Here’s a really unusual book in my videogame library: it’s called Credit 00: I Love Game Graphics, edited by Tsuyoshi Kusano and published by All Rights Reserved in 2003. It’s artsy and weird.
I found this book at the impossibly colossal Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon (before you ask, yes, I’ve been to Ground Kontrol many times), sometime in the mid-2000s (probably 2004 or 2006). I’d never seen or heard of it before, and as a fan of videogames, graphic design, and obscure publications, it was a no-brainer to grab it. At the time, I only paid 10 bucks for this used copy; a quick online search reveals that it’s currently selling for collector prices of $72 and up, many sellers asking for over $100. (As of this writing, one seller on Abe Books is offering a copy for 37 bucks — I’m sure some lucky collector might nab that one before too long.)
The book is a semi-hardcover sporting a vinyl jacket, all white with an embossed image of a Game Boy on the cover. The spine is black with the title, editor’s name, and publisher’s logo. That’s it. So what exactly is it?
I Love Game Graphics is full of graphic design pieces that take familiar and beloved videogame iconography such as logos, characters, and hardware designs and disassembles, reassembles, slices, dices, and juliennes them, and spits them back out. Which I guess is basically what graphic designers do.
There are also several essays interspersed throughout the book, photos of game hardware, and sections of arcade flyers and just straight-up screenshot collections.
It’s sort of hard to tell what the whole point of the book is. It’s actually very ‘zine-like in its approach, ultimately landing itself in the category of “art project,” I guess. There’s not really any sort of agenda here. It just is.
And that’s fine. I like it. Collectors looking for artistic reinterpretations on the level of the original I Am 8-Bit books are going to find this a little thin on substance, maybe. The pages of flyers and screenshots could probably be skipped as they present nothing that can’t be found elsewhere and mostly act as filler. But for the art pieces and essays, I think I Love Game Graphics is pretty cool and fun to peruse for what it is — an odd fever dream of videogame culture and its visuals.
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