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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 (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,038 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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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 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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3 of 3 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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Replay: The History of Video Games
By Tristan Donovan
(Kindle Edition)

Donovan’s book is a historical tale of video games’ early and adolescent development. The real start of game creation, the consoles that never got released, the rather sickening game plots that originated in Japan, the impact of societal norms on game content.... There’s lots of interesting plot-lines in the build-up to the modern video game. It’s clear that a purely pragmatic path that echoes hardware advance is only part of the story.

If you simply want a run-down of classic games, then the reader might prefer to check out Tony Mott’s excellent resource: 1001: Video Games You Must Play Before You Die. However, this is a great supplement to Mott’s title. It delves more into the actual events that led to the current industry.

Donovan’s text notes the truism that some games ,that are now almost always commended as trailblazing exponents of originality, were not always seen so optimistically on first inspection by insiders (Elite, Populas, SimCity). Also, there are some wonderful ironies... It is maybe well-known that Sony jumped headlong into the industry in part due to Nintendo’s dubious ending of their PlayStation-related coalition. However, there’s more here than just that. For example, the societal push against explicit games promoted age ratings that, Donovan highlights, probably made making mature-content games more justifiable!

A great book, though perhaps not as easily browsed or colourful as the 1001 title. The real reason for my four stars is simple. The author appears to have got too carried away in later chapters to remember his Grammar Checker. For a published tome, the extra care would have been appreciated. This is perhaps a minor concern, but one a bit of proof-reading could have corrected. Nevertheless, this aside, his text is well-written and will give gamers a more nuanced appreciation of their genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. Bonser on 31 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
This book brought back some good memories. But the background and history to the games and games companies is a real eye opener. I seriously couldn't put it down. If anyone remembers playing space invaders the first time round they will enjoy this book. Well written and in a fairly comprehsive time line it tells the video game story from the early days up to presentish day. A damn good read at a good price.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Video games are now a huge business. The average family spends more on them than on cinema tickets and recorded music combined. Games are now a major influence in other media such as television and film. They offer some of the most popular apps on Smartphones and social networking sites. If you want an outstandingly clear account of how this huge business emerged then Replay is the right book for you.

The story is told chronologically with detailed research and good humour. It offers a deep insight into the people and the companies who build this extraordinary business. From the early days of Atari to the latest MMORPG the book describes the characters who made it all happen.

From the student hobbyists who found ways to programme early computers to create shooting games on screen to others who wrote hundred of lines of code to allow text-based dungeons and dragons type adventures all of the raw material of the modern Call of Duty and World of Warcraft .

The true hard core gamer might seek more detail on some of their favourite titles but for the general reader this is an ideal book to explain an amazing phenomenon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Sowden on 21 May 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I was searching for a book about the history of video games and after reading a few samples I plumped for this one. I haven't been disappointed. I particularly like the way it covers all the international video games market and not just the US and UK markets. I would love an interactive version of this book as I'm constantly switching between my Kindle app and the YouTube app to see videos of the games the author is talking about!
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