My copy of 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die finally came in the mail today. I've mentioned this book a time or two now having learned about its existence from Dean aka born4this. Now that this book is here I am compelled to blog about it because...

It's outstanding. If you are a gamer of any degree this book is a must have!

If you take the title of the book literally, you might think this book is a grouping of exceptional games that you need to play. But honestly, if you haven't played some of these games already, the chances of you finding them are going to be slim. You might be able to find emulators + ROMS to recreate the experience, or perhaps a Java version of the game, but some of them are probably so obscure you won't be able to find them. Games like the classic arcade game from 1977 - Boot Hill. A game I actually recall playing back in the day.

The preface of the book is by Peter Molyneux, one of the legends in the world of video games and recent winner of GDC's Lifetime Achievement Award. It's a very insightful look by perhaps one of the most qualified individuals to speak on the subject of video games. I have included a few excerpts that really spoke to me.

"It's a celebration of what I believe is the world's most engaging form of entertainment...You can look at this book as a catalog of games you must play before you die, but you can also look at it as an illustration of social and cultural change in our games will continue to change the world. Right now we're living in a particularly transformative age and undergoing more significant evolution than at any other time in gaming history....the world has changed by a degree I couldn't have the point that nowadays, no matter where you are in the world, no matter what your age or gender, you cannot say that video games aren't for you." -Peter Molyneux

The book is hefty, weighing in at nearly 1,000 pages. It's several inches thick and boasts some great images from many of the games that are discussed. The layout is relatively straightforward, including an index of the games by title and developer and Chapters broken down by decades from the 1970s to the 2010s.

On the introduction to each decade, the Chapter page contains some factoids about the era or games from the era. For example, from the 1970s there is a fact that says, "the first home video game console - the Magnavox Odyssey - is launched in 1972; 100,000 units are sold in the first year."  You don't say? 1972...the year I was born. Sweet. One of the comments from 2010s reads, "Gaming communities are increasingly linked via mobile technology, such as the iPhone and by websites such as Facebook."

I'm having a blast on this trip down memory lane. Its amazing reading about the included games from the 1970s and 1980s...knowing that I've played so many of these. There are games on the list that I had forgotten about; games I've never even heard people mention before. So, it's kind of nice seeing them and knowing that I've played it. Games like Archon, Boulder Dash and Paradroid.

I've only scratched the surface of the book and the list, but I'm certain there is a potential for a blog series here, heh heh. Perhaps I'll type up the list, mark off the games I've played and begin a quest to play them all. Who knows? We'll see how it plays out.

One thing to note, I did find something that troubled me with one of the games. On page 97, there is a game from the 1980s that I was a bit confused about. The screen shot caught my attention, but what really got me was the title did not jive with the picture. It's a game that I recall playing in the arcade. It's also a game that was the second cartridge I got for my NES.

I remember the name of the game being Rush'n Attack, but the book calls it Green Beret. I've never ever ever heard the game referred to as Green Beret, so I had to look it up.

Rush'n Attack, originally released in Japan and Europe as Green Beret, is an action/platform arcade game released by Konami in 1985. Rush'n Attack is remembered for its Cold War setting (the title is a play on "Russian attack") and its reliance on the player using a knife to dispatch enemies.

So, not only is the book a list of games, but it's also informative and the source of knowledge. This was an awesome game and I didn't know that it was ever called this. Neat! Still though, I'm surprised the book listed it as Green Beret and made no reference to the name Rush'n Attack. closing...sometimes I'm reluctant to recommend books or movies to people because everybody has different taste and I would hate for people to spend their hard earned money on something only to be disappointed, but I'm confident if you're a gamer you won't be disappointed by this book. It is truly a history textbook of video game knowledge. It's a bit pricey...about 30 bucks from most online sources, but it is a necessary addition to any and every gamer's library. You'll love it!

Have a great weekend and enjoy the gaming. GG to all!