Sandwich Islands Publishing had a problem. It needed a new character to represent its upcoming line of Super Nintendo Entertainment System strategy guides. Its stalwart wizard mascot, sadly, was not ideal for the job.
Why? Well, in short, the Genesis was an incredibly masculine console. Its limited color palette resulted in games that had a rugged, manly aesthetic. If the Sega Genesis was a beard, it would be the most majestic beard of them all: a wizard’s beard. SIP knew this, and designed its covers accordingly.
The SNES, by comparison, was a passionate, fertile system, brimming with feminine wile and charm. Developers were given free reign over a dazzling spectrum of colors, and Mode 7 technology ensured elegant rotation and scaling effects.
Sandwich Islands Publishing needed a female lead to serve as the physical embodiment of 1991’s juiciest Super Nintendo secrets.
What’s that growth on her shoulder? I think it’s a raven.
Let’s get this out of the way first: she’s no wizard. Sadly, wizards don’t really have a female equivalent. Witches are the closest physical match, but witches aren’t exactly strategy guide cover material. Wizards suggest wisdom and mastery; witches bring to mind lunatic buffoonery.
While it makes sense that SIP would choose a sorceress as its cover girl, the series is off to a rocky start in terms of cover content — there are three different animal classes on display here, and yet no dragon.
But look at that strategy lineup! Street Fighter II! Super Mario World! The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past! Despite some questionable filler material (anyone need a walkthrough for Hole-in-One Golf? Or Super Off Road? Or Hook?), the strategy offerings here are strong enough to sell the book on their own merits, despite the loss of our beloved wizard and his dragon.
Rating: Tentative Approval