I remember when I was growing up that video games were seen as a bad thing. A gaming console was an electronic device that corrupted the minds of innocent children, turning them violent, and antisocial. Oh, how foolish that all seems now. Gaming and video games has become a median to connect people from all over the world From Dev Nights here in Philly, to gaming conventions all over the globe; video games have lost their bad rep.
101 Video Games To Play Before You Grow Up: The Unofficial Must-Play Video Game List For Kids by Ben Bertoli is a curated list of the some of the best video games ever! All the while feeling like a celebratory letter to the pop culture phenomenon that is video games.
The book is educational, entertaining, and helpful. Bertoli, who is a freelance video game journalist, seamlessly blends his personal wit and love for video games to create a guide that would delight any gamer. Make no mistake; this book is without bias. (You can learn how Bertoli curated this list in an article he wrote for Kotaku.) Each game receives equal amounts of praise.
101 Video Games to Play Before You Grow Up give a preview of each game’s storyline and why you should play it. Bertoli also includes the game’s parental rating, genre, platform it can be played, when it was released, and the maker of the game. There is also fun trivia fact for every game. (Something my son enjoyed a lot.) Lastly there is a section where you can check off if you played the game, rate it, write down your favorite part, and to write a note. 101 Video Games has 400 colorful images that captures the very essence of the games on the list. It’s nearly impossible to not smile when you see your favorite characters in cute chibi versions.
What I really love about this book is how it became a conversation starter with my seven year old son. As we went through the book together; my son would ask about games he has never seen. I was able to share with him my memories from my childhood. To his surprise(and my own) I’ve played 90% of the games on this list. (It earned me many cool mom points.) There were also more current games that my son plays and he was able to talk to me about what he enjoyed about them. We also discussed what games we would recommend that people should play that weren’t on the list. Our night reading the book and talking games, ended with a hug and him declaring he wanted to take the book to show & tell.
All the games on the list you could play now, one way or another. So if you don’t see one you would recommend (Tomba & Jumping Flash), its because it’s not available to play. I won’t get into what placed where on the list but I can tell you that two of my favorite games; Luigi’s Haunted Mansion and Kingdom Hearts, were both on the list. My son’s favorites, Minecraft and Ni No Kuni, were on the list as well.
101 Video Games to Play Before You Grow Up is a great book to take a walk on memory lane, give as gift to a young gamer, or to help you decide what to play next. The book is colorful, well written, and filled with much respect for the median. Ben Bertoli has created something that gamers of all ages can appreciate and enjoy.