['Game Mag Weaseling' is a weekly column by Kevin Gifford which documents the history of video game magazines, from their birth in the early '80s to the current day.]

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After a month spent skiing in Colorado and a week spent regretting that I wasn't back in Colorado skiing some more, Game Mag Weaseling is back.

Apologies if you thought I spent my sabbatical in remote corners of China or Europe, excavating national libraries like some kind of sweaty-nerd Indiana Jones in search of rare magazines and the mummified remains of fabled editors-in-chief of antiquity. I didn't touch a one. The lone Borders within 100 miles of my ski lodgings went out of business in mid-February.

What I did bring along with me, though, are these two Japanese one-off "mooks" (magazine books). "Chou-fami: The Complete 1445-Title Emulator Book" (top right) was released in 2004 by Aspect, a publisher that started off as a computer-specialist press but nowadays produces books in a variety of fields.

It was followed up in May 2005 by "The Complete 1236-Title Game Boy Catalog" (top left), whose cover boasts that the authors spent over 4000 hours playing the games that comprise the volume. (When it comes to black-and-white Game Boy titles, I'd probably quit at around the first hundred hours or so. I can only enjoy Batman and Revenge of the 'Gator for so long.)

Both books are basically comprised of capsule reviews of every cartridge released for the Super Famicom and (Japanese) Game Boy/GBC, respectively. They came in the footsteps of Sansai Books' Fami-Complete and Continue magazine's Mega Drive Taizen, which did the same thing for the FC and Sega Genesis.

Out of these four books, I'd say Mega Drive Taizen is by far the best -- the writing is witty, and it's filled with interviews and other side diversions. The other three received less official cooperation from other comapnies, and so they're basically retro-fanboys talking about old games.

Fami-Complete features full box and cartridge art for every game, which is a nice touch, but Aspect's collections are very much just a bunch of guys working through their emulator directories and writing a paragraph or two about every game.

The Game Boy book, which I read through during laundromat runs in Colorado in order to better familiarize myself with Japan's GB history, is not well written or researched -- the screenshots for many games were plainly taken about five minutes (if that) after power-on.

While I sure don't want to be the guy who had to write about all the late-era Pokemon clones and Japanese entrance-exam study aids, the review blurbs just aren't interesting a lot of the time. Meanwhile the SFC book is much better, featuring extended reviews of the really important titles in the library and looking much more carefully researched and penned throughout.

If you're going to buy either book, I'd definitely go with the SFC one, although neither's going to be of major use if you don't know a decent amount of Japanese. The entertainment's all in the reviews, after all, some of which can be pretty hilarious in their derision.

[Kevin Gifford is in the midst of training a new dog (despite his better judgment), but still promises that Magweasel, his game/industry/Japan blog, will go back to updating very soon. In his spare time he does freelancing writing and translation for lots of game publishers.]