I stumbled across this while trawling the game books on this site and decided to buy it. I'll admit that being neither a big fan of Super Mario and GTA I didn't expect too much but boy was I wrong.
The authors have done an excellent job of selecting the games in the book. The expected ones are all accounted for, Pac man, Space Invaders, Super Mario Bros, Tetris and Ultima. But amongst them are games like Alone in The Dark, Dune II, Castle Wolfenstein and Kings Quest not to forget one of the most influential games of all time, Doom. In total there are 25 games in the book plus a host of online bonus chapters like Elite (BBC Micro). It also covers many different genres so there is something for everybody.
All the chapters come with full colour screen shots of the game being discussed which is brilliant.
It describes the various game play elements and contains quotes from the game creators themselves on how they solved a particular problem or how they managed to achieve their vision. It also mentions which games it went on to influence and for those who perhaps aren't as well versed in the history of games, it's interesting to trace a family tree from the original right down to the current big budget production. There are also links to some other excellent books which just goes to show how well researched it is.
I would have liked more discussion on how certain later games borrowed from the original as opposed to just mentioning a list a games with similar game play mechanics. For example, a bit more coverage of Thief - The Dark Project (from the Castle Wolfenstein chapter)would have been nice. However, Resident Evil is discussed in more detail in the Alone in the Dark chapter. But this is only a small personal complaint and certainly not anything that would prevent the enjoyment of the book. If anything, it might encourage readers to investigate these titles further.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, so much so that I have gone back and played through Dune II again (Diablo is begging for attention as well) and I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially younger gamers (not kids mind you) who would like to know more about the history of video games.