Your XBOX is broken, your iPhone is dead and, on top of all that, the power is out. You need a book to read! I recommend Press Start to Play, a new collection of short stories inspired by video games.
The stories are short, snappy and really diverse in the ways that they translate video-gaming into fiction and then use it to speculate on the future of our society. Action? Yes. Dystopia-utopia, with laughs? Sure. Horror-filled text-based-game bleeding into reality? That too. Some big-name authors are included in the book, like Charlie Jane Anders (All the Birds in the Sky), Ken Liu (Grace of Kings) and Andy Weir (The Martian), among many others. You can find Press Start to Play in my reading list Great reads for gamers v2.0.
It is a good time to be a video gamer in Portland. OMSI has an exhibit called Game Masters which is running through May 8, 2016. Local super-arcade Ground Kontrol is getting ready to expand and double in size. Multnomah County Library is in on the action, too: Troutdale Library will be holding a spring break gaming week for teens in March 2016, and local nonprofit Pixel Arts is presenting game design programs for kids and teens at libraries around the county.
So, what are my personal top 5 favorite video games of all time? I’m glad you asked.
- Curse of the Azure Bonds (1989, DOS)
- Ultima VII: The Black Gate (1992, DOS)
- Street Fighter II Turbo (1993, Super NES)
- Gran Turismo 2 (1999, PlayStation)
- Dragon Age: Origins (2009, PlayStation 3)
Share your own favorites in the comments! Bonus score if you can suggest a book match for your favorite game.
Now let's play some Curse of the Azure Bonds! (Warning: the following video contains spoilers as well as 1980s D&D awesomeness.)