorous look at the life of a gamer through the eyes of a gamer, Super Red Blue Green is a fantastic debut and one that every retro gaming enthusiast should sit down and read.

Link: Official Super Red Blue Green website

Last Updated ( 17 December 2014 )  

Tom Charnock

A true connoisseur of failed and obscure console hardware, if Tom isn't extolling the virtues of the Jaguar CD's texture smoothing abilities or the Dreamcast's vast array of useless peripherals he's usually on Twitter asking where all the Super A'Can games are.

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(Link to this comment) Zelkian 2014-12-17 16:15
The link should be:
+1 (Link to this comment) Tomleecee 2014-12-17 17:10
It's fixed

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