I may be dating myself a little here, but I can still remember the giddy excitement that came with opening my very first Nintendo gaming system and hearing that now iconic Super Mario Bros. music flood through my tiny TV speakers. I’ve been a diehard gamer ever since, and do my best to log a few hours of quality play time as often as possible, so when I opened up Nate Crowley’s 100 Best Video Games (That Never Existed) I was hit with a one-two punch of nostalgia and hilarity, and immediately fell in love.
Written in the style of a record book or extended video game magazine review section, 100 Best Video Games is broken up into sections based on decade, and covers completely made up games on nonexistent platforms, with a high degree of success. There is amazing artwork that accompanies each “review,” designed by genuine video game artists for maximum authenticity. After each title discussed, a full page is devoted to a recreation of the game packaging or a faux screen shot of gameplay, and I laughed out loud more often than not! The 8-bit style in the early pages of the book gradually progresses to a sleeker, more streamlined CGI look, even including games for mobile devices, perfectly in keeping with the way games have developed over the years.
One of my absolute favorite details in this awesome compilation of funny were the absurd and intriguing genre categories of the parody games. What I wouldn’t give to walk into my local gaming store and discover sections labeled “Lizards/Barkeeping,” “Wolves/School,” or the extremely specific “Tragedy of Mankind’s Separation from Nature/Management.” No two genres were alike, but they all elicited at least a giggle, and sometimes an outright belly laugh.
The best part of 100 Best Video Games (That Never Existed) was the fact that after a while of reading, it was almost possible to believe that I was seeing actual reviews of real games. More than once, I found myself thinking about how fun it would be to log a few hours on Egg Grabber or Bread Egg Redemption (maybe I was especially hungry whilst reading, I spy a theme). And any video game developer who fails to take notice and bring Vin Diesel’s Weasel Easel to fruition is sorely lacking in vision.
Whether you’re like me and consider yourself an avid gamer, or you simply dabble a bit with some flash games on your phone in waiting rooms, Nate Crowley has something to tickle all of our funny bones. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for an easy read that will make you laugh out loud! Natascha Hill