There are so many aspects of video games you can collect but one side that I don’t discuss very often and is totally worthwhile is collecting video game related books. Obviously there are strategy guides which feature beautiful artwork from the games we love but many popular game series are now getting art books. Zelda recently had a new book released and my brother, who runs the The Last Best Hope of Earth (an awesome website on US History) got this for me for my birthday a little while back and it turns out that it is one of my favorite birthday gifts! In this review, I’m going to discuss why you should consider adding it to your collection!
What is Art & Artifacts? – This book is a huge collection of artwork from all of the Zelda games from the very first Zelda game all the way up to Breath of the Wild. The only game that I noticed was missing was Hyrule Warriors which is a surprising omission. There are over 400 pages of content spanning retro to modern Zelda games. The artwork itself comes in several different varieties. Game art like you might see on a poster or in a strategy guide.
Enemies and characters from the game.
And even item artwork from the game.
As you can see, there is a huge range of artwork in the book and it is all beautifully done. The image quality is top-notch and even old artwork from the NES games looks great. Dark Horse did a fantastic job with the production of the book and if you like the art in any Zelda games then you’ll enjoy flipping through this book.
Do I have to read? – Almost not at all! This book is almost entirely artwork and has no words other than the game titles on the vast majority of the pages. There are about 15 pages of an interview from the artists who came up with important designs in the Zelda franchise including Wind Waker and Skyward Sword. The interview is interesting and lighthearted and helps you appreciate how hard the artists work on Zelda. It is also nice because the artists are not usually the ones who get interviewed by video game magazines so you get to hear from new voices if you follow video games media very much.
Why get this over Hyrule Historia? – If you don’t already have Hyrule Historia and you’re curious which Zelda book to start with, I would recommend Art & Artifacts. First off, Hyrule Historia has fewer pages. It also has the divisive Zelda timeline which is both confusing and not the most entertaining thing to read about and it take up a fair amount of space in Hyrule Historia. The “behind the scenes” artwork and getting to see how characters are designed is really cool but I feel that Art & Artifacts gives you so much more art that it is ultimately the better book.
Closing Thoughts – This book retails for $40 but you can get it for under $20 on Amazon at the time of writing so it is affordably priced compared to other art books. I definitely recommend Art & Artifacts and I have to admit, I like this book better than Hyrule Historia. It is a wonderful celebration of Zelda and reminds you how amazing the art is from game to game. You can’t flick through this book and not feel nostalgic for your favorite Zelda game. This is an excellent stocking stuffer for any Nintendo fan this holiday season!