First off, if you bought this book expecting it to be a strategy-guide, you may have purchased unwisely. Second, I know some of you bought this book because "Hey, it's that diabetic lard-ass Attention Whore from the Internet who pretends to love games but hates the people who play them! LONG LIVE GAMERGATE! ETHICS IN GAMES JOURNALISM!" To them, I say... what are you even DOING here? And why would you knowingly waste your money on something you were sure was going to suck?
Well, for an eight-dollar, two-hundred-page trip down Memory Lane with frequent detours down Snarky Wise-Ass Avenue, it's an excellent bang for your buck. Bob does a good job of putting the reader in the headspace of a "Generation NES" gamer growing up in the Golden Age Of Console Gaming... though in the interest of full disclosure, I myself am of an age with the author and can remember the fun I had playing this game, so not really a big stretch for me. Yes, there are typos. Yes, the author pulls the "personal Vietnam" card. These are easily overlooked... I've seen more typos in the average issue of "Dragon" and "Dungeon" back when those were still physical publications. And the allegories to national tragedy and geo-political boondoggle are just that- allegory. Metaphor. Not to be taken as a measure of the author's self-importance.
So forget what ya heard, yo... if you like "Super Mario Bros. 3" and/or the works of Bob "MovieBob"/"The Game Overthinker" Chipman, this will make fine reading-material.
As a fan of both Bob Chipman's larger body of work, as well as Super Mario Bros. 3, I was quite eager to get this book and give it a read. Unfortunately, the word "disappointing" does not do it justice. Rather than give a full review, I'd like to point out some highlights:
* Comparing the opening of SMB3 to 9/11. No, seriously. Here's the line verbatim:
"But the climactic reveal of SMB3 is burned – no, seared – into my memory the way JFK’s assassination was for my parents’ generation… or the way 9/11 would be for mine a scant 12 years from then…" Is he kidding me with this?
*It’s clear that he’s more comfortable talking about his experiences; it’s a lot more self assuring, personal, and ‘real’, while simultaneously being egotistical and bordering on the 'obsessed fanboy’ trope. There are times where he puts both Mario and himself on a pedestal, which is somewhat awkward to read.
*Spelling and grammar issues are everywhere. It is very difficult to stay engaged when basic errors and style inconsistencies throw me off every couple of paragraphs or so.
*The 'let’s play through the written word’ technique he’s taken here just doesn’t work. The level descriptions are boring and lackluster. I find myself jumping ahead to the 'personal journal’ parts of the walkthrough, which are written in a very engaging manner. They're the best thing about the book.
In other words, if presented as a "Mario and Me" with an editor, this would have worked. I cannot in good faith recommend it.
This isn't a badly written book. It takes a casual tone, and I like Bob's voice throughout. The beginning is tedious, but that is expected when describing every element of a game. The design of the paperback edition is what really drags the whole thing down. The margins are terrible. To read the words closest to the spine you have to pull both sides as far apart as you can. The kerning is so bad in some places that entire lines look as though they are all one word. I don't know who looked over the first proof of this book, but they didn't do their job. There is an unacceptable number of errors here as well--repeated sentences and misspelled words are common. In Bob's discussion of World 2 the heading for the Fortress reads "World 3 Fortress." I don't know if the eBook has corrected these errors, but these problems make an otherwise passable book into a disappointment.
I've heard about this book from a few of my friends who actually read it. I assumed they just didn't like MovieBob. I was very wrong. The first half is about the history of Mario and MovieBob's personal history. Most of the information really doesn't in depth or is particularity interesting. But, then you get to the second half of the book which is his play through of SMB3. This is where it turns into a slog. There's not much analysis just MovieBob playing through the game and it is tough to get through. To put it plainly: This book is awful. DO NOT BUY IT!
I can't believe I paid actual money for this. When Bob got fired I figured I'd buy his book to try to help out. I thought, "There's no way it's as bad as I've heard." It is though, it really is. It's surprisingly tedious for such a short book. It has passages where he agonizes over which block to break and laments the fact that he isn't "big" so he can't his preferred power up. And that's the part of the book that's actually about the game! The rest of it is a bare bones history of Mario and a seeming majority of the book is about Bob. Bob growing up, getting bullied, and moving out of his childhood home in his 30's. Save yourself and do not spend money on this. Do not buy it.
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More than a strategy guide, bigger than a retrospective, Super Mario Bros. 3: Brick by Brick is a whole new look at one of the greatest video games of all time. Film critic and game journalist Bob Chipman (creator of Escape to The Movies, The Big Picture, and The Game OverThinker) attempts the most in-depth analysis ever of his all-time favorite game, Super Mario Bros. 3.
The 205-page book chronicles his own most recent journey through every step of the game (missteps and all) while analyzing every element of this enduring NES classic for its artistic, cultural, and even historical significance.
He also details the history of the Super Mario franchise itself, his own experiences growing up gaming, and many of the life-changing events that surrounded and shaped this latest quest to save The Mushroom Kingdom.
- An in-depth, step-by-step record of the author's play-through of every level, boss-battle, minigame, Toad House, and Airship of "Super Mario Bros. 3." No cheats, no shortcuts, no stone left unturned.
- Critical analysis and historical/pop-culture perspective on every character, enemy, sprite, background, item, and power-up in the game, along with its level design, gameplay, music, and aesthetic sensibilities.
- A history of the Super Mario franchise, and of the author's own history growing up alongside the legendary series.
The digital version of the book includes DRM-FREE files in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats.