I’m not sure if anyone would argue that video game journalism is a rewarding profession. In fact, arguing that it’s a profession at all is stretching it in most people’s opinion. So to see my work included in a book that is emblazoned “Selected and Written by Leading International Critics” is something of a benchmark in my career.
Available now in the US, Canada, the UK and probably other countries whose version of Amazon I can’t be bothered to search (sorry) 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die is a genuinely beautiful book, and something that strikes me is not simply that I’m (implicitly) included as a “leading international critic” but the company I keep as such, with the book featuring writing from Brandon Boyer, Kieron Gillen, Simon Parkin and many other of my most admired contemporaries. Pouring over it, in fact, I’d go as far as to argue that it’s not so much the games that are essential as the writing about them; this book is a wonderful reference piece if you want to get an honest opinion and historical context for pretty much any worthwhile game in the last 40 years written by someone whose opinion counts. I expect I’ll be referring to this rather than the traditional (and lazy) Google/Wikipedia/Mobygames trifecta when requiring a little background on a certain game that’s slipped my memory.
I was–unfortunately–only able to contribute a small number of the entries in this tome and with no author index (an oversight, I think) there’s no quick way to find my articles in particular. So in the interest of self-interest, here’s the list. All my entries are marked MKu in the book:
Although Pac-Man’s official “birthday” lies on May 22nd, Namco Bandai decided to hold an exclusive “birthday party” for the yellow dot-eater in Los Angeles on June 15th, the first night of the Electronics Entertainment Expo.
During the evening, everyone at the party was asked to watch the following video, a summary of Pac-Man’s history. With jazzy background music, awkward narration and a near-random selection of Pac-Man facts, it was my favourite video of E3, and while a deluge of trailers flooded the internet in the days during and after the expo, this wasn’t one of them.
As a result, I got in touch with Namco Bandai in the hope that they’d let me share it with the world, which, thanks to the work of Reory Howard, I now can–exclusive, in fact, to exp. Magazine. It probably loses some of its charm removed from the context of Pac-Man’s birthday party (which did, in fact, count Mr. and Ms. Pac-Man in attendance) but it still brings a smile to my face.
Pac-Man is an arcade game developed and published by Namco (now Namco Bandai Games.) You can still find Pac-Man arcade machines in the wild, but it’s also been ported to almost every video game system ever. The version available on iTunes is generally considered perfectly acceptable, despite being priced $4.99.