The Latest

Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia

Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia (1)
With a thirty-year legacy, Capcom Co. Ltd. is responsible for some of gaming’s most salient memories. As a young teen, I recall heading to a shopping mall in San Francisco, where the publishing powerhouse operated their own kiosk, selling NES games directly to consumers. Often arriving days before the other retail outlets would receive their copies, the booth was operated by enthusiastic and well-trained staff who would demonstrate titles such as Mega Man, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, and Commando.

In the subsequent years, Capcom became a developmental juggernaut, creating arcade smashes like Strider as well as adept adaptions for home consoles.  From fighters such as the Street Fighter II, Darkstalkers, and the Marvel vs. series, influential brawlers like Alien vs. Predator and Knights of the Round, as well as pivotal shmups like 1942, U.N. Squadron, and Giga Wing, the corporation delivered a continual succession of memorable titles. Naturally, such a library deserves a compendium detailing the merits of the company’s prodigious output.

Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia (4)

Although the recently released Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia isn’t the ultimate reference guide, the Brady-published hardbound text provides a respectable anthology of the publisher’s personalities. While the 208-page tome lacks a historical context, there’s still enough data to make the almanac a worthwhile purchase for the developer/publisher’s supporters.

Beyond author Casey Loe’s two-paragraph introduction, the Character Encyclopedia offers no information about Capcom’s origins, business history, or even key figures. Although the book’s focus is obviously on the company’s character roster, insights or observations would have undeniably elevated the book. So while at least a dozen Resident Evil and Mega Man characters are given profiles, readers won’t receive any reflections from series creators such as Shinji Mikami or Keiji Inafune.

Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia (3)

However, the encyclopedia does an admirable job of exhibiting balance. Lesser known personas such as Saki Omokane from the Japan-only dating/quiz arcade game Quiz Nanairo Dreams are blended in with luminaries like Viewtiful Joe. Similarly, the book does a great job of mixing in older protagonists such as Final Fight’s Mike Haggar alongside contemporary characters like Lost Planet 3’s Jim Peyton. Naturally, there’s going to be a few omissions, but the Character Encyclopedia does a commendable job of keeping these lapses to a minimum. Save for Mega Man’s faithful sidekick Rush and U.N. Squadron’s Shin Kazama, Mickey Simon, and Greg Gates, the alphabetized anthology includes a majority of Capcom’s notables.

Each of the 200 or so characters profiled in the book are given their own page. Beyond artistic renderings of each personality, each being has a two paragraph profile, as well as a data box which gives information such as nicknames, initial appearances, and preferred weapons. Notable absent are screenshots, so readers don’t see characters in their familiar forms. That said, gaming historians will undeniably enjoying seeing the evolution of accompanying art- Forgotten World’s Nameless Ones look like a second-rate fan drawings compared to contemporary photorealistic renderings.

Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia (2)

Although the Character Encyclopedia’s binding is a bit suspect, making unusual popping sounds as players open the cover, the book’s production is otherwise praiseworthy. The text offers a sturdy cardboard exterior, while inside the glossy pages are printed on quality bond. For many art books, fingerprints or smudgy ink can unsettle collectors. Fortunately, none of these problems plague the book.

The Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia could have incorporated more background information into its profiles. However, this lapse doesn’t soil the joy of flipping through the tome’s colorful pages and reflecting on the joy each game has brought to players. With the current street price of ten dollar dollars (Amazon’s current price is $7.40) factoring in, the book becomes a comparable bargain, extending a perfect holiday gift for a very reasonable sum. Hopefully, BradyGames will provide a follow-up compendium which explores the elements behind this memorable collection of characters.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

26 comments

  1. Is there a chapter on their scheming DLC practices?

  2. I can see this thread becoming a collection of Capcom complaints. Yeah, that’s inevitable.

    But I’ll say probably more than any other company besides Nintendo they have created some truly great games that deserve a book like this. I wish SEGA would put one out as well.

  3. “Save for Mega Man’s faithful sidekick Rush and U.N. Squadron’s Shin Kazama, Mickey Simon, and Greg Gates, the alphabetized anthology includes a majority of Capcom’s notables.”

    Is there any UN Squadron listing? I guess that game is a bit minor.

    But leaving out Rush? How could they?

  4. I just got mine in a few days ago (thanks Amazon Prime)

    I was surprised there’s no page for the Yashichi. It’s been in over 20 Capcom games.

    Source: http://capcom.wikia.com/wiki/Yashichi

  5. I’d love to see a Nintendo character encyclopedia.

  6. The price is right. $7 from Amazon is a steal.

  7. The sample pages are cool, but I’d like to see a bit more info. Still for $7 its a steal.

  8. I ordered 2 to qualify for free shipping. Are you sure the $7 version is hardcover?

  9. Tech Gaming does book reviews now?

  10. Pages look good. I might have to get a copy. Looks like Barnes and Noble and Walmart carry it, in case you dont like to wait.

  11. Review seems too tough. Its a character encyclopedia. Expecting background info is kind of dumb.

    • Yeah but TWO paragraphs? Thats nothing. Capcom is a major player in the industry, they deserve at least a mini chapter.

  12. A giveaway would be sooo awesome.

    Good review. Nice read.

  13. Good review. I need to pick up a copy.

  14. I’ll wait for the book of the year edition that comes with all the extra content.

  15. I heard there’s a lot of other characters missing like Frank from Darkstalkers.

  16. Capcom had kiosks? WTF?

    My mall sells slipper and bamboo… 🙁

  17. Amazon shipped my copy fast! A deal at $7.40!!!

  18. Got mine today. Pretty sturdy feel to it. I like it, but I wish there was more info for each character.

  19. Got mine in the mail today. I really like it. Cant beat the price.