Gaming Hacks Book Review

"Gaming Hacks" is yet another in a recent string of books on the topic. What's different is that author Simon Carless approaches it from a unique viewpoint that varies wildly from that onslaught. It's a book that is probably wildly different from what you would expect when you first pick it up, but contains enough pertinent information to make it a worthwhile purchase.

What we have here is a simple case of mistaken identity. This unfortunately titled book does have "Gaming Hacks." There is plenty of information on how to play imports on your favorite console, but there are also chapters on how to get the best picture on your TV. That's not so much a hack as it is useful tuning.

That's also not the case for the entire book. There is a rather long chapter on MMORPG etiquette, which has absolutely nothing to do with hacking or technology. Common sense says you should watch your language, but those pervasive users probably won't pick up a book to read about it anyway.

Other unique chapters focus on the rather underrated Game Boy Camera, how to catch online cheaters (and what to do about them), how to create mods for first-person shooters, specific game tips, programming, and how to build the right gaming computer. It's sort of a potpourri book of various things the video game world has to offer. That of course doesn't mean that hackers won't find something to suit them all over this book. There is plenty here for these types like taking old game controllers and making them work on the PC and overclocking certain consoles.

In all, there are 100 hacks to play with, and each is laid out in a way that is easy on the eyes. Each chapter break is accompanied by light blue text which makes each easy to identify when flipping through, and some pictures/schematics make some of the more complicated aspects a but simpler. Other notes or alternative explanations are highlighted in blue boxes so you can't miss them either. Each of the nearly 420 pages is obviously designed to make everything as painless as possible. In that, they succeeded.

Outside of the rather ridiculous information, only major flaw is some incorrect information. A chapter states that the first run, original model Playstation 2 cannot play games in progressive scan on a HDTV. That's flat out incorrect. They will not play DVD's in progressive scan, but games come through if they support it. I own one, I know.

Unless you spend far too much time researching things like this, "Gaming Hacks" is bound to teach you something. The variety is far beyond what normal books in this area offer, even if some of the information seems a wee bit out of place or useless. O'Reilly has a winner on their hands overall.

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