Nate Crowley’s unhinged brilliance makes him a bit of an Internet legend. Nate is perhaps best known for elaborate twitter inspired prank Daniel Barker’s Birthday, which turned a simple request for Birthday wishes into a nightmarish post-apocalyptic story that ended in an actual Birthday party which features monstrous clowns and counter-revolutionaries. His latest book, 100 Best Video Games (That never existed) is an equally twisted work of comic excellence.
On the face of it, this is a pretty obvious satire on the endless list books that come out at this time of year, designed to appeal to the nostalgic nerd. Most of these books have an obvious flaw; in order to fill the pages the games are either too well known to make interesting reading or too obscure for you to care. Crowley fixes this by making the entire thing up, and every single non-existent entry is not only laugh out loud funny, it also makes you wish the games were real.
It opens with ‘Look are you coming in or not’, a video game about a managing the oxygen levels on a space station and a cat that constantly gets in the way. Later on we encounter ‘Work Kitchen Anecdote Bastard’, another emulator about an all too real phenomena. Along the way we’ll encounter tales about inept Star Trek Full Motion Video Games, learn about the failure of cockney monster masher BeastEnders and be boggled by the idea of a game called ‘ Pig Falling Out Of A Biplane Music Video Maker’. Some of these entries are simply amazing puns, such as Moulin Louge, whilst others are clever satires on real world video game trivia. The Clown Game, for example, takes all those horror stories about arcade game Polybius to a disturbing and logical conclusion. Fans of Crowley’s other projects will notice more than few Easter eggs as well; a certain Colin Colinson makes an appearance, for example.
The humour throughout is a mix of flat out funny and downright weird. If you like the sort of dark chuckles you get from the likes of Rick and Morty then you’ll definitely find this a riot. The artwork is remarkable; the whole thing is littered with mock-ups, screen grabs and box art for these non-existent games. The publisher, Solaris, are of course connected to video game maker Rebellion, who also own 2000AD, so it’s perhaps not too much of a surprise that the graphic design work is rather splendid, but it genuinely sells the book.
100 Best Video Games (That never existed) is destined to be that book that everyone buys over Christmas for their games playing friends. Don’t thumb through a copy in the shop, get your hands on one and dive straight in.
100 BEST VIDEO GAMES (THAT NEVER EXISTED) / AUTHOR: NATE CROWLEY / PUBLISHER: SOLARIS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW