If you follow me over on Twitter you’ll have noticed that over the last few months I’ve been drawing a complete Contra Guide book. I started this little project back in January thinking it would be something I could maybe draw in a few weeks. I was heavily inspired by the video game map making that Jeremy Parish was doing over on Retronauts, and I was looking for a project to do that wouldn’t involve looking at a computer screen. The goal was to draw up a map for each stage and the bad guys that went along with those stages. Then it kind of spiraled into something bigger than that. Four months later (although sometimes weeks would go by where I didn’t have a chance to touch the project) I now have a 24 page book about the entirety of Contra for the NES. All of which has been drawn by hand. The maps are crude, and my hand writing is (for better or worse) my hand writing, but that’s the fun of it.
Throughout the creation of the book I have had many people ask me if it would ever be available for purchase either physically or digitally. Unfortunately I do not have a means to physically publish this book at the moment. However I can publish it digitally and on top of that I can give it to people right now. Starting today you will be able to download a PDF of this guide through Gumroad (above!) all for the price of whatever you feel it is worth. Want it for free? No problem. Want to kick in a dollar or two? Swell!
Like many people my age that grew up with video games, I have a strong fondness for old strategy guides, instruction manuals and game magazines. Many of these resources would be full of cool illustrations that you couldn’t see anywhere else. In the case of Nintendo Power they would often have unofficial art drawn just for their guides and previews. As companies have locked down art assets, publications tightened their art budgets and video game manuals have just about gone away, this style of guide book has all but vanished. This book is a tribute to those guides and magazines.
I hope you have as much fun scrolling through it as I did making it. Enjoy!