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on 28 September 2008
As someone who's been playing videogames since the early 90s, first on my PC and Sega Game Gear, then on the Playstation and many consoles since, I loved this book! It covers old favourites of mine (Monkey Island, Final Fantasy VII, Tomb Raider) as well as recent classics such as Halo 3 and Uncharted. I learned a lot of interesting things I didn't know about the history of gaming in the Backstory section and about the movers and shakers of the videogames world who made a big difference in the Players section. Most importantly, the book covered tons of games I'd missed that I'm now going to track down and play. Great stuff!
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on 30 July 2008
I hate to sound like some overexuberant fanboy who might fall in love with just the idea of this book, but I'll risk it. This Book Is Awesome. When I picked this up I expected nothing, but then I started flipping through, and there's literally something on every page that you can just start reading without having to start all the way at the beginning of the book, which I love. There are 100 word (about 100 at least) reviews galore on top of the 75 or so canon "best", and lots of bright and shiny pics of the best new games, plus a tonne from games I grew up playing (like the first lemmings!) There's a chapter on the back story of modern games which I thought would be boring, but which turned out to be surprisingly engaging! Exclamation!

There's just a huge amount of material in this book, and it's all so easy to access. If you're looking to expand your knowledge of videogames, and add some of the best to your collection, this is your book. I just can't recommend it enough
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on 6 March 2011
"What place, nostalgia? Sometimes it pays to be harsh on history. While it owes its very existence to Doom, there's no way Half-Life 2 would cede its place in the canon to the former in terms of gameplay and design. Such titles are interesting from an historical perspective, but only those looking for a nostalgia hit will really derive much value from them; others will most certaily get more out of later games." - The Rough Guide to Video Games, p.16

Whether or not you agree with the above paragraph will probably speak volumes about how much you enjoy this book, or how much it will frustrate you! But for a book purporting to be an overview of gaming history, a self-confessed bias towards a well made but hardly revolutionary sequel compared with one of the most fun, atmospheric, well conceived, and (arguably) single most influential computer games of all time, really annoys me!

The history section of the book is well done, with tiny shout outs to all the right people, companies and even those games along the way which are apparently deemed too old by the editors to be enjoyed by most gamers. (Including Doom.)

But otherwise the main part of the book is the detailed reviews - the "canon" - which unfortunately seems to merely equate to games the editors have recently enjoyed playing. Out of 75 game choices, most are from 2005 onwards, with only ten games coming from before 2000...all from the late nineties, in fact. (Well, fine, there's a Monkey Island game from 1991.)

If you think that Half-Life 2 is a worthier game than Doom then buy this book, it'll be your thing. If you'd rather have a slightly less biased view of worthy games, I suggest the brilliant "1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die", which lets an expansive (though admittedly not perfect) selection of games speak for themselves.
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on 14 October 2009
A well thought out guide that charts the evolution of the videogame from its origins to now. Starting with the very first computers that ran games and going right up to todays machines (Wii, X360, PS3), this offers a fasinating insight. It also shows some of the many defining games ever made, some of the major contributors to the industry and the peripherals we've all used at sometime or another to enchance the gameplay.

Thoroughly entertaining, a fantastic read leaving very little out and giving you mountains of facts and information on your favourite games, this is a handbook that gamers and gamers just starting out should have.

And what's more, the authors are gamers too so they know what they're talking about and you can feel their passion.

Well worth the price and a must buy!
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on 18 September 2008
Great book, covers historical and current platforms and most gaming genres. Lots of nostalgic fun seeing old and new favourites in the 75 "Canon" games or for those that didn't make the cut, just mentioned in the mini-reviews scattered throughout the book.

For myself coming from a PC gaming background I expected to be skipping through a lot of the book but its written in a style that made the background and reviews of games for the Playstation, GameCube, Wii (to give just 3 of the non-pc platforms covered) interesting even for someone who's never touched any of them.

So definitely worth picking up if you want to know a bit more about the history and development of videogaming and also pick up some pointers as to the games you should be playing!
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on 1 June 2009
Cute book, nice story of videogaming industry but it's mostly a history of the battle between consoles. There's a real few about PC games and a real few about evolution of games themselves. Many titles are missing or too briefly described (historical ones like Ultima series, Zak McKracken, Syndicate, Maniac Mansion 1 and 2, Duke Nukem and so on...). Sometimes to "Japan-oriented". Not bad anyway, interesting.
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on 12 April 2011
A great delve into videogames - for those wanting to catch up on where they came from and what's current, it's great. Good comments and memories for all, old schoolers through to new fans.

This type of book will always date very quickly but how it has been written and the focus will stem that somewhat, but it's great value and there's a lot to dip into.
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on 2 October 2008
This is a very cool book. Brilliant to re-live the history of gaming, see all those state of the art games from the past twenty-odd years. And it's REALLY nicely written, too.
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