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Video/Computer Game History Books

Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:52 pm
by Tabe
Just finished reading the newly-released Console Wars by Blake Harris and that got me to thinking of what other books are out there for those interested in the history of the video/computer game industry? I've read a few:

The Ultimate History of Video Games by Steven Kent - the best I've read so far. A must-read.
Replay: The History of Video Games by Tristan Donovan - lots of focus on the UK. Great book, terrible cover.
Masters of Doom - the development of the Doom series
Jacked - the history of the GTA series
Hackers by Steven Levy - mostly covers non-gaming topics but has lots of great info on Broderbund, Sierra, and Origin
Opening the Xbox - the story of the first Xbox console

I have not yet read the books on the 360 or PS1. Nor have I picked up the Ocean book (very expensive in the US).

So what else is out there?

For those who care, Console Wars is generally excellent but with a very heavy, very obvious, pro-Tom Kalinske bias. The author ignores or alters a couple facts to make Kalinske look better which hurts the credibility of the book (obviously). The author also chooses to create fake dialogue and scenery and that really hurts the book, too. It's so fakey and just...bad. Ugh. Highly recommend the book anyway.

Re: Video/Computer Game History Books

Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:06 pm
by HisNHer_LP
I don't know if it's what your looking for or not, but I'm currently reading, and playing through "1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die"

Gives a little info on each game, not too much but it's decent for looking at a few games and thinking "censored I remember that game" or finding games you never got a chance to play but always wanted to, I think it's a decent book to have around.

Again, not sure if it's what your looking for or not

Re: Video/Computer Game History Books

Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:43 pm
by Shinobi
I'm currently reading High Score massive book goes from 1871 first Pinball tables then Space War, Pong and the Magnovox Oddessy up to the Snes and Megadrive and covers all Software houses, Arcades, Computers and Consoles

I also own

Hardcore Gaming 101 Presents: Sega Arcade Classics Vol. 1 which is fab all Sega's arcade stuff
Pinball book forget the name
The Ultimate History of Video Games also my fav book

Also
Replay I found this boring
Trigger Happy pretentious and like reading a dictionary its done by somebody from Edge a UK Magazine
1001 games you must play before you die
The Perfect Game: Confessions of a Pac-Man Junkie
Supercade very good more a coffee table book
Arcade Mania
Game Over

Re: Video/Computer Game History Books

Posted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:59 pm
by dste
I really like Arcade Mania.

The book covers some interesting areas and is also nicely laid out with not too lengthy chapters which include interviews.

Re: Video/Computer Game History Books

Posted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:20 pm
by Morkin
I've got the following books on my shelves (a few you've mentioned) which I've browsed through but not properly read, so can't give an opinion on whether they're any good or not. Plus they might not be exactly what you're after but I thought I'd list them anyway so you could maybe check them out on Amazon etc. :)

Family Computer 1983 - 1994 Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography
Core Memory - A Visual survey of Vintage Computers
Playing to win - Nintendo & the Videogame Industry's Greatest Comeback by Daniel Sloan
Super Mario - How Nintendo Conquered America by Jeff Ryan
Game Boys by Michael Kane
Grand Thieves & Tomb Raider - How British Videogames Conquered the World by Magnus Anderson & Rebecca Levene
The History of Nintendo Volume 1 & 2 published by Pix n Love
Game On edited by Lucien King
All Your Base Belong to Us - How 50 years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture by Harold Goldberg
Vintage Games - An Insider look at the history of GTA, Super Mario & the most influential games of all time by Bill Loguidice & Matt Barton
Arcade Fever by John Sellers
Rogue Leaders - The Story of Lucasarts by Rob Smith
The First Quarter by Steven L Kent
Masters of Doom
High Score!
The Videogame Explosion - A History from Pong to Playstation & Beyond edited by Mark J P Wolf
The History of Sonic the Hedgehog by Pix n Love
Supercade
An Illustrated History of 151 Videogames by Simon Parkin
Game Machines by Winnie Forster
Game Plan - Great Designs that changed the face of computer gaming by Ste Curran

I've also got all the Gamespite books which I really enjoy dipping in & out of.

Re: Video/Computer Game History Books

Posted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:23 pm
by speedlolita
dste wrote:I really like Arcade Mania.

The book covers some interesting areas and is also nicely laid out with not too lengthy chapters which include interviews.
Seconding Arcade Mania.

Really interesting read if you're into Japanese arcades and the like. :mrgreen:

Re: Video/Computer Game History Books

Posted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:44 pm
by GarryG
I liked Dungeons and desktops, by Matt Barton. But it's probably not for everybody as it focuses on RPG games!

Re: Video/Computer Game History Books

Posted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:55 am
by The Laird
Atari Inc. Business Is Fun needs a mention!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=p ... B10RGzcpS0

Re: Video/Computer Game History Books

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:17 am
by quantum
I also enjoyed:
- The Story of Commodore: A Company on the Edge (technical, but brilliant book)
- The Future Was Here: The Commodore Amiga (also technical in parts)
- Sensible Software 1986-1999 (insight into all their great games)
- The Making of Prince of Persia (preferred to The Making of Karateka)

Re: Video/Computer Game History Books

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:01 am
by Voodoo
A second vote for the Atari book - fantastic read. Impatiently waiting for volumes two and three though!!

Re: Video/Computer Game History Books

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:41 am
by noobish hat
Game Over by David Sheff is one of my favourites. It gives a brilliantly detailed overview of the industry with a focus on Nintendo. The only shame is that it doesn't stretch to cover the whole of the SNES or the N64, and Sheff never wrote a follow up.

Possibly overtaking Game Over as my favourite gaming history book is It's Behind You by Bob Pape, which covers his work on the Spectrum port of R Type, but actually provides a wealth of anecdotes on the 80s scene in general. It really gives you a feel for the unregulated grunge of the period and all the back stabbing and grubby deals that went on behind closed doors, all at the expense of the poor exploited coders. The best thing is that Bob Pape kindly provides this book completely free of charge. You can go download it now for nothing. I've read it twice already!

Re: Video/Computer Game History Books

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:53 am
by quantum
noobish hat wrote:Possibly overtaking Game Over as my favourite gaming history book is It's Behind You by Bob Pape, which covers his work on the Spectrum port of R Type...
Free download from his website: http://www.bizzley.com/

I haven't got around to reading it yet, but it looks interesting.

Re: Video/Computer Game History Books

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:10 pm
by Mentski
http://readonlymemory.vg

The Sensible Software book they did has already been mentioned, but late last year they Kickstarted Sega Megadrive/Genesis: Collected Works, and it's due for release in the coming months.

If you liked Console Wars, this'll be another to keep your eyes on.

Re: Video/Computer Game History Books

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:03 pm
by PaulEMoz
quantum wrote:
noobish hat wrote:Possibly overtaking Game Over as my favourite gaming history book is It's Behind You by Bob Pape, which covers his work on the Spectrum port of R Type...
Free download from his website: http://www.bizzley.com/

I haven't got around to reading it yet, but it looks interesting.
It is a very good read, indeed.

Re: Video/Computer Game History Books

Posted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:05 am
by kiwimike
Tabe wrote:Just finished reading the newly-released Console Wars by Blake Harris and that got me to thinking of what other books are out there for those interested in the history of the video/computer game industry? I've read a few:

The Ultimate History of Video Games by Steven Kent - the best I've read so far. A must-read.
Replay: The History of Video Games by Tristan Donovan - lots of focus on the UK. Great book, terrible cover.
Masters of Doom - the development of the Doom series
Jacked - the history of the GTA series
Hackers by Steven Levy - mostly covers non-gaming topics but has lots of great info on Broderbund, Sierra, and Origin
Opening the Xbox - the story of the first Xbox console

I have not yet read the books on the 360 or PS1. Nor have I picked up the Ocean book (very expensive in the US).

So what else is out there?

For those who care, Console Wars is generally excellent but with a very heavy, very obvious, pro-Tom Kalinske bias. The author ignores or alters a couple facts to make Kalinske look better which hurts the credibility of the book (obviously). The author also chooses to create fake dialogue and scenery and that really hurts the book, too. It's so fakey and just...bad. Ugh. Highly recommend the book anyway.
Yes, I do love Replay, but WTF were they thinking with that cover?! One of the worst in gaming books I think. But yes, this, and Ultimate history are my favourite two game history books- Ultimate just being a superb read. It's just so well written, it's a joy to read in a genre that can be quite dry. Masters of Doom and Game over being others written in a brilliant story telling way over a history textbook style.

As well as the quality titles a few people have already mentioned, I also enjoy Phoenix and hope that gets its update soon...Confessions of a Game Doctor- A book on argueably the original games journo and the founding of the US Electronic games mag...And I have just bought (From Amazon) 151 Games History. It looks like nothing we haven't seen before anyway, but still a nice coffee table book with nice layout.