Customer Reviews: High Score!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games, Second Edition
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on July 3, 2004
Searching for books on this topic is infuriating considering since electronic games is a broad subject and reaches various elements. (But hey, so is film and music.) Usually you'll find books that only cover the old arcade games, or some which only cover games of today on the PS2 and X-BOX while barely mentioning anything about the past games we grew up with, and this is twice a hassle if you're a PC gamer. But this book has the lot and it covers it brilliantly. It mentions the well known titles we see everywhere else like Mario and Sonic and all the familiar faces but delves deeps into eras that the average game would have no idea about or have forgotten such as the contributions by Trilobyte or Dragon's Lair.
Personally it would have been great if they had included some of the PC favorites like Sam & Max, Jazz Jackrabbit, One Must Fall and Little Big Adventure but for what it's worth the quantity of games the book discusses is remarkable. I'm glad that a publication like this can get out there to new gamers out there who have perhaps forgotten or have never seen games in 2-D or in less than 256 colors and they can see for themselves the culture in which a lot of us grew up in and how it has changed over the years. (For better or for worse.)
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on November 28, 2006
An amazing and comprehensive picturebook of all electronic games through history (not just "video" games). This book has some great photos of consoles and game prototypes you may have never heard about -- like the Atari Game Brain and Cosmos. It's just packed with images on thick glossy paper. My only complaints is there were no images of the very first videogame, "Tennis for Two". The book is also so thick and heavy, I don't know how long the binding will last under multiple readings. But these are minor gripes. A must have if you are interested in the beginnings of electronic entertainment.
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on September 26, 2005
This book is filled with inaccuracies. I know that it can be difficult to seperate myth and legend from historical fact when it comes to the history of electronic gaming. For example, look at the variations of the story of Pong in Andy Capp's bar. Unfortunately, even some of the captions next to pictures are wrong.

If you're looking for a book about the history of electronic gaming, I recommend The Ultimate History of Video Games (ISBN 0-7615-3643-4) by Steven L. Kent. However, inaccuracies aside, this book is good as a visual aid to supplement Kent's book. This book is filled with pictures, while Kent's book is filled with text.

Also, do not expect this book to have a very long lifespan. It is glue bound and the pages will start to fall out after repeated use.
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With little to separate this book from any other internet search, you're better off not purchasing this. It's an overhead view of games from authors I can't recommend. I had the unfortunate experience of meeting one of the authors, I'll leave out which one, as a guest to our university. He came off as insufferably incompetent in the field he was supposed to be knowledgeable in and quite rude to boot. I probably wouldn't recommend this back in 2004, I definitely can't recommend it now.
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on December 31, 2004
Perhaps there are only a few changes since the first edition, but if you've never read the first edition, this is a must-get for video game fans.

Full-color photos of hardware, screenshots, and gaming popular culture (e.g. Atari high score patches) take you through video game history. Not only are systems like Atari, Coleco, Intellevision, Nintendo, Sony, and Sega looked at, the authors also look at specific games and milestones for each hardware platform. A lot of obscure systems are covered and even computers from Commodore, Coleco, Atari, Apple, etc.

The authors have done a great job. From the Nintendo Game and Watch series to Sid Meier's Pirates, a great deal of video game history (past to present) and even memories (for some) are contained within the book. Highly recommended.
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on May 17, 2011
Many books have been published on video game history recently, covering all its many different sides and to suit different types of readers: there are books which are mostly interview driven (like the classic Kent's "Ultimate History" and the recent Donovan's "Replay"), books that aim at presenting an objective development of the industry through a more rigorous analysis of events and games (like Dillon's "The Golden Age of Videogames"), picture-based coffee table ones (like Van Burnham's "Supercade") and game centered ones (like "1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die" and Loguidice/Barton's "Vintage Games".

Despite a crowded catalogue, I know "High Score!" is, and will remain, one of my all time favorites. Why? This is arguably the only book able to properly match information to a visually appealing product: this is actually a coffee table item you can really pick up and read, not just look at. Besides, it also succeeds at providing an international perspective on games, showcasing companies and titles not only from North America but also from UK and Japan.

In summary, a great book that shouldn't be missed by any classic games lover! Get it!
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on February 28, 2010
This book was quite impressive when I received. It's quite large both in page-size and in page numbers. It does a great job of telling the history of gaming and includes plenty of insider quotes and point-of-views. It even has many highly detailed pictures. It's definetly worth picking up if your a gamer or interested in the history of the industry.

The book does it's best to cover everything in the history of gaming. But to truly cover everything, you'd have to write 10 volumes of this book. No one could possibly cover everything in one book. As a result, this book has a little bit of favortism. It does an absolutely grand job of covering the early days of gaming. It provides you with a brief history of computers, mechanical games, and pinball machines up to the point of the first video game, Spacewar!, on the PDP-1. From there it provides a very detailed account of the history of gaming in the 70s and early 80s. It focuses on arcade games, The Maganavox Odyssey, Pong, The Fairchild F, the Atari VCS/2600, Handheld Games, Intellivision, and Colecovision, and even early PC games.

Despite the incredible coverage of the 70s and early 80s, it seemed that they slipped a little when it came to the NES & Master System era and beyond. There just wasn't as much covered about the later eras, and not as many personal stories from the programmers and designers like there were for the early era. Even though there wasn't as much coverage, everyone seemed to be represented however. There were sections for NES, Sega Master System, SNES, Handhelds, Sega Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, Atari Jaguar, Playstation, Dreamcast, arcade games, PC games, and so many others. Just not as much packed into each section as there were on their early era counterparts.

In addition to the consoles and arcade coverage and their respective companies, there were also many sections that focused on several different prominant third-party software developers including: Midway, Acclaim, Accolade, Activision, Id, Mindscape, Epyx, Enix/Squaresoft, Electronic Arts, Valve, and many others.

I also want to stress that this book is written from the North American point-of-view of the industry. While the Japanese companies are well represented in this book, you will not get a Japanese point-of-view of the industry.

I highly recommend this book to any avid gamer or anyone that is interested in the history of the industry. Even though it may not be absolutely flawless, I have not seen another similar book that comes close to touching this one. This is the one you want.
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on March 11, 2004
High Score is a very interesting and comprehensive game history with illustration and photography from behind the scenes in one of the world's largest industries. You will find never before seen photos of Shigeru Miyamato (Super Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong) and many others from different companies and times. The book includes some very interesting facts and an in depth scope which proves too entertaining to put down. I sat down to read this book every time I walked into my local book store until finally I decided that I simply must have it for my guests and friends. Take a trip down memory lane to when games were 8-bit and walk back to current events. This 2nd edition contains new games from Playstation 2, Gamecube, and XBox and the PC. You will simply love this book if you enjoy nostalgia and retrospectives.
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on December 22, 2008
I've read a lot of books on the history of video games and this one stands up as one of the best. They take a very in-depth approach to the industry by focusing on the people behind the games as well as the games themselves.

My only criticism is that once the book gets into the mid-eighties and beyond its coverage becomes 75% computer games/25% video games. If you love both areas equally, then this shouldn't be any problem. If you're looking for long chapters dedicated to something like the console wars of the early 90's, you won't find them. Instead you'll have to wade through page after page of information on obscure computer games from 1990.

A very good book, but you can tell that the authors' love is really computer gaming. I guess that's why the title includes "Electronic Games" and not "Video Games", huh?
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on March 3, 2008
There aren't many books about video game history. It's a sad fact for many of us gamers, and game companies are eager to push to the future while forgetting what's been left behind. Well, High Score is a very good chronicle of "The Story So Far", written by two guys who have been around for much of the ride, Johnny Wilson and Rusel DeMaria. The book gives a pretty good description (however brief) of most of the influential companies in gaming's history, and has plenty of visual punch, with lots of screenshot, box art, and developer photos. My only gripes are that it's not terribly detailed and once again, the binding. But for a good view of the big picture, High Score scores high in content and presentation.
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