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All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture Paperback – April 5, 2011


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All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture + The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon--The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World + Replay: The History of Video Games
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307463559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307463555
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This highly informative book, written by veteran gaming columnist Goldberg, is billed as the first of its kind, spanning 50 years of video game history with its zany personalities, many trends, and marketing coups. The video game industry boasts revenues equaling that of Hollywood and a huge consumer base of 70% of Americans playing its games, Goldberg reveals. He details the ebb-and-flow of video game history and stories of its creators such as Ralph Baer, Nolan Bushnell, Hiroshi Yamauchi, William "Tripp" Hawkins, Dan and Sam Houser, Graeme Devine, and Jason Kapulka. His coverage of the development of games like Tennis for Two, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Dungeons & Dragons, Myst, Sims, and Grand Theft Auto will appeal not only to nerds and gamers in Goldberg's easily accessible anecdotes but to those who grew up with these games through generations. (Apr.)
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Review

"A love letter to gaming...filled with fascinating behind-the-scenes vignettes of game creation…perfectly encapsulates the passion and dedication of videogames’ creators and fans."—Abbie Heppe, senior producer, G4TV

"The best window into the video game industry on the market today."—Steve Kent, author of The Ultimate History of Video Games
"Harold Goldberg’s portrait of a weird, often dysfunctional and amazing video game industry makes a great, great read."—Ken Levine, co-founder and creative director, Irrational Games

"IndispensableGoldberg takes us inside the hearts and minds of the hackers, hustlers, engineers, and dreamers who changed electronic entertainment forever."--Matt Helgeson, senior editor, Game Informer

"A story as riveting and addictive as the games it explores…If you’ve ever wanted someone to explain how and why video games captured the world’s imagination, this is the book for you."--James Ledbetter, editor in charge, Reuters.com

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Customer Reviews

I love this book and highly recommend it to any gamer!
Eric
It provides a lot of good information, is intelligently written, with humor as well.
John
This book is a great addition to my growing video game history book collection.
L. Figueroa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By LEONARD HERMAN on November 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I usually don't review other writers' books, but this one was so filled with errors that I was truely dissapointed while reading it. I'll list some of them. I have to say that, although I enjoyed the book, the errors were very distracting.

Page 1: "In 1966, Ralph Baer, a short, bespectacled man with a deep, radio-quality voice and a sharp wit, had been a successful engineer for thirty years."

If this is true, then Baer became a successful engineer in 1936 when he was 14 years old, and two years before he fled Nazi Germany.

Page 20: "The testing ground for Pong, the very first arcade game, was a newly opened bar in the Silicon Valley."

But Pong was not the first arcade game, Computer Space was. And the book says that on the following page.

Page 34: "At first, no one was interested in the home version (of Pong), even when the game was shown to retailers at New York City's famous and chaotic Toy Fair. Part of the Toy Fair debacle was due to Bushnell and his people being wet behind the ears. Their space for Toy Fair wasn't in the building at Broadway and Twenty-third Street where most business was done. It was far away (in the Jacob Javits Convention Center). Few stopped by."

Home Pong came out in 1975. The Jacob Javits Convention Center opened in 1986.

Page 42-43: "Wozniak pocketed $375, but Jobs kept the remainder of the $5,000. When Wozniak discovered what Jobs had been paid, his hacker heart, which had led him to work on Breakout for art's sake, was broken.
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53 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Jason Kirkfield VINE VOICE on February 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Disclosure #1: I was an arcade junkie. Even today, I have a full-size Joust upright in my basement. Somehow I missed catching the online gaming bug, but I have enjoyed console games from the Atari 2600 through multiple PlayStations to my current Xbox 360.

Disclosure #2: I already own several books on the video game industry, from colorful coffee table books to inclusive price guides to encyclopedic references. Comparatively, All Your Base Are Belong to Us was disappointing.

Fair or not, this book got off on the wrong foot. The title is an in-joke: a poor translation from a forgettable game (Zero Wing*) not even released in North America. Choosing this broken English as a cultural touchstone seems an odd choice for a book which the publishers hope will appeal to a wide audience. Worst of all, the phrase is not elucidated in the book, and barely mentioned in an easy-to-miss reference between the Table of Contents and Introduction.

The book itself is juvenile and gossipy. It needed an editor. If it had an editor, it needed a better one. The writing level and jocularity might be acceptable for online newsletters (for which the author has much experience), but that same freewheeling familiarity falls short here. The overused idiom "so much so" appears in virtually every chapter, so much so that I found myself keeping track. I gave up counting after fifteen.

Essentially the book is a compilation of reminiscences from interviews.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jason VINE VOICE on March 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Harold Goldberg's inappropriately titled All Your Base Are Belong To Us (AYB) - more on that later - is a comprehensive and thoroughly researched look into the people behind the last 50+ years of video games. From moving dots to bits and bytes, AYB provides readers with a fantastic dissertation on game development. With such an ambitious goal, there are bound to be successes and failures that mirror those of the geeky innovators who provided everything from Pong to World of Warcraft. For the most part, however, the book moves along pretty well for what amounts to a biographical compilation of programmers, investors, companies, and games.

While perfect for someone wanting to know the history behind the rise of gaming, and perhaps ideal for someone with dog-eared copies of old Nintendo Power magazines, I found the book a bit lacking for me, an actual geek. That is neither a slight upon this book nor Goldberg's work, merely a note for other game-playing, computer-programming geeks out there. Had a little more technical information been thrown in, I'm sure it would have satisfied my unfed cravings that were, for the most part, satisfied by the linear content. Two other faults, in my opinion, concern the book's title. First and foremost, the Engrish origin of AYB (FYI - Zero Wing) should have been explored, and could have seamlessly fit into any number of Japanese influences in gaming's rise in popularity. Second, as an avid gamer who has owned nearly every console from the Atari 2600 & Colecovision to Xbox and Wii, I felt there was a glaring omission of the fighting genre that swept the world in the late 80s and early 90s.
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