http://www.gamesetwatch.com/abanes.jpg Both a proof and the final version of this book have been sitting on my desk for a while, but now I've finally got to recommending it - Richard Abanes' new book, 'What Every Parent Needs To Know About Video Games', is a surprisingly excellent overview of the state of games, aimed at perhaps the key demographic behind a lot of the 'games are evil' confusion that seems to swirl regularly.

When the front cover says that the book is by 'the author of The Truth Behind The Da Vinci Code', this may not fill you with hope for wisdom, but Abanes is both a gamer and a keen industry watcher (he mentions in the book that he plays Eve Online, and also references game biz influencers like CNN's Chris Morris deftly), and his well-annotated basic guide, though only just over 100 pages long, has one of the most balanced explanations I've seen for how parents should handle games.

In fact, a key passage is entitled: "Using Common Sense", and notes simply and baldly: "Video games are not inherently evil, destructive, or lacking in positive benefits". The final chapter is a list of recommended family-friendly games by the author, which goes beyond the obvious (Nintendogs) into the bold but fair (City Of Heroes) - though it does nod to Christian games, too, as befitting Abanes' previous work on religion and the Christian-friendly publisher. But overall, if people like Richard are writing sane books on video games and parenting, I'm beginning to feel a little better about how games are perceived by the world.