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Focus on the Frightful: Gamer’s Bucket List #BookReview

From pixelated pioneer adventures to stunning space odysseys, the boundaries of the video game world are expanding every day. Grand epics and gritty mysteries. Fierce competition and friendly cooperation. Powerful emotions and uproarious laughter. Video games are fantastically diverse and wonderfully creative, but not all games are created equal. With so many games out there on so many different consoles, computers, and devices, how do you decide which games are worth playing? Backed by years of writing about games professionally and decades spent playing them, Chris Watters lays out a list of 50 games to entertain and enlighten you. Whether you’re trying to learn more about the world of gaming or strengthening your claim to true gaming fluency, these are the games you’ll want to play, and why you’ll want to play them.

The Gamer's Bucket List book cover

Title: The Gamer’s Bucket List | Author: Chris Watters | Narrator: Scott Johnson | Format: Audiobook | Publisher: Key Lime Press | Pub. Date: 23rd November, 2015 | Length: 2 hours | ASIN: B018FJKQ3S | Genre: Non-Fiction | Language: English | Source: Self-Purchased | Unstarred Review

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The Gamer’s Bucket List

This will be part review, part commentary. Rarely has a book irritated me within the first few sentences but this managed to do it. The foreword begins with the lovely little sentence “whether you’re a pro (gamer) or a mom playing the newest free-to-play money sucker“. Sigh. Really, guys? It’s especially egregious whena few paragraphs later the author of the foreword (Craig Skistimas, co-founder of Screw Attack) warns against the dangers of gatekeeping.

So, it didn’t start out on the best foot with me. The descriptions of the game were ok. Not spectacular but solid. It is hard to describe a game thoroughly without adding spoilers. I appreciate the lack of them.It’s annoying to head into a list with no warning and then get a good sounding game spoiled for you. Their criteria for series games were one per series and it’s the game that, to them, represented the best in the series.

As I listened, I kept expecting to hear Silent Hill 2 or a representative of the Resident Evil games. Nope. I know that Silent Hill 2 is not only widely considered the best game in the Silent Hill series but also one of the best psychological horror games period. So why isn’t it on the list somewhere?

Well, there’s a huge lack of horror on the list in general. Dead Space is mentioned, which is just mind boggling. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dead Space but it’s derivative and even fans of it admit that. It’s basically Alien meets Event Horizon. A game that’s great fun but hardly a game that I would think of if I’m trying to put together a bucket list of games.

It also gets worse. Nathan Drake and the Uncharted series is hyped up. And credit where credit is due. Uncharted is a good series. But Tomb Raider was nowhere on the list. No credit for Lara Croft? Nathan Drake is a male version of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider is a huge series. And it got zero mentions.

How can a gaming book, a book that’s supposed to be a bucket list of fun and influential games to play before you die exclude three of the biggest series in gaming? And I’m sure it’s missing more. Amnesia came out before this book was published. Outlast came out before this book was published. A slew of survival horror came out in the late nineties, early 2000s. Where are they?

You can’t be hypocritical of gatekeping when you literally started off with a very condescending tone.

  • Sincerely, a mom who plays a lot of different games. Including Dragon City and Candy Crush

If you want a list of highlights from the last decade you can check out my list of the Best Horror Games of the Decade.

Published inFocus on the Frightful
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