When I was a lad I was one of those who revelled in the introduction of the home computer, soon upgrading my ZX81 for a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Naturally, I laughed at the poor fools who championed the Commodore 64, secretly worried that I had picked the wrong horse to bet on but determined to plough the furrow I had chosen. Among the ridiculous amount of games on those machines and many others were movie tie ins, and I fonly remember the likes of Robocop, Cobra and Batman amongst others. Author and general fountain of knowledge Jerry Ellis remembers them, too, but he remembers oh, so much more, and in his book he shares it with us.
The Book Of The Game Of The Film is, as you'd expect, a look at computer (not console) games based on films, but it's not that simple. Firstly, although the main glut of the book deals in film based games, it also has sections for TV, book and comic based games, so there's a bit more than expected. Secondly, and best, this isn't a dry look at the games concerned, wibbling on about graphics and technical issues, or even a reviews book. TBOFGOTF is, above all, fun to read. Yes! Fun!
Although the games themselves are detailed, naturally, we also get a decent slab of information on the film, book, programme or comic character it's based on, often containing genuinely interesting facts with which to bore your (soon to be ex) friends down the pub. Because of this book, I now know which dirty film was the highest grossing Canadian film for the twenty years before My Big Fat Greek Wedding came along, and I also know just why Bruce Lee told people to be 'Like water'. Do you know these things? Do you care? Well, I both know them and care, but I didn't know them (or care, really) before I got this book. If, liek me, you're a keen quizzer who loves old computer games you really are in f or a treat.
The books layout is nice and simple, with each game given exactly the same treatment and space - no favourites here! Although it's not in alphabetical order there is an index for quick referencing of your fondly remembered titles. It helped me realize that I was remembering correctly that Battle Of The Planets not only had zero to do with the cartoon but also offered a prize for the highest score. 300 pages thick with glossy pages and a slipcover, it's certainly well made, although the A5 size will mean some squinting for us oldies. Limited to 250 copies (at least initially) it can be your for under £30 including postage, and whilst I initially balked at the price I am very glad I took the plunge, and if you used to spend countless hours watching games load of a cassette you will be too.