________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 5. . . .October 2, 2009.


Video Games. (Crabtree Contact).

Rhianna Pratchett.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3839-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3817-6 (RLB).

Subject Heading:
Video games-Juvenile literature.

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.





In 1972, the world got its first console, the Magnavox Odyssey. A console is an electric unit on which to play games.

The Magnavox Odyssey was designed by Ralph H. Baer. He is known as “the Grandfather of Video Games.”

The “Brown Box” was the prototype for the Magnavox Odyssey. It may have sounded like one of the Transformers, but it finally brought video games into people’s homes.

Without the Magnavox Odyssey, we may not have had an Xbox 360, A PLAYSTATION 3 (PS3), or a Nintendo Wii.

 Video games have come a long way since 1962’s Spacewar! Compare the Spacewar! screen shot on page four to Portal’s screenshot on page twenty-five. It’s unbelievable how different the images look and how many different things can be done in games now. Wii Fit allows players to workout, multiplayer games allow players to compete against one another, and eSPorts allow players to participate in tournaments around the world.

     In seven short chapters, author Rhianna Pratchett makes the history of video games interesting to read and easy to follow. She provides information on a few video game characters that have made it to the big screen (eg. Lara Croft) and shows how the video game industry helps to employ teams of people such as programmers, sound engineers and writers. A section in chapter six provides information on the violence in video games and their age-ratings, and two questions in this same chapter will have readers asking themselves what they think about violence and age-ratings in video games.

     Video Games contains chapters on topics such as console gaming, online gaming and gaming as a sport and ends with a Need- to-Know word list and website recommendations. In this book, the author makes the world of gaming seem exciting and accessible- whether through play or design. This book also provides encouraging words for those who might want to create video games, and useful websites to go to for information about making video games.

     Video Games was created for reluctant readers with a reading level of grades 3 to 4, and children and teens will learn about a variety of video games when reading this book which includes photographs of famous eSportsman Jonathan Wendel playing video games in a tournament and in a class.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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