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The Video Game Console Collector’s Field Guide

Author: Tristan Ibarra
Publication date: April 2020
Pages: 368
Format: Digital

The Video Game Console Collector’s Field Guide is a 368-page compendium to identify and classify gaming hardware released in North America, Japan, and the United Kingdom from 1972 to present.

Author and console collector, Tristan Ibarra, had divided his book into three main sections: visual guide, console index, and collector’s checklist. 

Roughly a third of the book is devoted to the visual guide, with over 900 photos of consoles and logos of the companies that sold them. The visuals are organized into twelve categories that reflect major eras in gaming and types of consoles. Ibarra’s breakdown starts with The Original Players (the wood-grain era), crosses into Potent Portables (notable handheld consoles) and finishes with Retro Regeneration (modern retro consoles) and Flashback to the Future (built-in classic collection consoles). 

Interspersed among the photos are various “Level Up” pages with facts, opinions, and collecting tips.

To  put the hardware in context, the second major section of the book, the Console Index, includes a 190+ page alphabetized listing of each console, along with short descriptions drawn from the author’s research and various online databases.

Finally, the Collector’s Checklist serves as a “personal gaming memory card” with sections to track everything a collector has seen, played, and owned.

A successful Kickstarter campaign produced a hardcover book that was sent to more than 100 backers. For those who missed out on the original campaign, Ibarra has made a digital version of the Field Guide available for download here.

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