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Video Game Book Reviews

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The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987

review by Kurt Kalata - April 4, 2014

Currently, most of the retro video gaming scene focuses on the 8/16-bit consoles, often overlooking titles for the Atari 2600, Intellivision and Colecovision. (This applies to HG101 as well.) Brett Weiss' The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987 is entirely focused on picking out the best games from this decade, often focusing on titles from first and second generation of consoles, with a smattering of early NES and SMS titles that fall within the period.

The list consists of games that Weiss considers essential, or are personal favorites. There are usually two to three pages devoted to each game, with fairly lengthy write-ups discussing the game itself, the history behind them, comparisons to their original arcade versions (if they were ports), discussions on other ports and sequels, and excerpts from other review sources, both modern and from the era. There are plenty of images, mostly scans of box artwork or flyers. However, they do take precendece over actual in-game screenshots - in many cases the articles lack even a single one.

The selection is quite good too. The essential arcade ports of the era are listed (Asteroids, Joust, Berzerk, Space Invaders, Robotron: 2084) along with Atari 2600 classics (both Pitfalls, River Raid, Kaboom!, Adventure) and NES essentials (Castlevania, Super Mario Bros., Gradius, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid) with personal favorites like Antarctic Adventure, Pengo, Fantasy Zone and Donkey Kong 3 being well represented. There's also a list of 100 honorable mentions, with a quick paragraph discussing why the games are good, but not quite good enough to make the top 100. It does skip over early Japanese consoles like the SG-1000, but given the obscurity of the system outside of the country, it's understandable.

The book retails for $35. With almost 225 color pages in hardcover, it's a very reasonable price. Definitely recommend.

Browse at Amazon.com (affiliate link)

Review copy furnished by the publisher.
Quick Info:


  • Brett Weiss


  • Schiffer Publishing


  • August 2014


  • 224


  • 0764346180

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