Monday, May 23, 2011

Update - 5/23 - Kindle Book Availability, KGB, Circuit's Edge, Cosmology of Kyoto, Polygon Magic Fighters, Dragon Blaze, Tecmo World Wrestling

(UPDATE: Book's back up for sale!) The great thing about print-on-demand is that it will never go out of print, at least as long as the publisher is still around, so you don't need to worry about it selling it or anything. The good news is that the Kindle version is now available - check it out at Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Amazon DE. It's priced at $9.99 US, and should be the equivalent in local currency on the United Kingdom and Germany site, with the addition of VAT.

Some people have inquired about other formats, like the Nook and Sony eReaders - unfortunately, the only way to get onto their store is through publishers like Smashmouth, who have an annoying 5 MB limit on documents. The Word document for HG101 Guide to Classic Graphics Adventures weighs in at 95 MB, because there are tons and tons of pictures - even the Kindle version is a bit under 20 MB - so that's a no go. I might sell ePub format or PDFs directly through the site, if there's any demand for it. Double good news is that all of the electronic formats have color graphics (color printing for a book of this size is way too expensive) if your device supports it.

People have also been asking me if any of the not-already-posted book content will be available on the site. The answer to that is...some of it will be. The longer articles - King's Quest, The Journeyman Project, The Chzo Mythos, Zork, etc. - definitely will show up in the coming months. But there are a lot of single and double page articles that I'm not entirely sure I can find a spot on the site without placing it together with larger articles. Like, maybe one day you might see the Bill & Ted article here if we do a big blowout on Bill & Ted games (there are more than you'd expect!) but otherwise a majority of those will probably stay exclusive to the book.

What I will be posting are some lesser known but very interesting, unique titles. I've put up three this update - Cosmology of Kyoto, which lets you explore the myths and legends of medieval Japan; KGB, a relentlessly difficult mystery set in Soviet Russia (with an amazing soundtrack), and Circuit's Edge, based off a series of George Alec Effinger novels, which is a sci-fi adventure game that meshes exploration with a first person dungeon-crawling style interface. This last one was published under the Infocom label, seeing how it has some traces of interactive fiction, but was actually developed by the famed Westwood Studios.

I particularly love featuring games like this, because they exemplify why HG101 refuses to attach scores to our articles - KGB is practically impossible to beat without a walkthrough, Circuit's Edge is less menacing but awkward to play (plus any game like this that only has a single save slot deserves to be punched), and Cosmology of Kyoto can only barely be qualified as a game. On most review sites, they would almost have to be given low-to-mediocre reviews based on their failings, but each still offers something fascinating, making them well worth playing, or at least reading about.

Also please note that while many articles have been reprinted from the site, they've all been fixed up a bit, and in a few cases, entirely rewritten. For example: The Legend of Kyrandia was featured on here way back in 2006 or so, but I decided to play through them for a fresher take and a more in-depth review. Malcolm's Revenge, the third game in the series, is 2/5ths of one of the best adventure games ever made, but the whole middle sections is maddeningly annoying. The Hand of Fate, the second game, is more consitently, though it reaches neither the same highs nor lows. It was also developed by Westwood, and they all have excellent soundtracks too.

At any rate, long time readers may remember how the past year or two was largely focused on adventure games, since I was focusing on content for the book. I don't want to alienate too many people that come here for reviews on different genres, so there's plenty of other content for this update. Last update we talked about a terrible wrestling game, but this update we talk about Tecmo World Wrestling, which I'd never played before but apparently uses the same cinematic-style cutscenes as Tecmo Super Bowl, Tecmo World Cup Soccer (which was secretly a Captain Tsubasa game), and, of course, Ninja Gaiden. On the shooter side, we also have a review of Dragon Blaze, which I'm pretty sure was the last title put out by Psikyo, who was quite prolific in the mid-90s. (May I also remind you that Deathsmiles IIX was recently released on the North American Xbox Marketplace as a digital download, and is well worth picking up?)

We also have a look at a number of 3D fighters put out by a company called Polygon Magic. I hadn't heard of these guys up until recently, when I did a write-up for a pretty cool cel-shaded fighter called Slap Happy Rhythm Busters, which was also developed by them. But they had produced other titles beforehand, including the arcade game Fighters Impact, and the PSOne fighter Vs., which actually was released in North America. And Your Weekly-ish Kusoge is Don't Buy This: Five of the Worst Games Ever, a collection of purportedly awful ZX Spectrum games which revels in audacity.


  1. As I have no Kindle (or other e-reader) and the print version is a bit expensive for me at the moment I'd love ot buy a PDF version. I know I could use the PC Kindle software, but the money for the PDF version would go more directly to you and the other authors, so I would prefer that.

  2. I've been a longtime follower of this site and I just wanted to say you guys motivated me to create my own blog, Keep up the good work and thank you from a long time reader of the site.

  3. Does this mean that the Kindle version has color graphics when viewed via the Kindle PC reader? Lack of color has been the one thing keeping me from picking this up so far (I'd shell out for a color printing!), so if there's a digital version with color I'm there. I'd also be interested in a PDF version, if you were to make that available.

  4. The Kindle version is indeed in color if you're using the PC reader or the iPod/iPad app. Still, if you're going to be reading on a PC, it'd probably be better to wait until I get my act in gear and put out the color PDF/other epub formats. The downside to the Kindle version is that some of the pictures are compressed, whereas the PDF will be pretty much the same as the book copy, but in color.

    Color printing is still super expensive. I don't know if I mentioned it here, but putting this out in color would require splitting it up into two volumes and charging roughly $60 for each.