The Video Gaming Manual elegantly strikes a precarious balance between accessibility and hardcore nostalgia, the result of which is a very pleasing book indeed.
Additionally, the author (by his own admission) is subjective in his criticism and selections, making for a passionate and interesting read, whilst simultaneously avoiding the repetition of the same lists of games, consoles, and their histories that we have read countless times elsewhere.
So whilst this book is by no means definitive (and nor does it claim to be), it is still wide reaching and packed full of indepth information. The facts are all present and correct, of course, but a surprising amount of additional insight is offered, not least the observations and experiences that the author's past as a games journalist allow him to include.
Chapters on console maintenance, making your money go further, and importing all provide a brilliant foundation to help beginners start their collections. However, the old guard are also more than catered for by an excellent selection of recomended software (which include some surprising, and refreshing entries), a clearly communicated sense of a shared passion, and wonderful photography of over three decades worth of hardware, software and accesories.
In fact, I feel like booting up It Came From The Desert on my 500 and starting an argument with a (clearly deluded) Atari ST owner all over again...
In short, this is a book for passionate gamers, and newcomers who want become so. The former can reminisce in good company, whilst the later can learn about the evolution of home gaming through more than just dry facts and figures. Both audiences will be well served by this book's left of centre viewpoint.