1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die
Author: Tony Mott, et al.
Original Release: October 26, 2010
Generally speaking, I am a fan of the “1001 (x) you must do before you die” book series. While none of them can hardly be described as the definitive source on their subjects, they are typically well-written and diverse enough to be good coffee table books. The series’ latest addition, 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, was awfully intriguing to me. Unfortunately, it has a number of issues that make it the weakest edition I have read yet.
First and foremost, the book caters heavily toward recent games. While there is a surprisingly healthy portion dedicated to early 80’s arcade games, at least half of the book focuses on games from 2000 to present. This is a little ridiculous considering how many great 8 and 16-bit games were omitted from the list. Several lesser-known systems such as the Turbografx-16 were woefully overlooked as well.
Now, onto bitching about games missing and/or included. There are some absolutely painful omissions. Suikoden III is included, but not I or II? Neither of the NES Contra games are listed, or any of the NES Castlevanias for that matter. No Crash Bandicoot games at all? Does every single Grand Theft Auto game (including separate entries for the GTA IV expansions) need to be included? Are four Rock Band and five Guitar Hero games really necessary? There are also far too many subpar 360/PS3 games included, such as Just Cause, Prey, and The Darkness, just to name a few. These could have been fleshed out with actual, genuinely good classics from previous eras.
I feel the overall book could have been edited a bit more. There are a handful of odd little inaccuracies listed, and some of the writeups really don’t say much about the games themselves. Also, I can’t help but mention that Ico is name-checked in the foreword written by Peter Molyneux as one of his favorite games, yet it is not listed in the top 1001. Huh?
Truth be told, although the book has its share of faults, it is still a fairly interesting read and can provoke some interesting discussions amongst gamers, which is exactly what a coffee table book of this sort should do. It’s not a *bad* book by any means, but it’s just disappointing as a whole. If you are a video game fan, give it a look but don’t go into it with high expectations.
For those curious, someone did post the complete list found in the book @ http://pastebin.com/r7zqbbvu It should be noted, however, that the book lists the games via year rather than ABC order.