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The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon--The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World Paperback – October 2, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
With all the whiz, bang, pop, and shimmer of a glowing arcade. "The Ultimate History of Video Games reveals everything you ever wanted to know and more about the unforgettable games that changed the world, the visionaries who made them, and the fanatics who played them. From the arcade to television and from the PC to the handheld device, video games have entraced kids at heart for nearly 30 years. And author and gaming historian Steven L. Kent has been there to record the craze from the very beginning.
This engrossing book tells the incredible tale of how this backroom novelty transformed into a cultural phenomenon. Through meticulous research and personal interviews with hundreds of industry luminaries, you'll read firsthand accounts of how yesterday's games like "Space Invaders, Centipede, and "Pac-Man helped create an arcade culture that defined a generation, and how today's empires like Sony, Nintendo, and Electronic Arts have galvanized a multibillion-dollar industry and a new generation of games. Inside, you'll discover:
-The video game that saved Nintendo from bankruptcy
-The serendipitous story of Pac-Man's design
-The misstep that helped topple Atari's $2 billion-a-year empire
-The coin shortage caused by "Space Invaders
-The fascinating reasons behind the rise, fall, and rebirth of Sega
-And much more!
Entertaining, addictive, and as mesmerizing as the games it chronicles, this book is a must-have for anyone who's ever touched a joystick.
Top Customer Reviews
Exhaustively researched and crammed ridiculously full of information, anecdotes, and hundreds of direct quotes from every walk of video game life, this book is worth more than one read-through. My copy is well-worn because I find it so easy to take with me on plane trips and just start reading through at random points. It's written in a very friendly, conversational tone and engages you with its prose. The book is extremely interesting because the author is clearly interested in the subject himself. He manages to get the kind of details and answer the type of questions you'd want to know, yet stays very thorough and accurate throughout.
Loads of different subjects are covered, sometimes at great length: The bar where Pong was first tested. Nintendo's lawsuit against Galoob's Game Genie. Tengen illegally producing Nintendo games and the big N's forceful prosecution. The battles over Donkey Kong and Tetris. The founding of Electronic Arts. Sega's mid 90's dominance and slip of the cd based systems. The furor over Mortal Kombat. School shootings. I can't list enough, and I can't go on enough about it. This book is extremely comprehensive and covers the entire video game industry and all its major players chronologically from the 70s until the turn of the century. It's well-written, accurate (given all those direct insider quotes) and completely objective.Read more ›
By contrast, the second half of the book, which mainly covers the rise of Sega, Nintendo and Sony, feels rushed and is far less comprehensive. Many part felt like rewrites of news articles, rehashing history rather than bestowing new insights. I don't want to sound too harsh, because this is a good overview, but this section falls short compared with the high standards set by the Atari history.
I also have a couple format quibbles. Many direct quotes are offset from the main text in bold. This is distracting. Some quotes simply repeat what had just been stated in regular text. I understand the need to back up assertions with quotes, but some of the comments are bland and don't really add anything. Other sections begin with quotes that are only tangentially related to the ensuing text, or were from speakers who don't make further appearances or whose comments are not elaborated on. Another complaint is the use of excerpted passages from contemporary news articles that don't give the source up front but force the reader to look up footnotes in the back. If a passage is important enough to offset from the main text, the reader should be told right away who wrote it and in what publication.
Also, I thought the title was slightly misleading, since this is more a history of the video game *industry* rather than of video games themselves.Read more ›
When I buy books, especially ones with the word "ultimate" in the title, I expect a lot. This book, a properly edited and indexed version of Mr. Kent's self-published "The First Quarter," absolutely delivers on its title. As a telling of history, The Ultimate History of Video Games is not pretentious, nor is it heavily opinionated, and those are among its greatest assets. The approach: interview nearly every major decision-maker involved in video gaming and let their words tell the 25-plus-year story of the industry.
And Ultimate History actually tells the WHOLE story. It's not just about Nintendo. It's not just about 10 years worth of old arcade games. It covers everything -- from before the dawn of video games to just before the releases of the Xbox and Gamecube. Plus it does so without pulling any punches. It's a big thick book with a lot of previously undisclosed information. Fans of The First Quarter will even find some surprising new additions inside, too.
This is the sort of book you stay up all night reading and then consult again whenever you're talking with your friends. And it's also the sort of book that ANY person considering a career in video games, especially the gaming business, really has to read. These are the reasons it rates a "buy" instead of a "borrow" or a "skim." I keep a copy on my shelf at work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an excellent volume of video game history and well worth the read.
However, be warned: It was published in 2001.
I am writing this in May 2016. Read more
I just finished this mega tome and I'm going to start again. The journey this book takes you on is akin to watching a great adventure movie like the Goonies. Read morePublished 1 month ago by J. Settnek
Tons of info. Not a lot of pics, but a lot of info/data. 11 year old son is into retro gaming and loves this book.Published 1 month ago by speakyourmind2
I bought this for my video game nutty son, who wants to design and create video games. He's had a ton of questions about games from the Atari's and up.... Read morePublished 3 months ago by C. Ellert
I used this book for a class in college and I was deathly afraid the content was going to be boring and/or outdated. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Rachel
My grandson loves games AND READING. What better way to learn about the games he plays?Published 4 months ago by Beverly Nichols
This is a solid, serious, informative book, written in an easy-to-read, conversational style. A wealth of information on the origins, relationships, inspirations, rivalries, and... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Ginger Pinto