From the Publisher
"A major triumph."
—Next Generation Magazine
"If anyone knows game history, it's Steve Kent."
—Dave Theurer, creator of Tempest, I*Robot, and Missile Command
"This is the best video game history book I've ever come across."
—John Romero, founder of Ion Storm
"For industry insiders and game players alike, this book is a must-have."
—Mark Turnell, designer for Midway Games and creator of NBA Jam, NFL Blitz, and Wrestlemania
"A compelling journey through the evolution of the video games industry."
—Minoru Arakawa, president of Nintendo
"This book is from the horse's mouth. Finally, the game designers speak out in all their wisdom and stupidity."
—Eugene Jarvis, creator of Defender and Robotron 2084
In this rollicking, mammoth history of video games from pinball to Pong to Playstation II Kent, a technology journalist and self-professed video game addict, covers almost every conceivable aspect of the industry, from the technological leaps that made the games possible to the corporate power struggles that won (and lost) billions of dollars. Anecdotes are legion. Readers learn that early Atari, for example, had the corporate climate of a dot-com startup, with rampant drug use and meetings staged in outdoor hot tubs. The original name for Pac-Man turns out to be Puck-Man; its creators changed the name after worrying that vandals in arcades would replace the P with an F. In 1978, there were so many people playing Space Invaders in Japan that the game caused a national coin shortage. Kent meticulously documents the rise of home video games and the console wars of the past decade, when Sega, Nintendo, Sony and others raced to produce the fastest, most powerful game system. Also addressed is the public backlash of the '80s, when video games were thought to distract students from homework, and the '90s, when Doom and other violent games were linked to the massacre at Columbine High School. Along the way, Kent interviews virtually every key player in the industry. At times, Kent's comprehensiveness is exhausting 500-plus pages on video games may be a bit much, even for their most ardent admirers. But most often Kent's infectious enthusiasm is enough to carry the reader along. Equal parts oral history, engineering study, business memoir, game catalogue and Gen-X nostalgia trip, Kent's book is a loving tribute to one of the most dynamic (and profitable) industries in the world today. (Oct.)Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Burnham's Supercade is bursting with illustrations of video game graphics, logos, artwork, and promotional images. With as much emphasis on illustrations as on text, this book might be as close visually to an electronic-game experience as one can get in print. Burnham, a contributing editor to Wired magazine, writes in a more casual voice and has incorporated short chapters by some guest authors, including Kent; the index and bibliography are welcome additions. These books nicely complement each other, though Kent's may appeal more to historians with its comprehensive coverage and Burnham's to nostalgic gamers with its eye-popping graphics. As works that cover an important facet of our popular culture, both titles are strong candidates for both public and academic libraries. Joe J. Accardi, William Rainey Harper Coll. Lib., Palatine, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.