Spelunky by Derek Yu is an extra special book from Boss Fight Books, because this one is the first autobiographical book in the company’s lineup. Derek Yu not only wrote this book, but he is the creator and mastermind behind one of the most addicting indie games to ever grace PC and consoles. Spelunky by Derek Yu is the story of the creation of the game by the creator.
So is Spelunky by Derek Yu a worthy read? Let’s find out in the Nintendo Link book review!
Unlike the previously reviewed Earthbound by Ken Baumann, which is a beautiful read about one of the quirkiest and most meaningful RPGs in gaming history by a huge fan, Spelunky by Derek Yu is an autobiographical account of the game designer’s journey making the ambitious indie title and the challenges of randomization, strange in-game worlds, fan feedback, working with teams, and what it takes to actually finish a game.
This is a much more insightful book about game development from a creative mastermind, as Spelunky is one of the most highly rated and beloved indie games on the market. It’s sequel, Spelunky 2, expands on the success of the first even more so, and this book is an amazing journey that helps give fans a lot more understanding about what is going on behind the scenes.
Boss Fight Books specializes in great books about classic video games, and of course the first autobiographical book in their lineup is none other than Spelunky by Derek Yu. This is the 11th book in the company’s lineup, and it definitely takes a different route than the previous 10 books, again because it is written by the game’s creator. Spelunky is one of those games that magically entered my life in 2012, and I only picked it up because of the adorable art style. It was after a hundred hours of gameplay that I realized how special this game is and how easily it can stand next to the greatest video games in history.
The book is split into four parts, which cover the different phases of Spelunky‘s development and the trials through each of them. Part one covers the original Spelunky (Pictured above) and the major decisions for what the game would ultimately turn into. Part two is about the game coming to its own and finalizing the original’s ideas. Part three goes over the grand opportunity to get on XBLA, a new engine to enhance the visuals and performance, multiplayer aspects, and so much more. Finally, part four completes the circle and goes over extras added to the game through fan feedback and more.
Spelunky by Derek Yu is separated quite well and explains the development process of Spelunky wonderfully. Personally, I most love the sections where Derek Yu is vulnerable and open about the difficulties and challenges that he faced at different points. All of the technical details and such are fascinating, but I feel like they may be hard for a lot of people to understand, as the developmental process in gaming can be a tough pill for some people to swallow. Despite that, this is an amazingly written account of a creator’s journey through complicated game development and what he learned along the way.
Derek Yu also does a lovely job of connecting to others in the game industry and sharing some of his own experiences. For example, he talks about Shigeru Miyamoto and his love for the outdoors, and Derek Yu shares about his own love for the outdoors and what that meant for him growing up. It is always fascinating to understand how modern day game creators take influence, not simply in regards to the who, but also the wheres and whens. Derek Yu shares excellently in this regard, and it does help the reader to connect more to him and his inspirations.
Spelunky by Derek Yu is a journey that is almost tailor made for individuals who are interested in game development. Although it does share personally and Spelunky is not your average game, the way Derek Yu communicates his struggles, joys, failures, and victories over the course of this book is truly an inspiration itself. This is a wonderful book, and it is definitely one future creators and programmers should add to their list.
But if you are just a fan of Spelunky, please buy this to support your indie favorites, and give it a read just to understand the complexities of game development even more. It reads quite well, gives incredible insight into the Spelunky world, and it gives us a better view of the man behind the game from his very own words.
Excellent autobiographical account about Spelunky
Wonderful insight on game development
Beautifully written and solid connections
Lots of fun Spelunky details
May be difficult for some readers because of the amount of developmental talk
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.