Fusion Retro Book: The Book of the Game of the Film Author – Jerry Ellis "The Review of the Book of the Game of the Film" 🎞️🎮📕 @Retro_Fusion #Retrogaming #Retrogames

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Fusion Retro Book: The Book of the Game of the Film  Author – Jerry Ellis

This is the second book published by Fusion Retro Books that I have covered this year, and I own several others by them that I’ve picked up over the years and it’s all been very good stuff. This 300-page hardback continues the trend of high quality releases, and celebrates those oh-so-often movie, TV, and product tie-ins that were released so freely across the cluttered 8-bit landscape. Author Jerry Ellis crams as much gold as he can in those 300 pages, covering a huge amount of movie, TV, comic, product and even board-game tie-ins in a style that blends humour, insight, research and approachability.

From the Fusion Retro Books Website:

Fusion Retro Books is proud to announce the re-publishing of The Book of the Game of the Film, a book that enjoyed a small print run a few years back and sold out instantly. We have added a new cover, dusted off some of the cobwebs, and generally improved here and there. The book is hardback and coming in at 306 pages.

Hardback - 306 pages, A5 Landscape

Fusion Retro Book: The Book of the Game of the Film  Author – Jerry Ellis

From Jerry, the book's author:

You may wonder why anybody would want to spend almost three years writing a 150,000-word apology for one of the most frowned-upon and exploitative trends of the electronic gaming industry’s formative decade. “Film tie-ins were rubbish!”, you shriek, painful memories of Cobra on the Commodore 64 freezing your blood, the despair at wasting your hard-earned pocket money on yet another officially licensed letdown feeling as real today as it did almost forty years ago. Bear with me though, for while some undeniably awful film adaptations were released in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, the chaff-to-wheat ratio was probably no different from that for original game concepts, and in amongst the Highlanders and Howard the Ducks were some outright licensed gems; Aliens, Ghostbusters, Batman: The Movie, The Untouchables, Labyrinth and Platoon, to name but half a dozen. 

Well over a hundred films — most, but by no means all, of the ‘80s — found themselves reimagined as interactive experiences for the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, BBC Micro and other home micros of the day, and The Book of the Game of the Film is my forgiving celebration of these titles. The story does not end at film licences alone though, which is why you will also find in the pages that follow analyses of games based on television programmes, high-street brands, sports stars and events, pop groups, comic-strip heroes, novels, and traditional board games. The result, I hope, will be two-fold; fellow retro-gaming geeks will delight in a nostalgic dip into an ocean of vintage programs — some unforgettable, others perhaps best forgotten — while a broader readership can enjoy revisiting hundreds of highlights from which the cultural landscape of their youth was composed. A few rules have been applied with reasonable rigidity in deciding which games to cover, and how. Crucially, all titles selected must have been released for 8-bit home computers; those that appeared only on an 8-bit console — such as the Nintendo Entertainment System — but not on a home micro did not qualify. Each film, programme, comic or what have you has been allocated one page, even if more than one adaptation of that property existed; for example, WarGames has a page to itself, whereas the two unrelated Gremlins adaptations have been asked to share. As this is nominally a book on games about films, I have tried to ensure that every single such release has been included, although I am bracing myself for being informed by keen- eyed readers within a week of the finished books being dispatched that I have made at least one glaring omission — for this I apologise in advance. 

- Jerry Ellis

The vibe of the book is completely nailed by the cover art, which shows a selection of ‘80s famous figures in their most recognisable poses, with the title font being reminiscent of movies from the era, and the author’s name presented in a style that will be familiar to fans of side-scrolling platformers on 8-bit home computers! Flipping the thick tome over, we can see that the rear of the book takes its stylings from the Commodore 64 colour set, alongside an ‘A-Team’-esque font. Good.

Opening the book, following a few introductory pages that give history about the creation of the book, as well as some information regarding the author himself, we get to the contents page which breaks down the book layout:

  • From the Big Screen to the Games Machine

  • Programme Programs

  • Bands, Brands and Grandstands

  • The Part of the Book of the Game of the Film About Games About Books,Games About Comic Books, and Games About Games and Gamebooks

  • The End

As you can tell from the above chapter titles alone, there’s a touch of humour that runs throughout, and very much keeps the book feeling organic and fresh, as opposed to being a dry read. The fact that the humour is quite British in style works well with the content itself, a personal highlight for me being the final lines of the Top Gun review, which really tickled me.

From this point on, the pages have a standardised setup for each release. Each game is given a full-page spread, and features the cover image down the side of the page - alongside a screenshot or two – with the rest of the page being taken up by text broken up into three distinct paragraphs. There is a flexibility to the writing in the separate paragraphs which makes for varietal reading, I’m glad Ellis took this approach, as there are so many facets to each licence, and so many things to cover that having the freedom to talk about the key points of the history, gameplay and reception etc. means that Ellis gets to put forward the most interesting and salient points, as opposed to being locked into set sections. For instance, one page may focus on the mechanics of the game itself – as they are the most interesting facts – whilst others may instead hone in on the creation or reception of the game, should they be more relevant and informative. 

The book feels rich and very well put together, with the glossy cover and pages not skimping on quality. The only thing I noticed in a vaguely negative sense was that the book’s natural stiffness due to its newness meant that it was initially difficult to read the text closest to the spine, but a few stretches soon loosened this out, and the problem solved itself. A minor point, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Fusion Retro Book: The Book of the Game of the Film  Author – Jerry Ellis


The Book of the Game of the Film is a great gift for the gamer in your family, especially those who also have an interest in movies or TV, as so many aspects are covered here in snappy, funny and informative sections. A definite recommendation from us here at Games Freezer, and I look forward to Jerry Ellis’ next book!

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