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All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture

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Through the stories of gaming's greatest innovations and most beloved creations, journalist Harold Goldberg captures the creativity, controversy--and passion--behind the videogame's meteoric rise to the top of the pop-culture pantheon. Over the last fifty years, video games have grown from curiosities to fads to trends to one of the world's most popular forms of mass entert Through the stories of gaming's greatest innovations and most beloved creations, journalist Harold Goldberg captures the creativity, controversy--and passion--behind the videogame's meteoric rise to the top of the pop-culture pantheon. Over the last fifty years, video games have grown from curiosities to fads to trends to one of the world's most popular forms of mass entertainment. But as the gaming industry grows in numerous directions and everyone talks about the advance of the moment, few explore and seek to understand the forces behind this profound evolution. How did we get from Space Invaders to Grand Theft Auto? How exactly did gaming become a $50 billion industry and a dominant pop culture form? What are the stories, the people, the innovations, and the fascinations behind this incredible growth? Through extensive interviews with gaming's greatest innovators, both its icons and those unfairly forgotten by history, All Your Base Are Belong To Us sets out to answer these questions, exposing the creativity, odd theories--and passion--behind the twenty-first century's fastest-growing medium. Go inside the creation of: Grand Theft Auto * World of Warcraft * Bioshock * Kings Quest * Bejeweled * Madden Football * Super Mario Brothers * Myst * Pong * Donkey Kong * Crash Bandicoot * The 7th Guest * Tetris * Shadow Complex * Everquest * The Sims * And many more!


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Through the stories of gaming's greatest innovations and most beloved creations, journalist Harold Goldberg captures the creativity, controversy--and passion--behind the videogame's meteoric rise to the top of the pop-culture pantheon. Over the last fifty years, video games have grown from curiosities to fads to trends to one of the world's most popular forms of mass entert Through the stories of gaming's greatest innovations and most beloved creations, journalist Harold Goldberg captures the creativity, controversy--and passion--behind the videogame's meteoric rise to the top of the pop-culture pantheon. Over the last fifty years, video games have grown from curiosities to fads to trends to one of the world's most popular forms of mass entertainment. But as the gaming industry grows in numerous directions and everyone talks about the advance of the moment, few explore and seek to understand the forces behind this profound evolution. How did we get from Space Invaders to Grand Theft Auto? How exactly did gaming become a $50 billion industry and a dominant pop culture form? What are the stories, the people, the innovations, and the fascinations behind this incredible growth? Through extensive interviews with gaming's greatest innovators, both its icons and those unfairly forgotten by history, All Your Base Are Belong To Us sets out to answer these questions, exposing the creativity, odd theories--and passion--behind the twenty-first century's fastest-growing medium. Go inside the creation of: Grand Theft Auto * World of Warcraft * Bioshock * Kings Quest * Bejeweled * Madden Football * Super Mario Brothers * Myst * Pong * Donkey Kong * Crash Bandicoot * The 7th Guest * Tetris * Shadow Complex * Everquest * The Sims * And many more!

30 review for All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture

  1. 4 out of 5

    Warreni

    If you have any interest in videogames at all, this book is worth a read. It's not great, but you're bound to run across at least a few anecdotes of which you were previously unaware. This alone may make it worth your while. Goldberg apparently is not used to operating within the longform story format as he is not really able to construct a cogent overall narrative. Instead the book reads like a series of magazine articles which make only tangential and passing references to one another. It's a p If you have any interest in videogames at all, this book is worth a read. It's not great, but you're bound to run across at least a few anecdotes of which you were previously unaware. This alone may make it worth your while. Goldberg apparently is not used to operating within the longform story format as he is not really able to construct a cogent overall narrative. Instead the book reads like a series of magazine articles which make only tangential and passing references to one another. It's a pity because a book that really examines the topic noted in his subtitle would undoubtedly be fascinating. Instead what we get is a series of vignettes about the first videogames (that ran on supercomputers), the genesis of the Magnavox Odyssey system, the rise of Atari and Electronic Arts, the origin of the PlayStation, the creation of games like BioShock and Grand Theft Auto, and more. There are other problems: the writing is punctuated with peculiar references to elements of the central nervous system and other anatomical features for no really good reason; some obvious errors are present (Infocom's A Mind Forever Voyaging is referred to as A Mind Forever Wandering); while I've never played a Ratchet and Clank game and likely never will, I found the description of the games featuring the pair as blatantly "homoerotic" to be a bit odd; and some of the chapters (like the ones on Will Wright and BioShock) are excessively obsequious. Overall, this is a fairly poorly-written volume but it's worth digging through for the odd new tale that you may have been unfamiliar with, such as why Kings Quest 8 was so different (in ways that many viewed as bad) from previous iterations in the series.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Timojhen

    May have been too familiar with the subject matter. Read easily, but didn't offer a whole lot which was new, and beyond the anecdotes on situations which brought things into being it didn't have a lot. Appreciate the dedication and vigor which early pioneers brought to video games, but some events of recent years (I.e. Minecraft) continue to reinforce for me the notion that we can't accurately predict success. As we enter into the VR era, this may become more and more dated.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Definitely more of a straight history of video games, and not as much of a social sciences book as the title led me to expect. But still a really interesting read! I learned a lot - my favorite was the chapter on Tetris. I hope the author releases a second edition, because I'd love to see more recent video game phenomena like Pokemon Go, Minecraft, Fortnite, and VR included.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andy Gavin

    This new addition to the field of video game histories is a whirlwind tour of the medium from the 70s blips and blobs to the Facebook games of today, with everything in the middle included. Given the herculean task of covering 45+ years of gaming history in a completely serial fashion would probably result in about 4,000 pages, Goldberg has wisely chosen to snapshot pivotal stories. He seizes on some of the most important games, and even more importantly, the zany cast of creatives who made them This new addition to the field of video game histories is a whirlwind tour of the medium from the 70s blips and blobs to the Facebook games of today, with everything in the middle included. Given the herculean task of covering 45+ years of gaming history in a completely serial fashion would probably result in about 4,000 pages, Goldberg has wisely chosen to snapshot pivotal stories. He seizes on some of the most important games, and even more importantly, the zany cast of creatives who made them. My personal favorite is Chapter 8, "The Playstation's Crash" featuring none other than that lovable Bandicoot, myself, Jason, Mark Cerny and various other friends. This chapter covers loosely the same subject matter that Jason and I detail in our lengthy series of Crash blogs (found here). It's even 98% accurate! :-) If you enjoyed our Crash posts, I highly recommend you check out this book, as it includes not only some extra insights there, but 18 other chapters about other vitally important games or moments in gaming history. These include old Atari, the great 80s crash, Mario, Tetris, EA, Adventure Games, Sierra Online, EverQuest, WOW, Bioshock, Rockstar, Bejeweled, and more. All are very entertaining, and focus heavily on the personalities behind the scenes -- and boy, are there personalities in this business! In many ways this reminds me of Hackers, which is dated, but was one of my favorite books on the 80s computer revolution. So click, buy, and enjoy! For my series on Making Crash Bandicoot, CLICK HERE.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kip

    My beef with Harold Goldberg's book is not with its content, but rather with its execution. "All Your Base Are Belong to Us" is a perfect title for this interesting essay that takes thematic risks that will have true video game fans shaking their heads. Halo influencing the Grand Theft Auto series? Shadow Complex as the end-all, be-all of the next generation of downloadable gaming? And don't even get me started about the stretches in allusions, meant as love letters to geek culture that ultimate My beef with Harold Goldberg's book is not with its content, but rather with its execution. "All Your Base Are Belong to Us" is a perfect title for this interesting essay that takes thematic risks that will have true video game fans shaking their heads. Halo influencing the Grand Theft Auto series? Shadow Complex as the end-all, be-all of the next generation of downloadable gaming? And don't even get me started about the stretches in allusions, meant as love letters to geek culture that ultimately fall flat throughout the experience. Goldberg is to be commended for his attempt to explain why video games have become such a cultural phenomenon in the past 50 years. For the most part, he hits the high points of gaming history, dwelling on the exploits of Miyamoto, Wright and Rockstar's Houser brothers. He reveals in the book's notes that the portions of the book dealing with Grand Theft Auto and the rise of Rockstar almost weren't, which would have almost rendered this book meaningless. Still, Goldberg misses several of the major cultural movements that have defined gaming, especially in the past two console generations. While he nails Rockstar's successful forays at merging satire, pop culture and gaming, he leaves out the entire "Doom" craze of the early 1990s, the extreme sports fad that made the Tony Hawk series a giant in the Playstation era and the rise of the fully 3-D, platforming adventure that was ushered in by Super Mario 64. The latter title, which merely gets a mention while Goldberg waxes poetic about Crash Bandicoot, is a particular missed opportunity. How many gamers do you know that go back and play Crash? Now, how many still speak longingly about Mario 64? There's your answer about which game has had a bigger effect on popular culture. In many ways, what Goldberg is seeking to do is a fool's errand. Explaining video game's effect on popular culture, and vice versa, is an impossible task, especially in a 300-page book. His work serves as a nice Master's thesis, but for the full history, there are many better - and more well-written - options out there.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jlawrence

    I've been spoiled by the likes of The Digital Antiqurian, who combines excellent writing with in-depth analysis of the history of computer and video games. So, while All Your Base is filled with interesting ancedotes covering the creation of some seminal games, it was hard not be distracted by the akward, over-projecting (the amount of times he tells "you" how you feel playing a certain game really began to grate) writing, liberally sprinkled with straining, irrelevant pop-culture/gaming-culture I've been spoiled by the likes of The Digital Antiqurian, who combines excellent writing with in-depth analysis of the history of computer and video games. So, while All Your Base is filled with interesting ancedotes covering the creation of some seminal games, it was hard not be distracted by the akward, over-projecting (the amount of times he tells "you" how you feel playing a certain game really began to grate) writing, liberally sprinkled with straining, irrelevant pop-culture/gaming-culture/liteary-culture references. And on that pop-culture front, the book does not live up to its sub-title: videogaming's influence on pop culture is only touched on in passing. In addition, when Goldberg was covering a topic I was more familiar with, I would sometimes get frustrated with the coverage. For example, covering Trip Hawkins founding and leadership of Electronic Arts in its early 8-bit days, Goldberg is in such a rush to get to Hawkins' deal with Madden that he ignores innovative, influential early EA titles like M.U.L.E., Starflight and Wasteland. It made me wonder about the topics I was not so familiar with. And oh my the hyperbole at times. On the GTA franchise: "Mentioning the writing often wins because of its grinding, gnashing satire and searing and searing social commentary gets closer to the point. Dan Houser can occasionally be long winded. But he is among the better narrative writers in our popular culture today, not only in videogames, but in any medium." I'll just.....leave that there. Still, there are great, fascinating stories here if you're interested in the subject and can get past the presentation.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Not actually that great; it's really a fairly disjointed articles (chapters) about various videogame personalities. Despite the subtitle, there is no thesis or attempt to actually demonstrate that video games have 'conquered pop culture'. I guess by giving us the backstories behind a dozen or two people who designed videogames, the author assumed we would come to that conclusion. The prose is pretty tiresome too; there are lots of painful analogies that rely on the authors' personal experiences w Not actually that great; it's really a fairly disjointed articles (chapters) about various videogame personalities. Despite the subtitle, there is no thesis or attempt to actually demonstrate that video games have 'conquered pop culture'. I guess by giving us the backstories behind a dozen or two people who designed videogames, the author assumed we would come to that conclusion. The prose is pretty tiresome too; there are lots of painful analogies that rely on the authors' personal experiences with video games, movies, music, and literature, and one ultimately is left wondering: how many DFW/Infinite Jest references does a book on videogames need? I can't say it's completely without value; the articles themselves contain informative accounts of how people got into making games and the trials they faced, with some conjecture about why they may have drifted toward games in their lives.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Albert

    Let's face it, this book was written horribly. However, its value lies not in literary merit. This is a book that contains many stories: the stories of those who created some of the most important video games and video game companies in history. If you ever wondered about the origins of games like Myst, Phantasmagoria, Tetris, World of Warcraft, The Sims, or maybe even Super Mario himself, you're in luck. Anyone who's curious about the history of Video Games will appreciate the work put into findi Let's face it, this book was written horribly. However, its value lies not in literary merit. This is a book that contains many stories: the stories of those who created some of the most important video games and video game companies in history. If you ever wondered about the origins of games like Myst, Phantasmagoria, Tetris, World of Warcraft, The Sims, or maybe even Super Mario himself, you're in luck. Anyone who's curious about the history of Video Games will appreciate the work put into finding these people and learning about them and their games. If Goldberg deserves praise, he deserves credit for gathering these archives. Nostalgia lies in these pages for some, historical treasures for others. Regardless, this is not your average fanboy's book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Allison Ann

    Three stars for content, not for writing unfortunately. Interesting read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I would give this four stars - it's engaging and a good overview of pop culture history - but I wasn't enamoured of the writing style. I'm not really a gamer. This is by choice because strategy and sim games are like crack or online gambling to me (not shooters, those aren't very interesting to my brain) - I can't stop once I start. The first time I played Civilization II with my then-boyfriend we were up for 36 hours straight to finally "win" it in some capacity. Rollercoaster Tycoon and SimCity I would give this four stars - it's engaging and a good overview of pop culture history - but I wasn't enamoured of the writing style. I'm not really a gamer. This is by choice because strategy and sim games are like crack or online gambling to me (not shooters, those aren't very interesting to my brain) - I can't stop once I start. The first time I played Civilization II with my then-boyfriend we were up for 36 hours straight to finally "win" it in some capacity. Rollercoaster Tycoon and SimCity sucked up my time - more rides, more Sims. I actually called in sick to work once because a puzzle in Myst II had me so worked up I couldn't concentrate on anything else (I have yet to play Myst IV). So I know about gaming, even if it's not a major part of my life any more. I like the breadth that Goldberg covers in this book - all the way from Tennis for Two up to the early part of 2010 (right before the Angry Birds onslaught) - and the glimpses inside the creative processes for video game innovators. Goldberg - for all that he's an insider, having worked at Sony Online, etc. - pulls no punches with the realities of funding, creating, and releasing innovative, immersive, best-selling games. It provides some perspective to seeming rags-to-riches undergod stories. What I didn't really like about the writing style was the uneven feel. One section would be more technical with regards to the business side or computing side of the story, the next would be filled with effusive fan-boy accolades, and the next would consist of conversation (Goldberg conducted over 200 hours of interviews with many of the game makers). It was a bit whiplash-like. There are no graphics (at least not in the ebook I read) and that, for me, was a bit hard because sometimes I couldn't recall the graphics for a game from 20 years ago. Liscensing and copyright probably contributed to that absence, but it would have been nice.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    In this somewhat misleadingly-titled book, All Your Base Are Belong To Us takes readers on a behind the scenes look at the making of several big games that really made an impact on the industry as a whole. From Mario to World of Warcraft, Goldberg portrays intimate accounts on the blood, sweat, and tears it took for some famous developers to realize their dreams and make the products which changed the face of gaming through the years. It took me a few chapters to get into the format of this book, In this somewhat misleadingly-titled book, All Your Base Are Belong To Us takes readers on a behind the scenes look at the making of several big games that really made an impact on the industry as a whole. From Mario to World of Warcraft, Goldberg portrays intimate accounts on the blood, sweat, and tears it took for some famous developers to realize their dreams and make the products which changed the face of gaming through the years. It took me a few chapters to get into the format of this book, as I was expecting more of a discussion on gaming in pop culture rather than a history lesson. But Goldberg, at heart, is an investigative journalist and he really did a great job in telling the story of the people behind the games. It's all quite shocking when you read about the tremendous amount of self sacrifice and financial risk some of these programmers underwent to follow their dreams and, in the end, it really was inspiring to see it all come together. I also really enjoyed getting to know the roots for a lot of the big name developers like Rockstar, EA, Naughty Dog, and a bunch others. Besides seeing their work through the years, the stories behind how they formed really entertained me as a gamer and anyone who wonders what it took for GTA to become GTA and the like will not be disappointed. I would definitely recommend this book to any gamers who want to know more about the men who made these companies what they are today. For those who also just enjoy some in depth and personal accounts of the struggles for success, there is a lot here too. Overall, a really entertaining read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nicole G.

    I thought (since I still play lots of older titles) that All Your Base would appeal to my retro sensibilities. As far as the history of this topic, I knew some broad strokes going in, which, admittedly, wasn’t much. However, in his introduction, Harold Goldberg purports to tell the story of landmark instances in the history of video games, as well as why they have affected popular culture so much. He claims the book is for core and casual gamers alike. Did he succeed in reaching both (or either) I thought (since I still play lots of older titles) that All Your Base would appeal to my retro sensibilities. As far as the history of this topic, I knew some broad strokes going in, which, admittedly, wasn’t much. However, in his introduction, Harold Goldberg purports to tell the story of landmark instances in the history of video games, as well as why they have affected popular culture so much. He claims the book is for core and casual gamers alike. Did he succeed in reaching both (or either) audience? Press Start to play! Goldberg’s chapters follow in a mostly chronological order, beginning with the Magnavox Odyssey and ending with the Wii, as well as a “bonus” chapter with a look towards what the future might bring. All the major players are featured: Pong, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Tetris, Grand Theft Auto, The Sims, et cetera. His prologue, if you will, relates his personal experience with “Tennis for Two” at a recreation exposition in the place of its birth, Brookhaven National Laboratory. Towards this section’s end, however, it begins to suffer something that spreads and infects the rest of this book – the disease of extraneous detail. All Your Base, in its paperback format, appears rather lightweight, clocking in at slightly over 300 pages. Generally, this is something that I could read through quickly. However, this took me a week to slog through, and that is embarrassing for me to admit. For my full review, please see my site.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gwendolyn

    I do not yet have the physical book (Amazon estimates the delivery date to be between Tuesday September 11 and Wednesday September 26, 2012) but I have been reading what I can on the Amazon preview and Google Books. I've gotta say, so far I'm disappointed. The subtitle for this book is "How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture." Maybe the 'conquer pop culture' part is hidden in the parts that I do not yet have access to, but so far the book is just an overview of the history of video I do not yet have the physical book (Amazon estimates the delivery date to be between Tuesday September 11 and Wednesday September 26, 2012) but I have been reading what I can on the Amazon preview and Google Books. I've gotta say, so far I'm disappointed. The subtitle for this book is "How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture." Maybe the 'conquer pop culture' part is hidden in the parts that I do not yet have access to, but so far the book is just an overview of the history of video games, with little to no crossing into the pop culture realm. The introduction was promising, beginning with the author's own experiences in gaming and his thoughts on the subject. Then it moves into the history, which, so far, is just a recounting of what happened with little to no discussion of the implications. I have learned some interesting things (such as Pong was not actually the first video game, a fact that I always thought was true), but have little idea how video games function or functioned in the world culture. Based on the title, what I was hoping to get from this book was a little information on gamer culture, what makes game companies tick, how the market affects their decision making and vice versa. If, when I get the physical copy, I find more about pop culture and video games, I will report back.

  14. 5 out of 5

    David Kirschner

    I both liked this book a lot and hated it. I liked it because, overall, the history of the development of video games as a medium is well told. It's a fascinating story, and Goldberg obviously conducted a ton of research and interviews to write this. However, I didn't like it because the writing is painful. He uses the word "nerd" or a variant (nerdy, nerdish, etc.) about three times per page. If you play games, you are a nerd. If you make games, you are a nerd. Nerds like girls and big boobs. I I both liked this book a lot and hated it. I liked it because, overall, the history of the development of video games as a medium is well told. It's a fascinating story, and Goldberg obviously conducted a ton of research and interviews to write this. However, I didn't like it because the writing is painful. He uses the word "nerd" or a variant (nerdy, nerdish, etc.) about three times per page. If you play games, you are a nerd. If you make games, you are a nerd. Nerds like girls and big boobs. If you read fantasy, you are a nerd. Nerd, nerd nerd. Nerd? Nerd: nerdy nerd nerd nerdish nerdiddly doodly. That's what reading this book is like. Also, the author uses terrible analogies throughout the book, so readers should prepare themselves like Rocky prepared himself to fight the Russian. (Wait, that analogy doesn't make sense. What does Rocky have to do with anything?) The analogies are unnecessary like [random musician/movie star] didn't need [random reference to some other random thing oh my god]. Read this if you can get past the writing because it seems well-researched and the history is cool to learn about. Also, apparently Shadow Complex is the future of gaming, or was in 2011.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steven Kent

    I am always surprised when I see how the hardcore gaming crowd judges books. Some of the hardcore crowd appreciates new insights. Some seem threatened by authors who present new information. These guys snoop around for some insignificant error and then rave and rave about how those errors ruins the entire book and you shouldn't trust a word the author utters. Harold Goldberg wrote a good, solid book about the workings of the video game industry. Goldberg, and Goldberg alone, has traveled inside R I am always surprised when I see how the hardcore gaming crowd judges books. Some of the hardcore crowd appreciates new insights. Some seem threatened by authors who present new information. These guys snoop around for some insignificant error and then rave and rave about how those errors ruins the entire book and you shouldn't trust a word the author utters. Harold Goldberg wrote a good, solid book about the workings of the video game industry. Goldberg, and Goldberg alone, has traveled inside Rockstar and gotten the inside dope on the Grand Theft Auto series. His book is filled with first-hand information. Goldberg knows the players. He knows how the industry works. He is a veteran journalist in the video game industry.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    This is ok, but there are much much better options out there. To be clear, this is simply a history with stories from the world of video game design and publishing. There is absolutely nothing in it about the effects of video games on popular culture. The subtitle is entirely misleading. The prose is filled with metaphors and similes which don't make sense but only seem to be added to make the author seem hip. There isn't anything new in the text that those who know a little bit about video game hi This is ok, but there are much much better options out there. To be clear, this is simply a history with stories from the world of video game design and publishing. There is absolutely nothing in it about the effects of video games on popular culture. The subtitle is entirely misleading. The prose is filled with metaphors and similes which don't make sense but only seem to be added to make the author seem hip. There isn't anything new in the text that those who know a little bit about video game history won't already know, but it's an ok primer for those who are curious and don't know much.

  17. 4 out of 5

    LoudVal

    Lacked oomfph. Writing was subpar, no linear progression within the chapters made it difficult and irritating to follow the story. You could tell where he had personal insight was where he wrote best, which isn't saying much. I expect there are better books on this subject out there, and that one day I will read one that will blow this title out the water. Still, enjoyable for what it was – a quick read for the commute to work (aka, not particularly engaging, took my time, never missed my stop).

  18. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    As a history of video games and the industry goes, this isn't too bad. The author did plenty of research and conducted interviews with many of the subjects he discusses; good on him. I guess I was thrown off by the subtitle, "How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture." I was expecting more of an analysis of how pop culture has been influenced by video games and vice versa. Instead it's pretty much a straight-up history of the rise (and fall) of certain influential companies and game de As a history of video games and the industry goes, this isn't too bad. The author did plenty of research and conducted interviews with many of the subjects he discusses; good on him. I guess I was thrown off by the subtitle, "How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture." I was expecting more of an analysis of how pop culture has been influenced by video games and vice versa. Instead it's pretty much a straight-up history of the rise (and fall) of certain influential companies and game designers. Not bad in itself, just not what I'd hoped for.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Roland Bruno

    A welcome and expansive history of the industry. Having lived and played through the entirety of the history of video-games, and having read other such titles, this book suffers from "Been there, read that" syndrome. If you have never read a history of video-gaming I would recommend this but if you've already been down this path you can safely bypass. I picked it up based on reading a glowing review which sold me on it and like many similar reviews on the games themselves, it was over-hyped.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tbueno

    It is a good book, but it has some strange topic choices. Ignore the iPhone game industry and write about a specific Xbox live game is a weird choice in my opinion. Also, i believe that writing a book about video-games ignoring companies like Sega is like omitting part of the history. In the end, I consider this book entertaining. If you love video-games, you'll probably enjoy this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Full of great tidbits of information on the world of video games. If you are a person that is interested in learning more about the people behind some of the greatest games of the madden era, this is the book for you. Learned a lot more about the companies and the people that creat video games.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mohammed Algarawi

    A very comprehensive account of the history of video games. An absolute must read for video games enthusiasts.

  23. 4 out of 5

    vaderbird

    A great read, sorry I did not review this sooner so people pick it up.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gerwyn

    Which game virtually ensured every subsequent PC came with a CD-Rom? Why do video game-based movies suck so badly? Which horror game's maker's parent company was a Christian broadcaster? Even if you're not a gamer, like me, there's names in this book that will jump out at you - Myst, Phantasmagoria (which did scare the bejeezus out of me. That cat, man, that cat.), Crash Bandicoot, Warcraft, etc and that's what this book is about - how did these games, going back to Pong and the rise and fall of Which game virtually ensured every subsequent PC came with a CD-Rom? Why do video game-based movies suck so badly? Which horror game's maker's parent company was a Christian broadcaster? Even if you're not a gamer, like me, there's names in this book that will jump out at you - Myst, Phantasmagoria (which did scare the bejeezus out of me. That cat, man, that cat.), Crash Bandicoot, Warcraft, etc and that's what this book is about - how did these games, going back to Pong and the rise and fall of Atari, come about? Who were the personalities behind them? What happened to companies that rose and fell on the back of a single game. This book covers all of that and more, in an engaging, witty tone, that does unfortunately repeat the long-debunked myth about Atari, ET and the landfill and (allowing for the time it was written) waxes cautiously optimistic about the then-upcoming Warcraft movie (Oh, how I laughed). You don't have to be a gamer to enjoy this book, but if you like your history well-written, with a healthy dash of trivia thrown in, you'll enjoy this. I'd write more, but I'm going to see if my version of Myst still loads.

  25. 5 out of 5

    The Gay Optimist (Chris- He/Him)

    After reading a few reviews I had fairly low expectations. I bought this book on a whim at a discounted bookstore because it peaked my interest. Only took about a week to read through, and it's definitely chock-full of information. Some of it really hits the mark, and other times barely misses it. It's a great introduction to the history of video games the evolution of its industry. I'd be interested to see an updated version and see how much has changed since this book was published almost a de After reading a few reviews I had fairly low expectations. I bought this book on a whim at a discounted bookstore because it peaked my interest. Only took about a week to read through, and it's definitely chock-full of information. Some of it really hits the mark, and other times barely misses it. It's a great introduction to the history of video games the evolution of its industry. I'd be interested to see an updated version and see how much has changed since this book was published almost a decade ago. Overall, if you're looking for something really in-depth this book leaves out a lot of information that could have been included. However, I also understand for the sake of brevity and conciseness that that may have been intended by the author. This is a book I would recommend if you're bored, and can get past the first extremely discouraging and dense 2-3 chapters. The rest is smooth sailing from there~

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    I picked up this book on a whim, video game history really intrigues me, and it was really interesting. I don't think the author makes incredibly compelling arguments for some of the games he chose over other equally prominent ones from similar time period, but this aside it was a fascinating exploration of the early years to 2011 in video gaming. The book is rather dated now, so there is some significant trends in modern video gaming it misses, but even so I found the birth of Mario and Nintend I picked up this book on a whim, video game history really intrigues me, and it was really interesting. I don't think the author makes incredibly compelling arguments for some of the games he chose over other equally prominent ones from similar time period, but this aside it was a fascinating exploration of the early years to 2011 in video gaming. The book is rather dated now, so there is some significant trends in modern video gaming it misses, but even so I found the birth of Mario and Nintendo, Crash Bandicoot, MMOs, and heavy story based games incredibly enjoyable to read about. Each chapter is almost a mini biography on the creators, following their trials and tribulations, and even occasional successes. Well worth a read for any video game enthusiast.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    A couple of interesting stories, but as the chapters go on they start being more and more opinionated rather than sticking to the facts. The beginning was quite boring too. I listened to this book on Audible and it was a struggle, partly due to annoying voice of the narrator. I also read the book right after Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made which was an amazing piece of writing and reporting. Interesting, relevant, sticking to the facts, A couple of interesting stories, but as the chapters go on they start being more and more opinionated rather than sticking to the facts. The beginning was quite boring too. I listened to this book on Audible and it was a struggle, partly due to annoying voice of the narrator. I also read the book right after Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made which was an amazing piece of writing and reporting. Interesting, relevant, sticking to the facts, and not throwing unnecessary epithets around about who's brilliant and who's not.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    I used to think I knew a lot about video games until I started reading books about video games. Then I realized I know nothing about video games. I liked reading all the profiles of game developers in this book. If I had to list my favorite profiles I would say Trip Hopkins founder of electronic arts because I like playing electronic arts sports video games, and Sam and Dan Houser the founders of Rockstar. I have never played a Rockstar game though. I should start. When I write a review I worry I used to think I knew a lot about video games until I started reading books about video games. Then I realized I know nothing about video games. I liked reading all the profiles of game developers in this book. If I had to list my favorite profiles I would say Trip Hopkins founder of electronic arts because I like playing electronic arts sports video games, and Sam and Dan Houser the founders of Rockstar. I have never played a Rockstar game though. I should start. When I write a review I worry that I will get things wrong. And people will say is he writing about the same book I read. I don't think anyone will read my book reviews. Its fun trying to write book reviews. Trying to think about what to write and what I think about a book I have read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    Ever since the 1940s, when a scientist hacked an oscilloscope to mimic the patterns of a bouncing ball, programmers have been using technology to create interactive simulations, leading in an unbroken line from Pong to MMOs. Along the way, our collective fascination with videogames has ebbed and flowed, buffeted by the tides of capitalism, technological breakthroughs and the occasional, random appearance of a creative genius. Harold Goldberg, who has worn various insiders' hats during the last f Ever since the 1940s, when a scientist hacked an oscilloscope to mimic the patterns of a bouncing ball, programmers have been using technology to create interactive simulations, leading in an unbroken line from Pong to MMOs. Along the way, our collective fascination with videogames has ebbed and flowed, buffeted by the tides of capitalism, technological breakthroughs and the occasional, random appearance of a creative genius. Harold Goldberg, who has worn various insiders' hats during the last fifteen years of the industry, focuses on giving insightful biographies of the individual minds behind classics such as Tetris, King’s Quest, The Sims, World of Warcraft, GTA, and BioShock, forming a surprisingly comprehensive portrait of the history of videogames up until 2011 (when this book was published). While it's surprising how much gaming has evolved even since then (he only begins to touch on the tablet/phone “casual” game market that dominates today), Goldberg uses a timeless tactic: he keeps his eye squarely on the people who, to a man (with a few exceptional -- and sadly, exceptionally rare -- women), were fascinated with computers as kids and grew up to shape the forces behind what is now one of the largest entertainment industries in the world. It's a writing method that, for those of us who grew up playing these games, puts a new, refreshingly human spin on the hours we spent exploring and mastering them.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rene Signoret

    Is interesting and relaxing. There are some inaccuracies though.

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