Review – Playing With Power Hardcover Edition

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Playing With PowerOn November 11, 2016, to coincide with the release of the NES Classic Mini from Nintendo, Prima Games released Playing With Power: Nintendo NES Classics. This 320 page book takes you back in time with tips, tricks and walkthroughs for 17 of Nintendo’s classic games, which also happen to be the 17 games on the NES Classic Mini. Join us as we take a closer look at the Hardcover Collector’s Edition of Prima Games’  Playing With Power: Nintendo NES Classics.

When you pick up the hardcover edition of Playing With Power, you will immediately notice the slipcover. Designed on all sides to look like a NES cartridge, the slipcover has ridges in all the right places. Everywhere the original cartridges had any sort of texture, from the little triangle on the front, to the horizontal stripe of ridges on the front, to the cartridge board on the bottom, everywhere you expect there to be texture on an actual cartridge has  a varying degree of embossing here. The book’s hardcover is designed in NES grey wit half of a controller on both sides with the title in classic Nintendo red. The feel of the book is identical to Prima’s other hardcover guides.


Now onto the meat and potatoes of the book. The majority of the book covers the 17 Nintendo published titles that are on the NES Classic Mini. Each game’s section covers everything from controls to tips to walkthroughs for certain section. Every little piece of information is here. Let’s take a look at The Legend of Zelda, for example. The section first gives you the basic information (credits, game synopsis) and general tips before going over the items and enemies in the game. Then it goes in depth into each of the game’s various dungeons. For each dungeon, Prima has provided detailed maps that indicate where every key, map and enemy is inside. In addition to detailed maps, Prima also includes little anecdotes from tips on defeating enemies and bosses to tips on effectively using your items and weapons, such as “Proper Boomerang Usage.” How in depth each game’s coverage goes depends on the game (looking at you Excitebike) but most have pretty extensive coverage. Spread throughout the book are sections relating to Nintendo and the NES (such as detail information on how the control deck and game paks work, timelines on Nintendo’s early, mid, and late game output, and even a interview with Shigeru Miyamoto reprinted from the Jan/Fab 1990 issue of Nintendo Power).


The Collector’s Edition of Playing With Power does have kind of high MSRP price point at $44.99. That being said, this is probably one of the coolest books I have looked at in a while. Maybe it is the Nintendo fanboy or the nostalgia talking. Maybe both. I don’t now if I can really justify it at that price for the non-hardcore Nintendo fan, but the book is definitely worth picking up, even if it is just the paperback version. That gamepak slipcover is dope as hell, though. 

Playing With Power: Nintendo NES Classics
  • Hardcover Edition

The Verdict

Sure, you can find most of this info for free online. Hell, you might know all these tips and tricks. Having all these tips and tricks in one handy spot is a real convenience for when you are playing the NES Mini. Especially when coupled with the bits about the history of the NES or on how it works. The score was given on the entire package based on cost. If I scored just the contents of the book, it would probably be a 4 or 4.5. The price point is a hard pill to swallow for most non-hardcore Nintendo fans, however, there is a cheeper, paperback version of the book that is definitely worth a look.

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