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The Art of Video Games: From Pac-Man to Mass Effect Hardcover – 20 Apr 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Welcome Enterprises, Inc (20 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159962110X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599621104
  • Product Dimensions: 26.4 x 2.3 x 26.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 318,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Parka HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 6 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Length: 1:28 Mins
This is the companion book for the exhibition of the same name, held at the American Art Museum from 16 March 2012 to 30 September 2012.

The book title is quite broad, and maybe ambiguous. This isn't an art book with pretty pictures or concept art of video games. Rather, it's about the evolution of video game graphics, the artistry of making video games. All explained in a brief and simplified manner.

Since this is an exhibition companion book, it's not surprising it's not that technical. I get the idea that the target audience are probably exhibition goers first and then gamers.

I enjoy the sense of nostalgia from looking at the old games I used to play. As with any list that ranks games, there's always the surprise element when you see games you've never seen before. From the text, you get some brief insight into how the games came to be.

I've several issues with the book though. The first is the selection criteria. Author Melissinos selected an initial group of 240 games based on criteria that included visual effects, use of technologies and how world events and popular culture influenced the games. Then, voters online were invited to to choose the most popular games. Finally, 80 games are picked.

In general, I don't expect the gamers to know anything about how the graphics were created, nor the technologies used in the game making. The public voting element goes against the selection criteria. At times, it's difficult to tell whether the games are included because they are innovative or just fan favourites. There are peculiar inclusions as well as omissions. A search online for bestseller lists will yield results for fan favourites instantly.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'd recommend this book to those who like me took an interest into the Art of Video Games website, exhibition, voting process etc. It should also be of interest to hardcore gamers familiar with the games in question (websearch "The Art of Video Games" for the list), industry experts and anyone else who wants to know why Mario has a moustache.

The book contains descriptions & images of the 80 games chosen for the exhibition, divided into categories dependant on the "gaming era" in which they were released. There are also interviews with game designers/creators. With not having the means to travel across the Atlantic this year for the exhibition at the Smithsonian I purchased the book as an alternative - but the book does not contain much insight into the exhibition itself (no pictures, little reference overall to it, no mention of the future US exhibition dates etc) which is a little shame.

The descriptions of each game provide an insight into their inception, design & history (mainly focusing on the positive attributes) without delving too deep. The accompanying images are screenshots taken from the games, however, at least for the RPG's I've played, appear to be images taken from early in the game, and of the title screen, and can't help feel that some artistic imagery from later in the games will have been missed. I believe the Smithsonian exhibition was to include fan art however the book makes no reference to this. I also would have liked to see conceptual imagery, early character/enemy/level design etc.

The interviews with the designers read like they've been handed a piece of paper and asked to write a 500 word essay on "how/why they are in the games industry and why are they art?".
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By Jonas Rokke on 28 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Allmost full score, but there is 1 wrong fact in the bok and that is the year pacman was released, in the bok it days 1981, but it was actually 1980.
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Was slightly surprised at the lack of inclusion of the 'Wipeout' games though
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