Yes, Yes, I know this site is for reviewing video games, not books. But to be fair I have reviewed a book on this website before. In case you missed it I reviewed the absolutely amazing book Microbrits: A Tapestry of British Gaming by S.L Perrin. In a shocking turn of events, this review is of the latest book by…S.L Perrin! (bet you never saw that coming)
Whilst Microbrits was “an anecdotal journey through the British Gaming Industry” S.L Perrins latest book – 66 Of The Most Important Video Games Ever! (According to Me) is a mixture of personal memories, gaming myth-shattering facts, and a wonderful objective look at the games that changed the industry over the last 50 years.
I’m not going to go too much into how the book came about and why is it 66 games etc in this review. conveniently there is a nice one hour interview with the author himself at the very top of this article that covers all of that. If you can’t be bothered watching that amazing and exclusive interview then I will let the author describe the book himself:
Each chapter features behind-the-scenes info and even insight from the very people who created those games in their own words. Just what was Shigeru Miyamoto doing when he created Mario? What was the first game to be given an age rating? What was the first game based on a movie (not the one the internet claims)? What massively popular games do I not like? What game taught me that journalists are full of s**t and turned me into a cynical b****d?
All of those questions and many more are explored and answered in this book, with several gaming myths looked at and debunked too. Peppered with humour, references and featuring the greatest gaming-related joke to be written. Taking a look at some of the behind-the-scenes stories of how the games were made, along with plenty of interesting titbits and tantalizing trivia thrown in, along with insight from those who made the games too. All finished with my personal reasons why the games I’ve picked are so important.
If you have read any of S.L Perrin’s previous books ( Microbrits, Book of Deaths, etc ). Then you will know exactly what to expect. Each of the 66 games gets their own dedicated chapter full of extremely well-researched facts and deep dives into the creators behind some of the biggest titles in gaming history.
I know what your thinking, 66 chapters are making this book sound like a tome but as S.L Perrin describes in the interview above he has tried to make each chapter concise and to the point while maintaining some humour and light-heartedness throughout. it is a difficult balance that S.L Perrin pulls of with relative ease. Not only is each chapter informative and takes no more than 20 minutes to read. But each chapter links together in chronological order. This not only creates a narrative of the advancements of gaming but also becomes easily digestible.
A book that lists the most important games in history is no doubt going to be divisive. Every man and his dog will have an opinion on what games should be in there and what shouldn’t. I am not going to giveaway which games make the book ( we discuss a few in the interview above). But it is impressive just how angry gamers instantly become at discovering games that haven’t made the list.
I gave a signed copy of 66 Games away on my live stream earlier and the anger from my viewers at the snubbing of games like Sonic the Hedgehog and Final Fantasy 7 was hilarious. What you need to understand about 66 Games is while Final Fantasy 7 is one of the greatest games ever made ( in my opinion) was it important? Did it change anything in gaming? Did it do something for the first time ever?
This is where the genius of 66 Games becomes apparent. This isn’t a collection of the best games ever. In fact, there are a few truly awful games in there. Anyone can choose their favourite games and write about them. What S.L Perrin does with 66 Games is lay out the advancement of the video games industry over the last 50 years.
You might disagree with his list and think that Sonic the Hedgehog deserves to be in the book. But you gotta take a second and step back from that emotion and ask yourself why should Sonic be included? What did Sonic do to change the games industry? It is quite a sobering effect when you think back on your favourite games you have ever played and come to the realisation that only a few of them are important.
Most of the games you would choose personally are either from nostalgic childhood memories or have some kind of emotional connection. S. L Perrin manages to escape this trap and write a truly comprehensive history of gaming. By the time you finish 66 Games, you will genuinely find it difficult to argue with S.L Perrin at all.
66 games is bursting at the spine with facts, industry insider stories, and personal memories. This results in a well-researched history lesson for gamers of all ages. Whether you are 13 or 103, 66 games is a fantastic insight into an industry we love. I genuinely believe there is something in this book for everyone. If you are new to gaming then 66 Games will give you a robust understanding of how gaming has advanced over the years.
If you are an incredibly well-informed gamer I am willing to bet you will learn a thing or two by reading 66 games. I adore S.L Perrin’s previous gaming book Microbrits: a Tapestry of British Gaming. I honestly feel 66 Games of the Most Important Video Games Ever (according to me) is a vastly superior missive.
Not only is 66 games a bloody fantastic and educational read but it is a great conversation starter. I have tried this out myself a few times after finishing the book. I have been sat in a pub beer garden with friends and explained the premise of the book. What ensued was a massive hour-long debate and discussion about what games should be in there and why.
S.L Perrin takes the entire, complex industry that evolves at breakneck speed and somehow weaves a calm, informative and thoroughly enjoyable narrative. Quite Simply 66 Games is a book that every gamer should own. at £11 for the physical version and £6 for the digital version, there is no excuse not to own 66 Games.
Final Score – 10/10
66 of the Most Important Video Games Ever! (According to Me) is available in both physical and digital formats from Amazon