Classic Consoles Board Book

A couple months ago Lincoln surprised us while reading to him by repeating back the word excavator. That’s a big word compared to his daily vocabulary (at the time) of mama, dada, and (ba)nana. It got me thinking. We have lots of books about construction vehicles but how often really is he going to find himself on a construction site? He spends time daily in our family room, if we’re going multisyllabic, let’s break out the Nintendos and the PlayStations!

I remembered a Kickstarter from a couple years ago where some guy was photographing video game consoles for the public domain. Turns out Evan Amos’s project was successfully funded and the Vanamo Online Game Museum is now well-stocked with beautiful photographs of most of the systems I wanted to include (it’s really only missing the Famicom Edition Game Boy micro).

Next I found a site that prints custom board books and started planning the book. Because the book was going to be a one-off for my son, I was able to focus on just the consoles that were meaningful to me. I also chose to focus on classic consoles because there’s a point around the PS2 era where all consoles became these generic black (or white) rectangles (I’m so happy Nintendo is trying to bring some playfulness back into their designs with the neon Switch).

I included the original Famicom as a jumping off point because we actually have a Famicom AV for its RCA out and its accessories include a keyboard (I wanted to include some general, non-videogame specific vocabulary in the book too). The original NES, Game Boy, and Super Nintendo were no brainer additions since I had each growing up. I included the original PlayStation because we have the last 3 generations of PlayStations hooked up currently but none are as iconic as the original. The Game Boy Advance has been my most played handheld the past couple of years (in its SP and micro incarnations). Finally I included the GameCube because OMG-how-cute-is-that-handle? and we have one hooked up with a Game Boy Player for playing Game Boy games on the big screen.

I also added a simple sidebar to the design to highlight interesting accessories or features of each system as well as that generation’s also-rans (or in the case of the PlayStation 2, the victor). Sorry Sega Genesis, you had some great games and amazing soundtracks but mine was a Nintendo household growing up.

I picked a photo of the NES Tetris cartridge board for the cover because I like puns and it created a nice lockup with the book title. (Another visual pun?). For the back, I just laid out a simple grid of featured consoles without labels so we can review our vocabulary after paging through.

Lincoln loves it. His favorite spread seems to be the gray brick Game Boy one, he keeps trying to pick the Game Boy up and out of the book. I took a bunch of photos for posterity before handing it over which is good because it already has a few dings and it’s only going to get more worn from love and use as the years go by. Much like the consoles it contains.

Little Fingers
Shaun Inman
May 7th, 2017 at 12:53 pm
The Kiddos