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Replay: The History of Video Games Paperback – 20 Apr 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 516 pages
  • Publisher: Yellow Ant Media Ltd (20 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956507204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956507204
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in London in 1975, Tristan Donovan is a non-fiction author and freelance journalist/editor who planned to become an ecologist before getting distracted by journalism.

His first two books are Replay: The History of Video Games and Fizz: How Soda Shook Up the World. That playing too many video games while drinking too much soda featured heavily in his childhood is just coincidence.

His latest book, Feral Cities: Adventures with Animals in the Urban Jungle, finally put that ecology degree to use.

He lives in East Sussex, in the UK, with two ham-obsessed dachshunds.

Product Description

Review

"While other history books have covered the topic, Tristan Donovan's 500-page tome is the most wide-ranging history I've read."
--Wired

"An amazing work. Comprehensive and wide ranging - yet engrossing and splendidly entertaining. If you read only one history of video games - Replay is it." --Eugene Jarvis, creator of Defender, Narc and Smash TV

"Tons of interviews with creators, a window into early US and Europe PC industry stuff I'd never read about before at all... very enjoyable and informative reading." --Christian Nutt, Gamasutra

"Tristan Donovan's account is the most comprehensive thus far...He details with great insight the people and events that led to what is the most powerful creative field today."
--Richard Garriott (aka Lord British), creator of the Ultima series

I can't think of a reason that you shouldn't go and order a copy of it immediately...If you enjoy reading about games, there's absolutely no way that you're not going to find spending quality time with this rewarding.
-- Kieron Gillen, Rock Paper Shotgun

Whether you grew up with your eyes glued to Adventure or Super Mario Bros, with your hand around a joystick or inside a Nintendo Power Glove, this is one history lesson worth its weight in quarters.
-- Rob Lott, Bookgasm

Striking a near-perfect balance between art and commerce, Replay is the most comprehensive history of videogames so far.
-- Edge

Essential reading
-- GamesTM

About the Author

Tristan Donovan has written about video games for The Guardian, Edge, Game Developer, Stuff, The Gadget Show, GamesTM and many other publications. He lives in East Sussex, UK.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Wayne_Clapham on 23 May 2010
Format: Paperback
Video Game entertainment at its very best!

I have certain nostalgia for the days of monochrome video games. Endless hours locked in a room watching a white square bounce across a screen controlled with two `paddles', later Sunday mornings in the pub with 10p to play the space invaders. I therefore approached this book with a degree of expectation; and was not disappointed.

Tristan Donovan's book explores the growth and development in games from their scientific origins through the multi million marketing budgets of today's epics. The book also does so much more, investigating the social and economic drivers of the market as well as the technological enablers. It also happens to be funny, entertaining and very well written.

Replay will be of as much interest and entertainment to a student of sociology or cultural anthropologist as it will to us 40-something `Geeks' with a longing for the golden times of video gaming.

A great book - highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I teach the video games industry to yr13 students and ordered this and a few other academic texts to use and I have to say that not only was this the best and most useful for teaching, but also an extremely interesting and entertaining book in its own right. If you have any interest in the subject matter this is the book for you, from the birth of the video game to the modern consoles and massive global appeal. Each chapter has its own theme yet create a chronological narrative history. The interviews come out with insight you wouldn't otherwise get. I particularly liked the chapters on European, Russian and Korean games industries; as these are often neglected in favour the bigger Japanese and American developers. The chapter on the UK's industry of the 80s was also very funny and informative.
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Format: Paperback
Entertaining and informative, and covering nearly every continent, which gives a nice view of the differences between cultures. Clearly a lot of work has gone into it - in a 500-page book, what you might consider as the 'meat' ends at page 369, with the rest being extensive lists of games and hardware platforms, and lots of references.

It is, however, a shame that small inaccuracies - such as a game character being given the wrong name, or a game being called by a similar-but-wrong name on the same page that it is named correctly - cast doubts in my mind as to the bigger subjects. But, I suppose, if you're covering this much material, you are going to make some errors.

Well worth reading if you're interested in games, and missed the early history of the medium, as I did.
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By Iancee on 14 July 2011
Format: Paperback
As a lecturer in Computer Games Development at degree level I would have to say this book has to be essential reading for any student planning a career in the Games Industry. It lays out clearly and concisely the whole gamut of video games from it's very beginnings to the present day.
I had a ZX81, Sinclair Spectrum, C64 and then moved up to a Mac Classic (Prince of Persia rocks!!). So this history is doubly interesting as I was there for the first Pong game, Space Invaders et al. And now I find myself actually fortunate to be teaching about Games Development. In conclusion an excellent buy and I also recommend Richard Rouse' Game Design Theory and Practice. Great Stuff!!
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By Sherlock Holmes on 22 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a really good book for lovers of video games, who have an interest in how it all came about. I haven't quite finished it yet, but have read enough to know it is really interesting. I bought it to research Mel Croucher and his software industry, which includes Deus Ex Machina, (of which he has a new release waiting in the wings complete with his own book, etc), and was not disappointed. This book covers so much video games history, it really is a great buy.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By themanfromdelmonte on 22 Sept. 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
For anyone considering this book, or it's closest competitor (that I've seen) "The ultimate history of video games.", my advice would be to buy this one. This book gives a much broader story of the development of video games, with much more in depth details of European developments (British, French and the Demo scene are well covered). As well as some things I had not previously encountered (having been a gamer for 30 odd years and following retro games for about a decade), like Hasbro's aborted Nemo VHS based console.

There are a few error I've spotted (The protagonist in Half Life is GORDON Freeman, not George). But a few quibbles aside an enjoyable and enlightening book.
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By fearofgordon on 2 Jun. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Deeply impressive examination of video game creation, culture and commerce. Scholarly in approach and scope its global perspective is particularly satisfying. Loads of great anecdotes too e.g. the end of Ultima Online's beta - a real paradigm shift. The shout to Jon Savage in the acknowledgements makes complete sense and Donovan's writing deserves to be considered in the same breath. Highly recommended.
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I haven't read a book for ages, but I couldn't put this down. I remember the Pong Games, but the start of video games for me was on the ZX Spectrum and arcade machines in the local chippy.

This book covers most of the games that I grew up, with the history behind them and the lead up the Video Games scene in 201Xs.

A great read, and I would hearty recommend it.
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