Video game art books & guides!

sorry if there‘s already a thread for this? couldn’t find one, wanted to flex & have others post their shelves! mostly strategy guides up top, middle shelves are art books…i like old sega ones, as a matter of fact that big blue binder is all the free guides they'd give you if you called the sega hint line for help in the day, haha

https://i.imgur.com/rRR1aCi.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/mliGqSM.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/CxGuwiS.jpg

waiting to order some bitmap books that i've no idea where i'll put, haha - also needing some more HG101 books but this is what i got! a full other bookcase of classic gaming magazines too (diehard gamefan, next generation, EGM etc)

I am realizing just now that Press Reset would have been a much better title for a separate book documenting the changes and turmoils of the video game press/media in North America over the past 30 years.

I LOVE videogame artbooks but currently own none. I get them from the library, though, and page through them with my son. My favorites are Yoshitaka Amano's Final Fantasy artbooks.

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(Shelve not mine.) My favorite guidebook series ever is the **Denpa Mook ALL ABOUT series**, which started in 1982, but more specifically the 90’s collection from Studio Bent Stuff which covered popular arcade games of the times from the post-Street Fighter II fighting game boom (vol.1) until Street Fighter ZERO3 (vol.21).

This specific collection famously returned one more time for the All About Capcom Fighting Games 1987-2000 Vol.1 / All About SNK Fighting Games 1991-2000 Vol.2 double issue (released in time for Capcom Vs. SNK) seen at the far right of this picture – a pair of books which at the time proved both the most exhaustive information resource on both companies’ work and settled myriads of urban legends (such as finally confirming that Mike from SF1 and Mike Bison from SF2 were indeed separate characters) on Shoryuken, Orochinagi, Madman’s Café and similar fighting game forums.

Tons of strats, tons of bonus materials (unused characters etc.) and interviews which still prove useful today to help video game sleuths figure out some development stories and developer identities. This is the series that made me fall in love with collecting game guides of that era. (Unfortunately this hobby is not very compatible with having a small flat, as @"exodus"#3 can attest.)

There is some awesome stuff at Hand Drawn Game Guides. It‘s too bad they couldn’t move forward with their initial plans of publishing some of the NES guides but they have a cool regular newsletter.

Wow, how did I miss this thread.

The only two I have (both jackets wrapped in plastic Brodart covers) are *Cannabis Works* by Studio 4°C's Tatsuyuki Tanaka, which has [a chapter of *Linda^3* art](https://forums.insertcredit.com/d/374-linda-cube-25th-anniversary/35), and the 20th Anniversary Street Fighter artbook—about which my father went out of his way to comment to me "I don't think you should have bought that" lol.

I love Kinu Nishimura's art in particular. I love the gestural way she draws hands. I'll try to show you all what I mean:

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I would love to own more artbooks in general.

If there were say a place to go to acquire digital versions of artbooks first, so I knew exactly what I wanted to have as a hard copy in my collection… well I would be very grateful to anyone who could help me toward this aim.


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I'm so sad about the state of in-person artbook and comic book browsing where I live. First the Beguiling moved and I feel like they shed so much cool stock in the process, then Labyrinth closed up shop before I left Toronto (but then reopened as Thunderstruck—please check them out if you're in the Annex) and then I found out the Bank St. Silver Snail had closed down years ago. Lastly, the one big Chapters downtown here closed and "reopened" across the street as a shitty glorified giftshop. These were all excellent places to find comic animation and game artbooks—but more importantly, I feel, browse and flip through their pages. Ogle the high-quality prints on nice paper. That's a wonderful experience that's hard to say goodbye to.

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@“connrrr”#p104801 If there were say a place to go to acquire digital versions of artbooks first, so I knew exactly what I wanted to have as a hard copy in my collection… well I would be very grateful to anyone who could help me toward this aim.

You may want to try searching on archive.org! It’s not foolproof but you’ll I think be surprised at how often you’ll find scans of games-adjacent art books!

@“Karasu”#p104815 I've been able to find some, but I really do prefer to open images and peruse them more closely offline in the Preview app!

@“connrrr”#p104817 I usually download the pdf if its available.

@“tomjonjon”#p104818 that‘s cool if there is an official PDF of new artbooks, but I’m thinking more about scans of older, maybe out of print ones.

OH sorry, you mean if there's a pdf on archive.org. Yeah, that's convenient when available.

Like, see here, the Baten Kaitos wiki has 56 pages of the 111-page Official Analytics artbook. And they‘re all high-res, but they are also webps and separated into individual links that you can’t flip between sequentially. Tedious.

@“connrrr”#p104819 Yeah - I wasn't very clear on that one.

Here‘s my little collection. I’ve never been a huge guides person so I tend toward things I either REALLY like, or which are strange in a particular way, or have a significance to me, or, most importantly, come with a disc. [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/FqtWzwW.jpeg]

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@“exodus”#p104843 always thinking of pulling the trigger on buying that big ole Geeks Line PC-Engine book!!

@“IrishNinja”#p87205 My son is on his way over to read all of your guides. Please PM me your address so I can tell him where to go.

Libraries are a surprising good source for guides lately. I think my so has checked all of them out and he loves them for all the same reasons we did as kids and do now.

In conclusion, it isn’t a guide but I recycled my art book that came with _Etrian Odyssey 3_ several years ago and that’s going for $150 on eBay. Never ever look at what anything costs on eBay! 😭

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I have been pretty critical of art books and guidebooks recently published by Kadokawa / KGL on Insert Credit – notably for their ill-thought [ELDEN RING OFFICIAL ART BOOK Volume I](https://amzn.asia/d/gI3UTkq), its way too shiny print process and absurd layout decisions.

Well ! I am happy to say the new [Ars Minaba -皆葉英夫の「原点」たち-](https://amzn.asia/d/4roElCT) art book (288 pages / ¥4950), compiling over 30 years of Minaba Hideo’s contributions to video games, is one of the best game-related art books I have seen in the past few years, in spite of its publisher.

Now, you may look at the Amazon.jp page I just linked and be confused by the seven tepid reviews. Fret not! Those critics are Granblue Fantasy-loving morons who feel misled to believe the main focus of the book would be about big color illustrations of Granblue Fantasy, and are complaining that there wouldn’t be more pages dedicated to their money-grabbing SSR waifus, and are not understanding the merits of printing a few kilograms of in-development roughs and drafts. Forget about these losers!

This is a _TREASURE TROVE_ of game development resource, covering his entire career from obscure PC-88 role playing game [Barbatus no Majo](https://youtu.be/XeXA61yvbww) til Granblue, with tons of never seen before contents from Squaresoft, Square Enix and more. It’s also printed and laid out with upmost care.

What surprised me the most is how comprehensive the book managed to become: they got Cygames, their arch-nemesis Square Enix, Mistwalker (= probably Marvelous?), Shueisha, Level 5, Bird Studio, Microsoft Games and even Nintendo (!) for a Super Mario game (!!!) to greenlight the appearance of their copyrighted works in the same book.

So what you get inside is stuff like rough research drafts for Mallo and Geno which he created, the famous roughs for FF9 that leaked on The GIA before FF8 came out, his support work for Toriyama and Inoue on Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey, all his characters and background work for FF12 and Blood of Bahamut, forgotten stuff like Archaic Sealed Heat and Sakuranote, and even a bunch of pages dedicated to an unannounced and cancelled Simulation RPG for 3DS with post-apocalyptic Puerto-Rican pirates as its protagonists (!) that looks heavily inspired by Hugo Pratt’s Corto Maltese and rad as hell.

The FF6 section is also filled with early research on the game’s eventual art direction, with early ideas for a 3/4 isometric view façon Landstalker which he explains directly inspired Super Mario RPG later on.

The most revealing part of the book for me, on a first read through, has been to discover how well Minaba adapts his style to the peers and masters he works with. I thought this guy was basically a friend and copycat of Yoshida that had managed to find his own way eventually. No! He was copying Yoshida when and because the job at hand was to support Yoshida’s characters. In Blue Dragon, his Toriyama-like stuff looks just like the Toriyama of that era, down to new Toriyama-like Monsters and vehicles. Same for Inoue on Lost Odyssey. Etc. This is just a really, really talented artist doing what feels right for each project.

From my perspective, it’s pretty much an essential book if you ① are interested in character design for video games and ② have the means to buy and shelve such a big fat baby.

ISBN-13 ‎978-4041127704

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@“◉◉maru”#p107959 Now, you may look at the Amazon.jp page I just linked and be confused by the seven tepid reviews. Fret not! Those critics are Granblue Fantasy-loving morons who feel misled to believe the main focus of the book would be about big color illustrations of Granblue Fantasy, and are complaining that there wouldn’t be more pages dedicated to their money-grabbing SSR waifus, and are not understanding the merits of printing a few kilograms of in-development roughs and drafts. Forget about these losers!

This feels extra strange because GBF has huge and comprehensive series of art books that they keep releasing lol

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@“◉◉maru”#p107959 and even a bunch of pages dedicated to an unannounced and cancelled Simulation RPG for 3DS with post-apocalyptic Puerto-Rican pirates as its protagonists (!) that looks heavily inspired by Hugo Pratt’s Corto Maltese and rad as hell

_oh my gooooooood_

@“◉◉maru”#p107959 holy cow, thank you for the tip-off to this!!

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@“◉◉maru”#p107959 the famous roughs for FF9 that leaked on The GIA before FF8 came out

I remember the leak! And then not being able to find the images for a long time afterward, to the point I almost thought I'd imagined them. It's so cool to know he drew these.

[img]https://www.unseen64.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/ffix.h13.gif[/img]

@“connrrr”#p108000 Sorry, I cannot 100% confirm he drew these specific illustrations as they are not in the book. Four of these and some of these are in the book, for instance.