The only game guides I ever bought were thin magazine-like booklets, having stratagems for one game…until last year. That’s when I discovered Bitmap Books and their awesome tome A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games. Here’s your up front call to action: if you’re a fan of the RPG genre and are able to purchase this wonderful reference book, do yourself a favor and order it a.s.a.p. You will not be disappointed.
I’m not sure why I haven’t already written about it, but better late than never. What prompted me was its constant presence. I keep the book within reach, prominently atop my bedside dresser or desk. The large hardback book with magenta binding and colorful cover is simply good looking and worthy of display. It catches my eye (usually the left one) every time I’m near it.
The overall quality of the cover, binding, pages, ink, and printing is, to my untrained eyes, excellent. The shipping package was also considerable and impressive. It arrived from England to my Texas home quickly and in excellent condition. I can tell Bitmap Books puts great care into its products.
The book’s organization and layout with sections and headers is clear and easy to follow. And looking up games is fast and simple thanks to its thorough index. Each game has a few screenshots and an overview or synopsis with what seems to be the most relevant information about it. The guide is not exhaustive but is comprehensive, so you won’t find a wiki-amount of info for the games, but you’ll find out about the main or essential elements of each game.
It’s an indispensable tool — a tangible one in this age of the internet — and an inviting big picture look at the breadth and wealth (and a bit of depth) the JRPG genre offers. I especially appreciate the authors’ care in defining the genre as it started and has come to be known today, along with some history and other general pertinent info about JRPGs.
I’m a fan of JRPGs and of this excellent book. I’ll also say I’m am very interested in buying more physical goods from Bitmap Books. In our digital age, only the best physical products are worth an investment; A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games is one of them. And if this tome is updated with added JRPGs in the future, or a volume two is released, I will definitely buy it.