Review: 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die / Author: Tony Mott / Publisher: Octopus Books / Release Date: Out Now
Recently re-released in an updated edition, 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die sums up everything you need to know in the title. Spanning several decades all the way back to the early '70s, the book covers a mass of noteworthy titles outlined and explained by a multitude of media experts.
What needs to be made clear from the outside is that this is not a countdown list. Everything starting with Oregon Trail onwards is there for breaking new ground or being a testament to solid genre gameplay.
There is no obvious lean towards favouring PC over console or vice versa, with many exclusives on either side being part of this listing. Furthermore, while many classics and prominent titles are namechecked, others which have fallen by the wayside or faded from memory get recognition too. For every Quake, StarCraft and BioShock there is a Jet Force Gemini, Cannon Fodder or Cybernator.
Barring a few exceptions, the passages defending and promoting each game do a good job of outlining what it was that made them stand out, with the odd hint of personal connection on the author's part here and there. Sometimes it’s even enough to make you consider going back to try and find these titles, which makes the book worth thumbing through more than a few times just for curiosity.
Sadly, there are two obvious flaws with the title. It's distinctly weaker when it comes to covering handheld gaming and some titles are definitely under-represented. Vagrant Story and Kingdom Hearts only merit a few paragraphs, while Mega Man Zero is missing entirely.
Chances are you won’t see everything you want here and might disagree with some of the choices. Nonetheless, if you’re an avid gamer interested in exploring past generations of titles, then this is a good guide. At the very least its pages will provide a satisfying jolt of nostalgia.