Guinness Gamer's Edition: Most Oddly Matched Collection of Records in a Book
As a kid, I spent countless hours thumbing through a dog-eared copy of The Guinness Book of World Records, determined to find just the right stupid human trick to vault me into freak-show history.
Turns out I didnt need to waste all those years stretching my neck with metal rings; I could have just popped in The Legend of Zelda and beaten it in under 30 minutes. Thats a more impressive feat by todays standards, thanks to the Guinness World Records Gamers Edition 2008 the first collection of its kind from the famed arbiters of pissing contests the world over.
Who could have known mastering Guitar Hero would be the new worlds longest fingernails?
Guinness and gaming seem a natural match: Theyre both founded on the principle of beating the other guys best. On the other hand, most of us dont read Guinness to learn what the largest offshore oil platform is; its way more fun to admire the Most Tattooed Man, and ponder what drives a person to permanently ink his taint.
And thats the problem with Gamers Edition: Theres no patented Guinness freak factor to sustain it. Most of the records here are high scores, fastest-completion times, and general history of the pastime. Casual gamers will eat up the dubious superlatives (Largest PSP Memory Stick), though hardcore basement dwellers have been here, seen this and will cringe when Lightsaber is spelled Light Sabre. Come on, Guinness: If youre gonna tackle video games, you best keep your Geek Style Guide handy.
Many of the records really arent records at all, just arbitrary facts and filler. Does First Tiger Woods Game count as a record? If so, why arent we also treated to First Game to Be Called Grand Theft Auto III?
Amid the many shrugworthy records (First Person to Buy a PlayStation 3, First PC Game to Feature Developer Commentary) are a few with shock value Most Broken Bones by a Sim Game, to name one. (Answer: the arm wrestling title Arm Spirit.) But heres hoping that Volume 2 includes more about the link between Saddam Hussein and PlayStation 2 (yep, thats in there) and less Longest Metal Gear Cut Scene.
In a scene from The King of Kong which Guinness calls the Most Successful Videogame Documentary we briefly see a guy beating a previous high score using his bare feet. Now thats Guinness material, but its nowhere to be found here. A quick YouTube search for Metroid + eyes closed would have uncovered at least a few more non-score-based (which is to say, interesting) records for this collection.
Apart from the records? There are quickie Q&As with gaming royalty, including one with Lil Poison, who, at age two, became the worlds youngest professional gamer. Theres also trivia and lots of color photos, all of which helps raise Gamers Edition maybe a notch or two above the typical coffee table book of gaming.
And theres hope for better things to come: Included in this edition is a call for submissions for readers own records. So perhaps a Best One-Legged Dance Dance Revolution champion is still out there somewhere.
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