Video Game of the Year breaks down the 40-year history of the world’s most popular art form—one game at a time.
Pong. The Legend of Zelda. Final Fantasy VII. Rock Band. Fortnite. Animal Crossing: New Horizons. For each of the 40 years of video game history, there is a defining game, a game that captured the zeitgeist and left a legacy for all games that followed. Through a series of entertaining, informative, and opinionated critical essays, author and tech journalist Jordan Minor investigates, in chronological order, the most innovative, genre-bending, and earth-shattering games from 1977 through 2022.
Exploring development stories, critical reception, and legacy, Minor also looks at how gaming intersects with and eventually influences society at large while reveling in how uniquely and delightfully bizarre even the most famous games tend to be. From portly plumbers to armor-clad space marines and the speedy rodents in between, Video Game of the Year paints individual portraits that, as a whole, give readers a stronger appreciation for the vibrant variety and long-lasting impact of this fresh, exciting, and massively popular art form.
Illustrated throughout with retro-inspired imagery and featuring contributions from dozens of leading industry voices, including New York Times bestselling author Jason Schreier, Max Scoville, Rebekah Valentine, Blessing Adeoye Jr., and Devindra Hardawar, this year-by-year anthology is a loving reflection on the world’s most popular art form.
This entertaining debut from PCMag editor Minor examines pivotal video games from 1977 to 2022, spotlighting one title per year that demonstrates "how uniquely and delightfully bizarre even the most famous games tend to be." He begins with Pong, which he credits with paving the way "for nearly every single video game that followed," and expounds on such early innovators as 1979's Speed Freak, a racing title that was among the first to harness "the open freedom of 3D visuals," and 1985's Super Mario Bros., whose imaginative worldbuilding and gameplay "revolutionized" the medium. Other milestones include Sega's creation of Sonic the Hedgehog to compete with Nintendo, Halo ushering in the rise of console multiplayer gaming, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City raising open-world level design to new heights, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons offering a tranquil respite during Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020. Though largely admiring, Minor makes some criticisms, suggesting that 2008's evolution simulator Spore failed to meet sky-high expectations and that 2017 juggernaut Fortnite cribbed its conceit and gameplay from PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. The author's passion and strong grasp of video game history make this an excellent ode to the medium. Illus.