Sunny and Rue are coming home! Nosy Crow launch the bestselling Press Start! series by Thomas Flintham here in the UK. After it's first release in the United States in 2017 sales of the books have reached an incredible 2 million copies! Now it's time for our own Super Rabbit Boy adventures, with full colour pictures throughout, it's game on!
Nosy Crow have published the first two books in the series and you can find out more about them on the Nosy Crow website
In the meantime let's find out more from Thomas...
What inspired the original Press Start series and the adventures of Super Rabbit Boy?
There have been a lot of books about characters from video games, but I never found anything that really captured what it actually felt like to play video games. When I started to develop the Press Start series I was really keen to include the player in the story.
Each story focuses on Super Rabbit Boy’s latest adventure unfolding as a young boy called Sunny plays the latest Super Rabbit Boy game. When Sunny gets stuck, so does Super Rabbit Boy. When Sunny succeeds so does Super Rabbit Boy.
Who do the books appeal to?
I think the series can be fun for non gamers, but I think it would have a big appeal to readers who love video games and that are just like Sunny. I hope I capture something that they can really relate to.
Gaming is such a big part of many children's lives - could Super Rabbit Boy help to make them readers, too?
I think so. I discovered Nintendo and video games when I was 10 years old as a kid I was drawn to anything and everything video games related. I still have my collection of Super Mario books! I also used to buy piles of video games magazines. Repeatedly looking at every page and article really helped improve my relationship with reading.
I think kids are always drawn to books and stories that celebrate and explore things they are already interested in. Although I hope the Press Start books are fun for all readers, they’re also full of gaming references that I think would be a lot of fun for gaming fans to find.
How did you decide what your characters would look like?
I wanted to make sure the characters were clearly in a video-game and so making everything pixelated was a clear choice from the start. I didn’t want the artwork to be too stiff though, so even though everything is made of flat square shapes and straight lines, I bend, squish and rotate them where needed to bring everything to life.
To contrast the scenes in the video game to the scenes where we see Sunny playing, I tried to make everything in the real world as round and squishy as possible.
Why did you decide to include the 'real' family who play the Super Rabbit Boy games, rather than leaving it as an immersive world?
I really wanted Press Start to be about what it was really like to play games, and you cant have a video game story without a player playing the game. A lot of the video game related books and films I’ve enjoyed over the years have either missed the player out, or used them in wild and fantastical ways. I wanted to tell stories with a player that kids could identify with, that played and enjoyed games the same way they did.
At first I considered just showing the player at the start and end of the story to bookend things. But as soon I had the idea to jump back and forth throughout the story, with the two worlds interacting with each other in small but believable ways, I knew it was the right way to go.
What else is planned for Super Rabbit Boy?
It’s a big year for Press Start! I’m really excited that Nosy Crow will be bringing the Press Start books over to the UK. They’re a great publisher who I’ve worked with for a long time as the illustrator of Pamela Butchart’s brilliantly funny series of Izzy books.
Meanwhile I’m busy creating new Press Start books for Scholastic in the US. Im currently working hard on book 14 which will be a very special double length special edition!
Finally, there is a TV show in development and I’m SUPER excited! I got to be involved in the early concept stage and watching things develop since has been a dream come true. The team at Cyber Group Studios are super talented and they’re doing some unbelievably amazing work. I think all the Super Rabbit Fans will be very happy! It should be on screens all over the world next year.
What's your favourite game of 2022?
The best game I played last year was Kirby and the Forgotten land. You play as a super cute pink ball that can gobble up enemies and steal their powers. It is super bright and colourful and it’s a lot of fun to play. The story has a surprisingly bonkers ending too!
These questions were first published on ReadingZone and you can read the full interview on their website.
Look out for Press Start! Book 3 in May and Book 4 in September!