The video game society’s language of buttons tapping, aliens exploding, and fireballs hurling didn’t flicker to life on TV screens overnight. The gaming culture fed off the crunch of Doritos and the slurp of soda; it basked under the soft glow of TV screens and computer monitors until it flourished into what we see today. Eventually, video games became popular and diverse enough to warrant the binding of the annual Guinness Book of World Records Gamer’s Edition in 2008. Fast forward a few years and you will see the Guinness Book of World Records Gamer’s Edition 2012, set to show up on store shelves early next year.
Since Brady Games released its first edition, the Guinness Book of World Records Gamer’s Edition has featured thousands of video game stats, world records, trivia, interviews, new developments, and profiles of key figures in the gaming industry, all compiled by the renowned Guinness World Records editorial team. So, do you think you’re a Tekken 6master? Try beating 68 consecutive opponents in best-of three matches. Too easy for you? Try winning 169 consecutive matches against human opponents in Street Fighter IV. It’s no surprise that Mario is the most popular video game character of all time and Super Mario Bros. remains the best-selling video game series of all time. Of course, these stats and more wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for the innovations of a few choice people who set the video game concept on its path to bring it to where it is today.
Time for a two-for-one trivia question: who is the father of video games and what was the very first video game to appear on TV screens? The answer may not be as obvious as you may think. It’s no surprise if the image of two paddles sliding up and down on opposite sides of the TV screen while bopping a little white ball back and forth instantly pop into your mind. After all, Nolan Bushnell, the creator of Pong and founder of Atari is considered by many to be “the father of electronic gaming”. On the contrary, Bushnell wasn’t the first to come up with the concept of video games. So who is it? Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto? Will Wright? Actually, that title goes to engineer Ralph Baer, who patented the technology that made creating video games possible in 1968, four years before Pong was even introduced on the world stage.
Baer’s first prototype, called the Brown Box, allowed players to control two squares on screen chasing each other. In 1972, this technology was adopted by Magnavox to create the Odyssey- the first commercial video game console. TV producers failed to see its potential and false rumors floated around that it only worked on Magnavox TV, and its popularity and novelty died young. The gears of the video game juggernaut started to turn and there was no stopping it.
Among the categories in the Guinness Book of World Records Gamer’s Edition series include: The Highest Grossing Video Arcade of All Time, Longest Time Spent Playing an MMORPG, and spreads of some of the best selling games of the previous year, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Assassin’s Creed 2, Halo 3 ODST, and New Super Mario Bros.. The 2011 installment also showcases a person in Japan who owns more than 5,400 Mario Bros.-related merchandise, a school teacher who played Dance Dance Revolution for 13 hours, 33 minutes and 56 seconds, and Street Fighter player Ryan Hart, who has won more than 450 gaming tournaments worldwide.
The idea of the Guinness Book of World Recordsfirst emerged in 1951 when the managing director of the Guinness Brewery, Sir Hugh Beaver, went on a shooting party. Sir Beaver was wrapped up in an argument over the fastest game bird in Europe. This sparked the idea to create a book that provided answers to such questions. Consequently, the first edition of the Guinness Book of World Recordswas printed on August 27, 1955, making it possible for the “Video Game Bible” to be conceived a few decades later.
Gaming has come a long way to make its way into the hallowed pages of the Guinness Book of World Records. Whether you pick up a copy and plan on reading every page, or just flip through it at your local bookstore, this is one book that every serious gamer should at least check out. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next person to have the highest win streak in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3…hey, it could happen!