The Video Game Console Collector's Field Guide started as a personal quest to discover the depths of hardware collecting but evolved into a massive 460 page collector guide and checklist for everyone!
I’ve been a gamer ever since I was about 4 years old and my earliest gaming memory was of playing Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt in my living room after my grandma unexpectedly bought us a Nintendo Entertainment System. Before then I had no concept of computer games. Before then I was the kid playing in the dirt with my Tonka trucks. I think it‘s pretty safe to say that my grandma unknowingly set me on my path of being obsessed with video gaming culture my whole life.
I grew up playing mainly the NES and then the Genesis through the 80s and 90s so I don’t have any brand bias nor have I ever. Aside from an Atari that we bought at a garage sale at one point, that was it for my gaming consoles. In 1998, when I got my first job and had a paycheck, I started to accumulate more and more games which slowly grew into a collection. That collection grew into a console centric collection and then curiosity struck. 2010 was when I started doing heavy research into game consoles due to the fact that I just kept coming across more and more pieces of hardware that I’d never heard of. It seemed like the more I looked, the deeper the rabbit hole went. Gaming magazines like Retro Gamer, YouTubers such as Gamester81, and websites like The Video Game Console Database all gave me a great point of reference and an excellent foundation of knowledge.
Despite the excellent resources out there, I decided that I needed to compile a list from scratch of everything I came across since not any one resource seemed to have it all. At that time it was never about making a book or a website but purely a personal obsession to educate myself about something that I love, and to learn about consoles that I might want to own someday.
It wasn’t until 2015 after playing a gorgeous Sharp X68000 (owned by Rob Ivy) for the first time at the first “Let’s Play Gaming Expo” that I decided I wanted to make a visual guide so that I could easily identify what I was looking at. After buying Photoshop and teaching myself the basics, I was off and started on making my own personal visual reference.
The contents of this book by no means encompass the whole of video gaming hardware throughout the world (yet) nor is it meant to be completely encyclopedic in nature. The master list I’ve compiled thus far contains over 2000 unique pieces and counting. The reason this book doesn’t contain all 2000+ pieces of hardware is simple: I didn’t want to just make a boring list but wanted to make sure that I had pictures and logos with each unique piece mentioned.
The consoles, computers, and other pieces of miscellaneous hardware in this book are an excellent representation of what you might expect to find while hunting out in the wild and online in North America, Japan and the U.K., and as you can imagine it took countless hours of research and endless photo editing in PhotoShop. Where I couldn’t find pictures and logos in the public domain, I had to go out and take the pictures myself and recreate the logos from scratch. The book you have is the culmination of about 10 years of research and work (on and off) so far and the first time that this has been printed through a publisher.
The guide includes 4 main sections:
1) The visual guide - Pictures of over 900 pieces of gaming hardware with their associated logos. 170+ full color pages, all organized into a dozen chapters and sorted so that they're easily identifiable. ALL of your favorite game consoles are inside to include offerings from: Magnavox, Atari, Commodore, Sega, Nintendo, SNK, NEC, Sony, Microsoft, Bandai, Panasonic, Tiger, Philips, Mattel, Coleco, Apple and countless others.
FIELD GUIDE CHAPTERS
CHAPTER: THE ORIGINAL PLAYERS
CHAPTER: HERE COMES A NEW CHALLENGER!!
CHAPTER: THE NEW KID
CHAPTER: POTENT PORTABLES
CHAPTER: POTENT PORTABLES
CHAPTER: POTENT PORTABLES
2) Special Features and Interviews - Rare console variations, knockoff consoles, and interviews with collectors of some of the largest and most interesting collections in the world.
3) The Index - Facts, technical summaries, and personal anecdotes based on research done into most of the hardware in the book and more.
4) The Checklist - An easy to follow checklist so that you can keep track of everything that you've personally seen, played and owned. All hardware is in the order that they appear in the visual guide. Think of it as your personal gaming memory card.
The Video Game Console Collector's Field Guide has existed in 5 editions so far:
ALPHA EDITION PRINT
The Alpha Edition Print was the beginning of my serious efforts to make a product and was printed in limited quantities as a proof of concept. Only one 8.5"x11" book ($70) and three 5"x7" books ($25 each) were printed. The 8.5"x11" is in my personal collection while the three 5"x7" books were given to local friends.
ALPHA DIGITAL EDITION
This is the exact same as the printed Alpha save for the front cover which looks like a NEOGEO AES console rather than fake leather. This was and still is available for download on agentsofgame.com. I cringe looking through it now because it's so unfinished compared to the book now. You have to start somewhere! If you want to cringe with me here is the file.
BETA DIGITAL EDITION
The Beta Digital Edition was a procedural update to the Alpha Print and was never printed in this form. It was however, available free to download digitally for a limited time.
FIRST EDITION PRINT / DIGITAL
The First Edition print was Kickstarted in March of 2020 and raised about $12,000 during the 30 day campaign. Only 111 copies were made and distributed. Digital copies can be downloaded here:
Self published and printed by The Lightning Press.
FIRST EDITION DIGITAL / PHYSICAL COPY
Physical copies of the digital file were made in very limited numbers for a select group of game collectors as part of the NEO-NES Museum Collection. Files came on a DVD-R chock full of files used to make the book as well as the book itself in PDF form.
SECOND EDITION PRINT
The Second Edition Print was produced just 1 year after the First Edition Print due to the first edition selling out so quickly. Additionally, it was in the middle of major video game hardware makers' hardware refresh and there was plenty of content to polish and add. This time around the book is being published by Hagen's Alley Entertainment, owned by author Jeffery Wittenhagen. Going through a proven publisher, I was able to offer premium additions to the book such as foiling, gilding, cloth bookmarks, and even slipcases for each and every book!
The Second Edition was also Kickstarted, this time in August of 2021, and raised over $19,000.
The Second Edition has been printed, received at the shipping facility and is currently shipping to backers. Additional copies are now available to purchase @ https://premiumeditiongames.com/ and soon @ https://hagensalley.com/.
Every copy both Kickstarter and sold on https://premiumeditiongames.com/ and Hagensalley.com will come with a slipcover seen below in the mockup. Covers vary slightly from the picture below as the final page count is now 460 and I added my name to the front cover.
The Video Game Console Collector's Field Guide w/ Slip Cover