100 Classic Book Collection for the DS is awesomesauce. That’s the gist of this whole review for those of you unwilling or unable to read further. However, for those with some staying power I will qualify why it is such an amazing condiment after I clarify that it isn’t a game.
100 Classic Book Collection is not a game. Don’t be confused by the packaging, the little box and the little game shaped cartridge. When you pop the cart into the DS and open it up you will not find a game. Instead you will find an assortment of 100 classic books to read. It could have been that simple. Here’s 100 books. Read them all. Cheevos for reading all of them. But much like an exotic alcoholic cocktail so many extra bits have been squeezed in to make it all the more worthwhile.
There is Background Music. Oh yes there is. This feature blows my mind. You can choose between a whole range of background music so although you may be sitting on a train or in bed reading the wordies from a screen you can choose a range of background music to make you feel like some kind of arthouse cunt deliberately reading classic books in a number of settings you might hope to pick up a girl in because she digs your goatee, your pink tinted glasses and your choice of literature. This must be the intention, otherwise why would you be able to choose between BGM from a coffee house, an airport or a train journey? I don’t care but I love it. Other BGMs are autumn night, summer night, log fire and my favourite: neighbours having noisy sex through the wall. That last one was made up. Anyway, BGM. They didn’t need to do it. They did. I love it.
Story. Your average game might have a story in it. Some have something that looks like a story but scratch the surface and it isn’t a story. It is total nonsense. 100 Classic Books has over 100 stories in it and some are the best stories ever put to paper. I’ve not quite read all of them yet but very few of them have talking to dogs in them and in the ones I have read so far at no point do “all the characters suddenly remember they all used to live in the same foster home”. These are awesome stories, people, not the usual shit you find in games. Read them all and realise how great stories were before everything became about murder.
The controls are fucking amazing. Basically, hold the DS like a book and then use the buttons, d-pad or the stylus to turn the page. Simple. You can also add bookmarks to keep your place. You can use more than one bookmark at one time in more than one book! Also you can skip to any page you might wish to. The best thing is when you hold your DS upside down all your bookmarks don’t fall out. Again, totally could have not been in there but the addition really makes you feel loved by Harper Collins. Another best thing about it is that all the books are arranged on a huge virtual book shelf.
You can be a Literature Critic. After you finish a book (TOP CHEAT: you don’t have to read every page) you get to review it and share that review with the other four people who have 100 Classic Books. I was reviewing the Hunchback of Notre Dame and spontaneously I developed a taste for red wine and the sweet sounds of jazz funk.
There is an Owl. Fully a motherfucking owl. Occasionally, it flies around and hoots. Sometimes it does the head twist so it takes you a while to work out if he is facing you but looking back or facing back and looking forward. Don’t know why it is an owl. A worm would have made more sense. But, yeah. Owl innit. Maybe you can unlock bausting? Who knows?
There are About the Author sections. Just like real books, before you embark upon a new journey you can read all about the author. This means you can impress more college girls at the jazz club with your authorly knowledge. SPOILER. Sometimes the about the author section contains pictures and words.
There are About this Book sections. Just like real books you can read about the historical, social and other contexts of the book when it was released. At least I guess you can because the last thing I want to do just before reading a book is to have the ending spoiled by reading about the book. By the time I have finished it I forget to go back and read about it. Still, option is there for next time.
You can download more books! If you are one of the
one in five people who connects their DS to the network you can just download 10 extra fucking books for free. This is the greatest DLC of all time ever. Ten of the greatest books of all time for free. There’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong at all.
If you are indecisive you can do a little quiz. 100 of any things is a lot of things to choose from. If you really want to read a book but find it hard to decide which literary classic you may wish to read you can do a little quiz (the owl will be there) and then the DS recommends some books you might like. The questions seem to be totally book unrelated but it is a nice addition. “Do you like being inside or outside?” is one question. There are loads more. This makes book selecting fun. In real life I just stare at the bookshelf for so long trying to decide what to read and then normally choose to read a comic. Not just any comic. Normally Marvel Zombies 2. I’ve read it like 40 times now! Goddamn I would like one of those owl quizzes in real life.
It tells you what you have read. When you read a book from start to finish a little symbol appears on the spine. This helps you keep track of which books you read.
It is great value for money. You couldn’t buy hard copies of all those books for anywhere near the price you pay for the DS cart. Sure, you could download them all from the internet for free but nobody likes PDFs. Plus you’d be hard pressed to find your own Summer Night BGM. Just get it. 110 books. It’ll be the most educational thing you have ever bough in your whole life.
I want more. I want more Harper Collins. Think about it. 100 Classic Sci-Fi books. 100 Classic Works of Philosophy Books. 100 Classic Popular Science Books. I would buy them all and take them all on holiday and they would still take up less space than those four huge books you pack in your luggage to only read the same four pages of on the plane.
Naughty Words. Sambo-gate is nothing; these books are old school and you’ll find no end of racial slurs in them. There’s a little disclaimer at the beginning about all the naughty words but if N’Gai Kroal bought 100 Classic Books and read them he’d have enough to write about for the rest of his career! Awesome stupid racist forefathers, boy could you write some books.
It isn’t available state side. Although Ubisoft is allegedly working on a 100 Classic Picture Books. It is still worth picking up
Summary. If you are in Oz or Europe just buy it. It is a great opportunity to read all those books you always wanted to but never got around to getting*. It is also 10,000% less effort and cost than buying an e-book reader and downloading all those books. It is also 140,000% smaller than most of those new e-book readers. Also, yobs are less likely to steal your DS if they see you reading 100 Classic Book Collection. Just get it. Get it get it. And if you are reading this Harper Collins, just release more of these please.
* And Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe. Jesus Christ Man get to the fucking point. Okay I get it. The hills they are a-rolling. The river it is a-bending. The flowers they are a-photosynthesizing, just get to the point about the fact that she was already dead**
**Luddites won’t get this reference. Another excuse to buy 100 Classic Book collection.