Review

Gamer's Bucket ListBooks that contain lists are always subjective to the author, the time period, and a number of other factors.  Such is the case in Chris Watters “The Gamer’s Bucket List” which contains mini-reviews of the top 50 video games you must play before you die.  I am not going to go through and indicate which games I believe personally should be here and which shouldn’t as it is, of course, one person’s opinion. What I will do, however, is example the style of the list and try to identify what kind of gamer the author is, to see it if aligns with your beliefs.

The Gamer’s Bucket List contains a foreword from ScrewAttack founder Craig Skistimas, in which he defends many of the choices in the book as perhaps not the games with the highest sales but the games that make a meaningful contribution to the industry.  He basically points out what the book does right (in my opinion) in that it highlights games that you may have not heard of, or that deserve a little more attention.  He balances those out with games you absolutely have heard of, and should have played already (spoiler alert: Tetris is in the book).

The book has 138 pages, which equals out to 2 pages per game plus an introduction, a post-mortem of sorts, and a bucket list for you to check off.  I’d prefer this list to be available online (perhaps it is, but I couldn’t find a reference to that in the text) and I’m certainly not going to mark up a perfectly good book.  The cover has an interesting and unique texture to it, but dedicating two pages per game where one page is just a picture and the other is text left me wanting a little more.  While Watters sometimes explains why a game is chosen for the list, there is little consistency as to his reasons for the inclusion.  I’d much rather a more “hit-you-in-the-face” kind of approach that spells out what it is that makes each game part of this bucket list.

Going through the list for myself I found many games I have played and agree upon, some that I haven’t played that I’m excited to get to on my personal backlog of games I need to play, and then some that I just can’t endorse or see myself playing anytime soon. At the end of the day, I do feel reaffirmed with some of the gaming choices I’ve made, and feel like The Gamer’s Bucket List has offered me something of a future discovery list.  It isn’t perfect by any means, but it does have value and, of course, is just one person’s personal opinion.

Writing a book like The Gamer’s Bucket List is quite difficult, and reviewing it is even more so.  You may find it to be absolutely perfect and backs up what you are already thinking.  On the other hand, you might disagree with the majority of the choices and be stuck wondering “why isn’t such-and-such a game here?”  Or, you might be like me and feel somewhere in the middle. At the end of the day there is some great discovery to be had in here and it is an enjoyable read in bite-size pieces.  After all, it’s about video games so it’s definitely worth checking out.



About the Author

Syd Bolton
Syd Bolton surrounds himself in thousands of classic video games as Canada’s top video game collector at the Personal Computer Museum in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. He plays all of the latest games on his 80" Sharp TV and provides the "Lost Treasures" segment during The OMG! Hour. Follow Syd on Twitter @sydbolton.