Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987

Gamers like myself love to debate what should be included on lists of the greatest video games of all time. Various media publications capitalize on this by creating lists, mainly to get people to click through and engage. But sometimes a slideshow on a website or a YouTube video isn’t sufficient. Sometimes you want to take a deep dive into a top-100 video game list, immersing yourself in the experience in a more satisfying way. Moreover, many of these lists completely ignore anything from before 1985, which is when the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) rocked the world with its accessibility and plethora of great games. For these reasons and more Brett Weiss’ The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987 is a book you should read.

This book celebrates the best of the early era of video games. Replete with over 400 color photos and text that is both descriptive and informative, I found this book to be highly entertaining. Each game’s entry features production history, critical commentary, quotes from industry professionals, gameplay details, comparisons to other games, and more. Reading about these classic games made me stop what I was doing and fire them up. To the best of my memory, I never played Arkanoid for the NES. But after reading its entry in this book, I did and it was awesome!

The pivotal period in gaming that this book covers was marked by the introduction of the indispensable Atari 2600, Odyssey2, and Intellivision, the unleashing of the underrated Vectrex, the mind-blowing debut of the next-gen ColecoVision and Atari 5200, plus the rebirth of the industry through Nintendo’s legendary juggernaut, the NES. Many of these systems I’ve never played, so there was much for me to learn while reading this book. I’m sure I’ll go back to it again and again to learn more about games I should try and to reminisce about those I love.

Whether you’re young or old, new to the hobby or a hardcore collector, this book will introduce you to or remind you of some of the greatest, most historically important games ever made. The best part is there’s another 100 games in the back of the book, each with a brief paragraph describing them. Including this honorable mentions list adds even more value to an already outstanding package. If you love video games and are looking for that next great read, The 100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987 is for you.

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