Last Updated on June 3, 2023
We are living at a very strange time. You would see things that you would never ever have expected to happen like companies making decisions which doesn’t suit their philosophy for whatever reason.
Sega, the company which is known for its 4 major consoles and the one who allows fan games to be made and books to be published about them, has apparently blocked Bitmap Books from publishing its highly anticipated unofficial MD/GEN: A Visual Compendium. This is despite having the Mega System: A Visual Compendium on sale with no consequences.
This act by Sega came as a surprise, and is perhaps the reason as to why Greyfox Books has published the Mega Book Collection as a free PDF. We may never know the actual reason but they claim that they couldn’t release it physically due to crowdfunding failure. However, since it is given for free even though it’s not physical, it would be silly for me not to miss it out.
We attempted to bring this book physically to everyone back in 2021 via crowdfunding but alas we were unable to do so. So going forward, we decided rather than this amazing project to be left sitting on a hard drive gathering dust forever, we made the decision to offer it for free for everyone to enjoy and because we are very nice and generous people here at Greyfox Books and love to support the Sega retro gaming scene.
So I downloaded it and read it. I enjoyed many things despite some of its flaws but it is a great book overall.
The book is incredibly stunning and filled with details. The fact that they were able to include all the three systems despite the game lists that the system has is simply amazing. The cover and the pictures of the Mega Drive are really breath-taking. The contributions, introduction, and the foreword are incredibly detailed and colourful. To put it short, they started the book with flying colors and it would be more than enough to buy the book should it ever be released physically.
Each section starts off with the history of a Sega console before it goes on to review its games. It even lists its technical specs, something I haven’t seen in other books. Its colourful presentation includes pictures of many characters that had appeared in that system as well as the system itself.
Once the console has been introduced, the games are summarised. Each game has one big screenshot image, several small screenshots images, game covers, the title screen, and some important basic stuff: Game Name, Genre, Developer, Year Released and the Publisher of the game and finally the review itself. The attention to details that they had given is really something to behold and the quality of it can even rival the Bitmap Books’ quality level. That is how good the book is. If it was ever released physically, we would have been enjoying many pages of their great content that they had put on the book.
It’s sad that, due to Sega’s surprising acts, the book was released on PDF even though it was released for free. This means that we won’t be able to see the beauty of the book physically when we open it and the text are quite small until we zoom it (although this will depend on your device).
Also, since it’s on PDF, you’ll need to set your reader to didplay facing pages as many graphics and illustrations spread across two pages.
Another miss is that since it is from UK, it only covers the PAL releases along with some US ones. This means that, with the exception of the Japanese variant of Popful Mail on Sega CD, you won’t be able to see any Japanese games on this book. Japan also has some great Genesis and Mega CD games which are really worth checking it out but you will have to find other books that covers about it. Possibly because Sega Mega Drive was more popular in overseas than in Japan.
This book is a must have for the Sega fans if it is ever released physically. The details and the presentation are top notch and it really does deserve a physical release so that we can buy it to support them to make even more great retro gaming books. It wasn’t meant to be unfortunately but to have it release for free despite all the hard work they did is really heart warming but heart breaking at the same time. They really didn’t need to do it but they did as a gesture of goodwill which is why they will always have my utmost respect.
Since it is released for free, it is now the perfect opportunity to download it. Time is of essence and in some days, the download link will be invalid or if Sega finds out about this. Let’s hope though that it can be released in physical form for all of us to enjoy.
In the meantime, you can download the Mega Book Collection free from Greyfox Books today.