My Opinion Reviews

Play Before You Grow Up

Play Before You Grow Up
Written by Omair Alavi

‘101 Video Games to Play before You Grow Up’ is a rare book that aims to educate and inspire youngsters who want to step into the world of gaming

If you are a fan of video games, then you must have played a lot of video games. But even then, you wouldn’t know how Tetris is related to an Olympic Sport, why Final Fantasy was named so ahead of its release, and what reasons led to the creation of Sonic the Hedgehog in the first place. To find out answers to such queries, you have Ben Bertoli’s 101 Video Games to Play Before You Grow Up, a book that would surely make you regret growing up.

From Super Mario Bros. to Pokémon, from Minecraft to FIFA, every game that should be played before growing up is mentioned here. From the game’s inception to the final product and reception, every detail is mentioned in these pages as are the reasons regarding why that game should be played by the gamers (if they haven’t played it), what made it special at the time of its release and why it is still relevant, after so many years.

The book ‘101 Video Games to Play Before You Grow Up’ is neither a guide to the best video games to have graced any screen, nor is it an encyclopaedia. It is a rare book that aims to educate and inspire youngsters who want to step into the world of gaming but have no clue how to go about it. It covers multiple genres of video games from Platformer, Action & Adventure, Sports & Fighting, Role Playing & Strategy, Puzzle & Arcade, and Party & Rhythm which more or less consist of all those wannabe gamers should know.

After going through this book, the narrative of which is catchy and gripping, young minds will understand that there is a method to madness even in the world of video games. They can take it as a history lesson for video games since it covers the 1980s and 1990s extensively, whereas it might seem relatable to their parents who were ‘them’ during that period. Although the discussion on the Console Wars of the past could have been included separately in the introduction, instead of being mentioned every now and then, the book more or less manages to convince its readers and their parents that life is all good, even if it is lived in the midst of video games.

Unlike the book ‘101 Books You Must Read Before You Die,’  the approach of this book is much different. It talks about all those games that helped in making the video game industry an empire and explain the reason behind some of the game’s creation. You wouldn’t have believed it had someone told you that a quarter-eaten pizza inspired Pac-Man’s design, Sonic the Hedgehog was created to compete with Super Mario Bros., and FIFA is one of the best-selling video games of all time.

Each video game gets one page of its own – sometimes two – in this book where the author explains to the readers everything he could in that limited space. The consoles are mentioned on which that game could be played (for those who want to try), and the genres to which those video games belong are also displayed whereas the ratings are visible as well, just to comfort the parents who are usually against violence, even though they might have liked violent games in their youth.

The ‘First Seen’ segment mentions the year in which the game was released for the first time as does the name of the company that came up with the idea or bought the idea from some videogame developer. The ‘Did You Know’ section mentions a ‘Funny Fact’ about that very game and keeps it interesting so that speed readers aren’t bored with the technical language. Youngsters of today who hate books but love surfing would find the book to their liking because it has been designed in an eye catchy manner, where everything that is to their liking would catch their eye.

The book also explains the basics behind many video game consoles and brings forward the stories of several companies that came and went with the passage of time. Yes, it might move from one point to another without giving the readers breathing space but that’s because most of them know what might be coming their way. As long as the readers take it as an introduction to the world of video games, they will be content with whatever this book offers.

For the fans of Tidbits and Trivia, each page has something to offer. Readers who have played a handful of video games mentioned in this book can search for their favourite games while expert gamers can record their thoughts in the ‘My Favourite Moment’ and ‘Notes’ sections provided on each page. They can even record their experience of playing that game (if they have played that game!) as well as their personal ratings to keep a personal score that might help them in the future.

So, if you didn’t know how Satoshi Tajiri’s love for collecting bugs and tadpoles in the neighborhood led him to create Pokémon, or why the PC port of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the Nintendo Entertainment System was unbeatable, don’t be surprised as you aren’t the only ones who are clueless. Just concentrate on the 101 Video Games mentioned here, their history, and on the fact that how many have you played! -Ends

About the author

Omair Alavi

Omair Alavi is a highly regarded journalist, critic, and commentator, specializing in news, sports, showbiz, film, blogs, articles, drama, reviews, and PTV drama. With extensive experience and a keen eye for storytelling, he captivates audiences with his insightful analysis and compelling presentations. His expertise and contributions have made him a prominent figure in the media and entertainment industry.