As parents (I’m a mother myself) we often try to find ways to make education fun. When my son was really little I created an ABC chart of superheroes. He loved superheroes; so he never suspected I was teaching him the alphabet. Author and artist, John Freeborn, has created a book that will teach little gamers their ABCs. 8-Bit ABCs by Freeborn uses iconic old games to teach the alphabet. John Freeborn started this project in 2012, it’s currently available for free on ePub, Kindle, PDF and Apple IBooks. The links to all the available formats can be found on 8-Bit ABCs’ Behance Page. To pre-order a physical copy of the book for $20 checkout Gumroad. The book is limited edition and will be shipped out on January 10, 2018.
To give you a feel about the book; I’ll use Freeborn’s intro in the book: “This is the ABCs for the child of the children raised on Atari and Nintendo. The kid who grew up at the arcade, putting quarters in machines to play games hour after hour now has to teach his little one how to read. Anyone who just loves old games and the beautiful simplicity that they represent might also love this. I was one of those arcade kids. When I started studying design, I found a new appreciation for how simple shapes can become icons for a character or monster. This book has been a few years in the making. I am very happy to finally share it with the world. I hope it allows those of us from one era to share our joy with these games with the next generation.”
As stated in the intro, 8-Bit ABCs simplicity make it feel like a rare gem in a sea of 3D animation/art. Classic characters and imagery like Pac-Man, the TNT in Donkey Kong, the mushroom from Super Mario; are all simple shapes and primary colors. By today’s games standards that would seem unremarkable. However that the very thing that makes it special. The nostalgia of seeing the dog from Duck Hunt, Princess Peach and Mike Tyson will have you smiling from ear to ear.
What makes John Freeborn’s ABC book different than others is that he isn’t finding a character that fits each letter of the alphabet. Instead he uses the iconography of old games and works them into the ABCs cleverly. The letter “W” isn’t for Wario but instead it’s for wanted; and features some familiar villains on a wanted poster. The letter “Z” isn’t represented by Zelda; it stands for Zoo, and features animals for many classic games. Though you will find that “M” is for Mike Tyson. Thus, creating a kind of a guessing game; just because when you think “L” you think Luigi, doesn’t mean that could be it. Freeborn also doesn’t choose simple words like apple, bus, and car. He chose words that can really elevate and challenge your child’s vocabulary. Wanted, Invention, Scorpio are some examples of the words you can find in this book.
8-Bit ABCs by John Freeborn is a well thought out and masterfully crafted book. The colorful and simplistic design will instantly catch any child’s eye but also the eyes of those who grown up in the era of quarter games in the arcade. This book will make a great gift for a baby shower and the holidays. Now you know the 8-Bit ABCs won’t you check out John Freeborn and pre-order please.