If your middle school library was anything like mine, there was probably a huge waiting list for the only copy of the Ninja Gaiden book from the Worlds of Power series.
The classic young readers series adapted some of the best NES games into full-length books that doubled as game guides. But who came up with this genius idea? And why were only a handful of titles turned into books?
1. They were meant to get young boys to read
The series seems like it was thought up in Nintendo's marketing department, but credit actually belongs to Seth Godin. He was the head of a book packaging company when he was struck with a million dollar idea.
A conversation with his nephew revealed the boy had never read a book unless it was assigned for school. The series was meant to appeal to boys like him, who preferred playing video games to reading.
2. Nintendo turned Godin down
Yes, the video game company was in talks to create the books with him, but the deal ultimately fell through. That's why the cover of each book makes it clear that Nintendo is a separate company's trademark. Instead, Godin had to approach the game's creators one by one for the rights to adapt them into books.
3. The writers actually played the games
Without any strategy guides or help from the developers, Godin and the other writers on the series had to beat each game themselves, then outline the important details in a 'bible' that was about 40 pages long, which would be turned into a completed book.
It's worth mentioning Godin didn't like video games, and claims that playing them for long stretches of time gave him headaches.
4. Godin's pen name was a stroke of genius
While another writer was usually credited as the author, Godin got a credit as the book's "creator." But you would only recognize him by his pen name for the series, "F.X. Nine." Why the strange name? So kids looking for "Nintendo" books would find "Nine's" work on the shelf instead.
So why were only a handful of books made?