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Guinness World Records 2012: Gamer's Edition

Guinness World Records 2012: Gamer's Edition is another edition of the Gamer flavor of Guiness World Records. Again, there are a lot of pure gaming records in this book, such as the "Highest Wii FIT Hula Hooping Score" and the "Longest Fighting-Game Marathon." But what makes this book interesting is all the other little facts and trivia thrown in along with those. What's the longest-running Sci-fi RPG series? It's Phantasy Star, a futuristic fantasy game that made its debut on the Sega Master System.

And that last fact leads into one of the problems with this book. Perhaps it's not really a problem, but it's just really difficult to fact check most of this stuff after so many years. There are some "wait a minute" moments like the record for the First Simultaneous Four-Player Mode in a 2D platformer. It's listed as 'Splosion Man, an XBox Live Arcade game. At first, I wanted to call shenanigans. But I suppose, even with the rare four player games I remember from the 80's and 90's, and that all-fabled Turbotap adapter (it allowed up to 5 controllers to be connected to the TurboGrafx-16 system), this still holds true. However it's a little sad, since the game gets this status only because the category is so restrictive. Yep, now that I think about it, those much older 4-5 player games I remember (such as Dungeon Explorer) were overhead view. Still, about the only thing I can do to be sure about some of these records is to dig out my old Gamepro or Electronic Gaming Monthly Magazines, one by one. So yeah, either way I'm going to have to trust that Guinness has it's facts down.

Beyond the obscure categories, there are also interesting tidbits from the gaming headlines of the year, including the fact that the sales of Doom and Doom II became unrestricted in Germany. That is to say, kids in Germany can now purchase and play the game, 18 years after its original release in 1993 and 1994. It's not as big a deal as say, lifting a ban on a game, but it is interesting trivia.

The content is the most important part of this book, but of course, the presentation is important as well. Like the first book, Guinness World Records 2012: Gamer's Edition is full color, in about 8 by 11 size. It's a few pages longer as well. The pages are a matte, newspaper-like material, if that sort of thing matters to you. No, it's not quite as crisp and clear as a glossy magazine print, but it does look just fine for what it is.

These books may be less about records and more about a year of gaming in review. And you know what, that's perfectly fine. More and more gamers are getting their daily news from the web and other instant online sources, but having a book in your hand lends that sense of history. Websites may come down and links may break, but books have a permanence to them that you just can't beat. The book does a nice job of catering both to purists who want Guinness to be about records and to casual readers who just want to know some interesting facts. One person might not care about the highest score on Solomon's Key for the NES, but that same person might find the story of the first blind-friendly graphic adventure, Real Sound: Kaze no Regret, a game for the Sega Saturn, to be a very cool piece of gamer trivia.

-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

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