When I was first given the opportunity to read and review Arcade Perfect I was excited as I thought it’d be really interesting to read the stories behind some classic arcade games. Turns out I was wrong, it’s actually about arcade conversions which is a significantly different proposition and one that I was a little apprehensive about. Because how interesting can tales of game conversion actually be?
It turns out very interesting as it happens, each chapter covers off a specific game and will break it down into a number of subchapters that cover each of the conversions. As an example, the Mortal Kombat 2 chapter dissects the Mega Drive, SNES and GameBoy releases. In total the book features over 15 coin-up classics that made the jump. There are all kinds of things touched upon, even including more recent titles like the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection which I actually bought myself.
The thing that’s immediately apparent is just how much input there is from the people involved in each of the conversions. It’s fascinating to read what these people have to say about the challenges they faced in getting the games to actually run when compared to the arcade hardware they’d been created for.
It’s genuinely interesting reading, there’s clearly been a lot of research done by author David L. Craddock and I learnt a lot from each chapter. For instance I never realised the Mortal Kombat conversions were done by different companies for the SNES and Mega Drive, I’d always assumed they’d been done by the same teams. There are lots of little nuggets of information to be had.
There is a slight negative to all the stories being told by the people involved, it sometimes gets a bit technical which is fine but it’s not always that easy to follow what it actually means. In fairness in a lot of instances the author tries to make it as easy to understand as possible, it’s just that this isn’t always as successful as I’d prefer. This is obviously just my opinion though and I’m sure there will be those that really appreciate the more technical stuff.
The main issue with Arcade Perfect is that I’ve come across a number of grammar, spelling and formatting issues. The upside to this is that I’ve seen regularly updated versions of the book and have been able to compare each revision against notes I’ve made. A fair few of these concerns have been fixed but there are still a few to be found, and while they in no way spoil the information on offer it’s a shame for them to be there. A final edition has been provided now which is currently being read so it’s entirely possible the last few have been fixed.
On the whole, it’s a fascinating book with a few minor niggles. If you’re interested in video games then it’s well worth a read, I’d most definitely recommend it and really interested to see what David does in future. I’d personally like to see a similar format book that includes more arcade games by Sega, Namco or perhaps games that have been ported to other consoles having previously been exclusives. That direction genuinely seems like there’d be some cool stories to unearth.