The Greatest Stories Ever Played: Video Games and the Evolution of Storytelling is a book on how video games can tell a story. The author opens the book with an introduction on the backstory of the project and a brief history on video games. He goes on to explain to the reader how video games contain plots, themes, story structures and more. The book goes on to give a list of sensational games that the author has bonded with, explaining in detail their plots and stories to the audience, telling us what exactly makes them the greatest stories ever told. All 275 pages of the book are filled with video game knowledge.
I found this book to be adequate, and it took me much longer than expected to finish reading it in its entirety. I am disappointed though that the author neglected to include a whole lot about the gameplay or mechanics of the games on his list. I know that this book was written to talk about the stories of video games, but I would have liked at least a little bit more on the controls and mechanics. At the end of each chapter the author included a “book report” which is sort of like a small chapter on a game that the author wanted to include. I found these sections entertaining to read. This book was a very enjoyable story but sometimes I felt that I was just being told a plot or story, and not how it helped make an interactive video game.
The most memorable section of the book in my opinion was the part where the author talks about a game called “Undertale.” I found this part to be very interesting because in this game you can either slay an enemy or spare an enemy, which will lead to a different ending for the game. I wondered while I was reading this whether players would slay an enemy because it was faster, or spare an enemy because it was a nice thing to do. Or if as in the words of Gandalf in the Hobbit, “ True courage is not knowing how to take a life but when to spare it”. It was a very compelling part of the story to me.
Review by Tristan M., Twin Hickory Area Library