when I was a kid, I remember riding in our car coming back from eating at our local Mexican restaurant in my town and my Dad proclaiming something that I remind him of to this day.
This actually is our local Chinese place, the aforementioned Mexican place is no more but you get the idea.
Anyway, Dad told a car full of us kids and my Mom that he will always buy us books. In fact, I'm pretty sure his words were "I won't always buy you video games, but I will always buy you a book." Well, being a kid and getting any promise of free shit, I held him to that and made plans that following Saturday to take him up on that promise.
My hometown is a small town and so therefore we have a very cool condensed downtown area where everyone goes to buy their back to school clothes, their basketball shoes or grab a bite to eat at the famous Downtown Diner (get the kitty chicken and thank me later.) Downtown also has a small bookstore that is still there today called Hooked On Books. It was run by this charming old lady who was somewhere in the vicinity of 133 years old. We went into Hooked on Books that glorious Saturday and what I saw stopped me in my tracks....
The Worlds of Power books! As many of you probably have already found out if you read my other articles, I was and still am, an NES fanatic. I couldn't get enough of that 8 bit glory. So when I saw something that fantastic, I made a beeline for them. "Imagine that" my Dad muttered under his breath. The first one I purchased was the Mega Man 2 novel.
Although the book was a little silly, I would read it over and over again. In fact, out of the Worlds of Power series, the Mega Man 2 book leans more towards a younger audience. Not that any of these are sophisticated pieces of literary genius, but this one was written maybe for a person of 6 or 7 while the others are more towards maybe a ten year old's reading level. Even though there was little to no violence and it wasn't as action packed as my mind wanted it to be, and maybe a little silly, I had to go back and get another book. Being the Castlevania fan I was, the decision was easy.
This book was a little bit more up my alley. It dealt with an everyday kid being sucked into the world of Castlevania and aiding Simon Belmont on his quest to defeat Dracula. This theme of modern kid transported into another world to aid the video game heroes was a theme that repeated itself often in these books, most notably again in the Wizards and Warriors adaptation.
The Castlevania book was a bit more atmospheric and descriptive than the Mega Man book was, but the ending was ungodly cheesy even for a kid in the 90s. Simon and the kid defeat Dracula by telling him bad jokes. Yeah, cringe worthy. Simon is also depicted as an idiotic buffoon in the books. Somewhat like his character in the Captain N cartoon series.
However, out of all these books, this one is amongst the better books in the Worlds of Power series. Wizards and Warriors is also a favorite that is very much in the same vein as the Castlevania book.
Through the years, I was able to obtain almost every single book in the Worlds of Power series. The only one I don't have is the Bases Loaded book and from doing some searching on the internet, it is pretty tough to find. Most of the books are today. I recently bought a copy of Blaster Master on ebay and thought it was a pretty good one too.
Let's take a small detour of the article and give you a little history on the books.
Most of the books were written under the pseudonym of FX Nine. Basically this FX Nine guy was actually named Seth Godin and he was the producer of the series. Apparently, he discovered that kids didn't read much, but they sure played that Nintendo a whole lot. There were negotiations with Nintendo to produce the books but that deal fell through. Long story, short, Scholastic books said yes and away they went. One of the stipulations they put on the books was something I touched on earlier and that was the violence. If you look at the picture with all the books, you may notice that Snake does not have his gun in Metal Gear, Mega Man doesn't in Mega Man 2 and Ryu Hayabusa's sword is gone. Every few chapters in each book, they would have a small tip box that was upside down that you could get a tip from the particular game you are reading about. Most of the time, the tips were pretty lame like "In Stage 2, be sure to buy a more powerful weapon." At the end of the books, there was always a shameless plug for "if you enjoyed this book, you might enjoy..." and they would usually include classic books like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
I still own all my Worlds of Power books to this day and they are mostly in pretty good shape. The Blaster Master book was a little rough, but overall is in decent shape. I went back and read these last week. You can blow through one in an evening pretty easily. They are all roughly 120 or so pages and the font is fairly large so it's an easy read. The transitions in the book are obviously written with kids in mind. There is not a lot of insightful dialogue. In fact most of the action in the books is driven pretty quickly and events jump from one to the next in rapid succession.
I am still in search of the Bases Loaded book at a reasonable price to complete my collection, but if you have a few bucks to spend, take a look on ebay for these books and be transported to a simpler time. Or if your Dad just tells you that he will always buy you a book. This was a shorter article but I am still planning another article to produce in the next month or so that will relate to you my NES or maybe Super NES obsession. Thanks for all the comments on my previous articles, positive or otherwise.