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Prima’s Super Mario 64 Game Secrets Unauthorized: Review

Prima’s Super Mario 64 Game Secrets Unauthorized: Review

prima's guide 1Media: Paperback Book

Publisher: Prima Publishing

Author: Simon Hill

Publish Date: October 16, 1996

Genre: Strategy Guide

Nerd Rating: 8 out of 10

Stop me if you’ve heard this story before: “Back before the days of the internet…” I know, I know. A baseball bat. A dead horse. And I’m swinging for the fences. I get it. But when I start a sentence with, “back before the days of the internet,” it’s for good reason. Why would anyone buy a magazine titled “Tips & Tricks” when they can get that information for free on the internet? And more of it too! But seriously though, y’all, back before the days of the internet (there he goes again), we had to buy magazines, and strategy guide books, walkthroughs, and more. Sure, the internet was around, but we didn’t always have access or knowledge about it, and there sure as heck wasn’t nearly as much information on it as there is now. All of the information was hard copy magazines, compilation books, and such. While there were numerous companies creating strategy guides at the time, there was one company that ruled the land when it came to such guides; Prima. Prima had a line of guides under the title “Prima’s Secrets of the Games.” That’s where we find ourselves today as we review Prima’s Super Mario 64 Game Secrets Unauthorized and take a look at their effort in effectively covering one of the most beloved games ever created, Super Mario 64.

This dude and some blonde chick pop up quite often to give extra tips in an uber-kid-friendly way. Doesn't this remind you of Captain Planet??

This dude and some blonde chick pop up quite often to give extra info in an uber-kid-friendly way. Doesn’t this remind you of Captain Planet??

First off, this book is shaped more like a large magazine and it has a pretty bland, boring, and kinda ugly front cover. But that doesn’t matter at all because Prima is the company writing this badass guide. To be clear, you should know that this strategy guide is not authorized by Nintendo and there is no affiliation between Nintendo and Prima Publishing. So to make the book sound more enticing – almost like they are going to share stuff with us Nintendo doesn’t want us to know – they slap a big UNAUTHORIZED tag right on the front page. I’m not going to lie… as a kid, this made the book even more cool. Official or unofficial. Authorized or unauthorized. It really didn’t matter. The bottom line is that I am going to beat the game and this guide is going to take me there.

yea... cuz it's called "clockwork world"

yea… cuz it’s called “clockwork world”

Inside Prima’s Super Mario 64 Game Secrets Unauthorized guide – after the part that reads, “David Berry, 556-7779, Ms. Anderson’s Class” (my 5th grade teacher) – we’re presented with a table of contents to help us find our way through every course in the game. It is broken up into neat, manageable chapters. The first chapter is solely devoted to HOW to play the game! At first this feels pretty unnecessary considering there are in-game tutorials, but on second thought, it’s a nice tool for when you take extended breaks but don’t want to start over just to learn some basic mechanics. The rest of the chapters are split up to cover particular subjects like all 15 worlds/lands/paintings, prima 6Bowser’s Lairs, the red, green, and blue switch palaces, and more. But the most useful, and most thoughtful chapter is dedicated to the various hidden stars throughout and how you can acquire them! For those of us with little patience and a young scatterbrain mind, this was a must-read chapter!


Prima’s Super Mario 64 Game Secrets Unauthorized guide covers much of the basics throughout Super Mario 64 in a moderately detailed and specific manner, which is wholly useful when trying to find the pink bob-omb to activate the canon in Cool, Cool Mountain or to locate all 8 red coins in Wet Dry World, for example. While this guide does provide a very small map of the castle’s lower level, a stage map would have been greatly appreciated for each world, and even a map for the entire castle would have done wonders! The guide uses myriad game stills – I’m talkin’ tons of them – to help detail exactly what you need to do to earn your stars. This isn’t a bad thing by any means as it provides just enough detail to get from point A to point B without much trouble. Occasionally the book might be off on something by just a hair, or they’ll fail to mention slightly useful information, but overall their coverage is pretty tight.

For obvious reasons, Prima did not use copyrighted Nintendo names instead opting for words like “the pink bomb guy” instead of “bob-omb” and “water world” and “haunted house” instead of “Jolly Roger Bay” and “Big Boo’s Haunt,” respectively. It’s a bit confusing and might throw you off your game a bit, but it’s not hard to decipher what super mario 64 1they really mean. The writing is solid throughout and occasionally comical, both of which adhere to the strong reputation Prima is known for.

Overall, Prima’s Super Mario 64 Game Secrets Unauthorized strategy guide is a thoughtful and well-organized tool for the novice or struggling gamer. It doesn’t quite cover the kind of things that most would consider to be “secrets,” but it does a serviceable job at covering the bare basics on how to obtain all 120 stars. It doesn’t really achieve much more than that, but it really doesn’t need to, which is why I can’t discredit them much for underachieving. While I may not recommend buying this book in today’s internet-driven world, let it be known that this gaming material played a big part in me accomplishing my Super Mario 64 dreams! Whenever I felt discouraged, like I may never beat the game, I’d pick up my Unauthorized strategy guide, and read my way to victory. And if you want to save electricity and use your computer less, pick this bad boy up on Amazon today!prima 2


Nerd Rating: 8 out of 10

Reviewed by Nerdberry

Written by Nerdberry


Nerdberry here. It’s about time I updated this badboy (been a loooong time). I’m currently loving time on my Xbox 360, as I destroy aliens left and right through the Gears of War games (man these games are good).

But that doesn’t mean I’ve lost my love for retro-gaming! My wife and I just bought a house (December, 2015) and we have a baby due ANY DAY NOW (my mini-nerdette-berry is 1 day late as of December 10th), so I haven’t fully unpacked the hundreds of cartridges that I own.



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One Comment

  1. Who’d they get to draw the “Prima Champ?” Yikes.

    Great review! You should definitely do more old guides! I collect them so I might join in as well.


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