Saturday, February 26, 2011

Guinness World Records 2011 Gamers’ Edition Impression

Another year; another round of records. Guinness keeps it rolling and the formula is solid.

With Guinness World Records 2011 Gamers’ Edition the publishers have continued the fine stride achieved with the 2010 edition. The gaming sections put great focus on records by genre with a few featured games while the feature sections are great and could stand on their own with more in-depth coverage. So what’s this 2011 edition offering up? Let’s take a look section by section.

Introduction – Welcome to 2011. What’s changed this year, what’s new and gone … Introduction lays it all out essentially doing what an introduction should.
Page 8-19 – Why am I grouping these sections? Simple; they are round-ups of the entire year, a nice summary but not something to talk about in great detail. Seeing the various awards and sources in one location is nice and a great way to get into the meat of the 2011 edition.

Page 20-35 – Two page recaps of each major system and handheld including smart phones and the iPad. Each section highlights 3-4 of the top games per system and some fun facts from 2010. The games are great for debate but a very nice, concise look at the changes, accomplishments for the systems where our favorite games live.

Feature: Making Money Playing Videogames – Five ways to make some duckets in the world of gaming. Pro-gamer or professional gold farmer this is not always the fun world of family friendly games. While this section does not go into detail on actually getting into these arenas at least it’s a head-start for gamers wondering if there is a career in this … or even just a distraction with some money involved.

Feature: The 3D Revolution – Look back on this section in a few years to say ‘wow, this was the beginning’ or ‘what a crock that was.’ 3D on a handheld such as the 3DS could work but how will the new genre play out on consoles especially for a low buy-base of 3DHD TV’s?

Feature: A Touch of Class – Starting to touch on the popularity of iPhone and iPad based games this will be a new section in years to come. Tables and smart phones gain in power and complexity and the games featured are no longer just simple puzzlers. These are deep games, many of which exist online also and are making a play on consoles also. Plants vs. Zombies and Angry Birds on PSN anyone?

Feature: Collectors & Cos-players – There are whole volumes of books based on cos-playing (dressing in costumes folks) as well as over the top collections of content. These two pages wet reader’s appetites but leaves gamers handing with so little content. Again, not a knock on the section but readers are encouraged to go check out some of the collections of books out about cos-playing.

Feature: Indie Gaming – User created, small studio created? Yes on both and much more. Odd that as the systems and consoles get more complicated budding developers can get more titles into the public eye. As major studios and publishers focus on titles that will turn a nice ducket the indie community is there to fill in the gaps with tight, addictive games that would never see the light of day in the old world of games publishing.

Feature: Pro-gaming Tables – These guys and gals make money gaming. Are they the best? Maybe not but they do make money doing this so they are the best at what they do.

Shooting Games – A look at first-person to shooter to light gun games. The focus moves away from looking at specific games as in the past a takes a look at records in a number of categories. Well there is one exception, a little deeper look at the Halo franchise.

Sports Games – More than just Madden folks. This section follows the newer format of looking at records and not by sport by rather type. Madden and football get their own sections but extreme, European and American are all group and really the genre has been reduced in recent years.

Racing Games – Simulation, arcade, cart and street racing records covered with a look at the long running series of Mario Kart games. For all its simplicity it’s one of the most addictive, fun to play with friends titles ever.

Party Games – A newer genre that groups the music games (dying?) with other get up and move titles such as the featured Wii Sports. The groupings are make sense with Mini Games (Wii Sports, many Wii games), lifestyle games (think exercise) and three rhythm based games; karaoke, instruments and dancing. Look in 2011 for Kinect and PS Move titles to make it into this grouping.

Action-Adventure Games – A large grouping as both action and adventure games could very well live on their own. Featuring The Legend of Zelda is a no-brainer and for this gamer the section brings back so many memories. The section feature a variety of groupings from open world to narrative, stealth, survival horror, 2D and 3D platformers as well as graphic adventures. Again a lot of information here, heck in the past survival horror received its own category, but one that does a great job of capturing many records with looks at a few titles in particular.

Fighting Games – Leading off with Street Fighter and going from the relevant 2D fighters to 3D with some newer combat sports and hand and slash thrown in. Nobody can argue with the content and the records are grand. Ever wonder about the most expensive fighting game controller? Just take a look.

Puzzle Games – This has to be the section most influenced by both mobile devices as well as downloadable content. Tetris is the granddaddy of them all and leads off with a nice feature before jumping into records for block, spatial, physics-based, logic and word puzzles. Yes a title like Angry Birds is also seen here but can be tied into the touch of class future.

Role-playing Games – Not sure about Fallout being the featured RPG but no arguing with its acclaim as an awesome game. That said the world of RPG’s has grown so much thanks in large part to the addictiveness of MMORPG’s. Readers get Japanese, Western and action RPG’s as well as MMORPG for Fantasy, Sci-fi and social. A second feature takes a look at WoW, World of Warcraft.

Strategy & Simulation Games – The power of consoles increases making this genre more accessible to non-PC (powerful ones) owning gamers. Civilization is one of the grandest strategy titles of all time and deserves its feature and a quick look at turn-based, real-time and simulation titles shows off an often neglected genre.

Instant Gaming – Fire up the iPad, Android, iPhone or whatever and get to gaming in an instant. No water needed for this instant mix, just a need to game on the go in a simple and quick way. Classic arcade, mobile gaming and social network gaming are featured as is Farmville. These games lives not only on the go but also on social media platforms such as Facebook and as downloadable content on every console. Old games come to life, live again and the quick addictiveness (and simplicity) are all present.

Top 50 Games Characters – Sales records based … nope and this section will spark a lot of debate. 13,000 votes cast and some placements will surprise (Shadow, really Shadow made the list) but the top 10 rocks, period.

Twin Galaxies Scoreboards – Twin Galaxies keeps the official records and these pages list such records with some great snippets about games decorating the page borders.

Overall Guinness gamer’s edition offers up a lot of great content and makes 2011 a year for the records. This may sound odd but the focus in this edition is less on individual games and their records. The focus on pure records by genre allows for more content, a much broader range of data to digest. Rock solid and cannot wait to see how games change by the time 2012 hits.


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