HG101 2021 Year in Review and Upcoming Projects

2021 is coming to a close, so it’s time to look back on all of the stuff we’ve done this year (especially if you’d like any last minute Christmas presents!)

HG101 Digest Vol. 7: Metroid and Kid Icarus

We wrote about the 2D Metroid games a few years ago when Metroid: Samus Returns came out on the 3DS. With this digest, we’ve finished up coverage of the series, including all of the Prime games, the spinoffs, and the brand new Metroid Dread. Also featured is Kid Icarus, Metroid’s spiritual sibling; Punch-Out!!, linked together with these other games thanks to the Captain N cartoon; and several other lesser known Nintendo-developed games like Joy Mech Fight and The Mysterious Murasame Castle. This is now available for purchase!

A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games

Published by Bitmap Books, this is one of the largest projects we’ve ever worked on, a massive 652 page hardcover book covering over 600 JRPGs, ranging back to the early days on Japanese home computers, through the mid-1980s when the genre was codified with Dragon Quest, and all the way up through releases as recent as 2020. It’s proven to be so massively popular that it’s sold through two whole print runs, but it will be available again in May 2022. Make sure to sign up for the newsletter for updates!

The Guide to Beat-Em-Ups Vol. 1

A comprehensive look at the foundational games in the belt-scrolling beat-em-up genre, including all of the Kunio-kun/Renegade games, Double Dragon, Final Fight (and every entry by Capcom like Alien vs. Predator), plus all of the games by Konami (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons, X-Men, etc.) plus Streets of Rage. With two different covers, provided by Rusty Shackles and Mike Morrocco!

The Guide to Shoot-Em-Ups Vol. 2

This entry covers the works of Toaplan, like Tiger Heli and Batsugun, which have begun to come back with some new ShotTriggers releases by M2. Also included are the works of Raizing (Battle Garegga), Psikyo (Gunbird, Sengoku Ace), and Namco (Xevious), plus an assortment of other shoot-em-ups.

The NES Endings Compendium: Years 1985-1988

Compiled by Rey Esteban of The Video Game Museum, this is a gallery of endings from NES games from the years 1985-1988, covering entries like Super Mario Bros, Contra, and Castlevania II. A sequel book is coming very soon!

Retro Game Super Translation Selection II

This book goes over more than 100 examples of dialogue and other elements that were altered for localization. Along with its predecessor, it’s an interesting look at the differences between Japanese and English linguistics and culture.

The Unofficial Guide to Shin Megami Tensei & Persona

This technically came out last year, but with the recent release of Shin Megami Tensei V, there’s no better time to catch up on the (expansive!) history of this Japanese RPG series, including its many (many) spin-offs.

Coming soon!

The Guide to Retro Indie Games Vol. 2

More retro-style indie games, covering genres like platformers, Metroidvanias, adventure games, visual novels, RPGs, first person shooters, and other games that readers of HG101 would likely enjoy. The cover is still being worked on, but you can see some of the games that will be included with the work-in-progress cover. Also included will be Cave Story, sorely missing from the original volume. This will either be coming out before the end of the year, or very early 2022.

HG101 Digest Vol 8: The Bride of Retro Horror

The Retro Horror digest from a few years ago proved to be one of our most popular, so we’re doing a follow-up that covers more early horror video and computer games. Like the initial volume, most of the games featured predate popular survival horror games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, so you can appreciate the way these games try to scare the player before genre conventions were established. Covered games and series include Alone in the Dark, Clock Tower, Night Trap, Laplace no Ma, various horror movie tie-ins, and several other adventure games and RPGs. This is planned for mid-2022.

More books: Another Taito digest, more Sega, and an encyclopedia of 1980s/90s movie based games.

Also planned for 2022 is another Sega book, this time focusing on console games and franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog (the 8/16-bit and 2D games), Phantasy Star and Shining Force, as well as various Master System games. And since the Taito Egret minicab is coming out next year, we figured it would be a good time to revisit some Taito arcade classics.


January will be time for our yearly Patreon postcards. This batch includes six pieces of commissioned artwork, along with game info and screenshots on the back. Also included will be two double-sided bookmarks based on our Guide to Shoot-Em-Ups series. As long as you’re a $20 Patreon in January 2022, you’ll receive these exclusive goodies!

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