Book Review: The SNES Omnibus Vol. 1 & 2

With such a massive and legendary game catalog to chronicle, Schiffer Publishing and author Brett Weiss decided to split their Super Nintendo Entertainment System tome, The SNES Omnibus, into two beefy volumes instead of just one. It was a wise decision, because I don’t imagine it would’ve been too comfortable to try holding and reading through a single book of nearly 900 pages and what would probably approach 10 pounds.

The SNES Omnibus is essentially an encyclopedia for every single SNES game. A hefty 416 pages on its own, Volume 1 covers games alphabetically A thru M, while the second volume wraps up the library with games N thru Z over the course of 464 pages. That’s well over 700 games in all!

Each game entry consists of a data outline box, including basic information like publisher, developer, game type, and release date, followed by a general gameplay review/overview. Further detail and context are provided in the form of Notable Quotable quotes pulled from old articles or reviews in GamePro, EGM, GameSpot, and various other publications and websites of the period. Occasionally the author also sprinkles in a fun fact or personal anecdote, if a particular game triggers a memory to a related experience.

The text information for each game is accompanied by a variety of pictures, such as box and cartridge art, title screen, screenshots, and old advertisements. Both volumes feature gorgeous centerfolds, each displaying a unique collage of iconic characters. Here’s a sneak peek:

The real standout feature to the book is the addition of Insider Insights, personal stories from other authors, reviewers, YouTubers, and creators that truly bring to light what it was like to be a gamer in the SNES era. Gamers of the 80s and 90s will be on full nostalgia overload reading stories about friends gaming into the wee hours, weekend sleepovers spent burning through that prized new game rental, moments of discovery upon coming across previously unknown games in a magazine or video game shop, and memorable video game birthdays or Christmas mornings.

The stories are so relatable, and will instantly bring back fond memories of similar events from your own gaming past. For me, I thought back to countless sleepovers spent watching my best friend play games like Final Fantasy II, Mystic Quest, and King Arthur’s World. And that one time I swapped my Sega Genesis for my friend’s SNES for a short time and finally got the chance to play all those games I’d mostly spent watching him play, and experience a game like Killer Instinct for the first time.

Most games fill up a page, some barely fill half a page (including images) with little more than a vague description of a few brief paragraphs and nothing in the way of supplemental data, while the true classics–think Chrono Trigger, Donkey Kong Country, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Secret of Mana, Super Mario World, and Super Metroid, for example–are given the proper royal treatment, spanning multiple pages with sometimes three or four different Insider Insight stories.

Whether you’re a gaming child of the 80s and 90s who simply wants to flip through the SNES archives and reminisce about past game experiences or a history buff genuinely interested in learning more about the SNES library, The SNES Omnibus books have something meaningful or relatable to offer for everyone. The books are exhaustively researched and thoroughly analyzed. As an added bonus, both volumes end with retrospective-like articles about other SNES relevant topics, such as the Super Game Boy, the history of emulation, the Super Scope and light gun games, and the original console wars between Nintendo, Sega, and NEC.

The books are presented beautifully as well, including clean page flow and imagery, and clever flourishes such as the way the page numbers and alphabet icons are displayed in the style of the ESRB rating icon. It’s also nice that the two books have different cover colors: Volume 1 is red while Volume 2 features the iconic SNES purple and gray color scheme. They look lovely standing side by side on a bookshelf, that’s for sure.

Buy From: Amazon or Schiffer Publishing for MSRP $49.99 each.

Disclosure: Copies of The SNES Omnibus Volumes 1 and 2 were provided to VGBlogger.com for review consideration by Schiffer Publishing.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!