on 21 May 2009
I stumbled across this while trawling the game books on this site and decided to buy it. I'll admit that being neither a big fan of Super Mario and GTA I didn't expect too much but boy was I wrong.
The authors have done an excellent job of selecting the games in the book. The expected ones are all accounted for, Pac man, Space Invaders, Super Mario Bros, Tetris and Ultima. But amongst them are games like Alone in The Dark, Dune II, Castle Wolfenstein and Kings Quest not to forget one of the most influential games of all time, Doom. In total there are 25 games in the book plus a host of online bonus chapters like Elite (BBC Micro). It also covers many different genres so there is something for everybody.
All the chapters come with full colour screen shots of the game being discussed which is brilliant.
It describes the various game play elements and contains quotes from the game creators themselves on how they solved a particular problem or how they managed to achieve their vision. It also mentions which games it went on to influence and for those who perhaps aren't as well versed in the history of games, it's interesting to trace a family tree from the original right down to the current big budget production. There are also links to some other excellent books which just goes to show how well researched it is.
I would have liked more discussion on how certain later games borrowed from the original as opposed to just mentioning a list a games with similar game play mechanics. For example, a bit more coverage of Thief - The Dark Project (from the Castle Wolfenstein chapter)would have been nice. However, Resident Evil is discussed in more detail in the Alone in the Dark chapter. But this is only a small personal complaint and certainly not anything that would prevent the enjoyment of the book. If anything, it might encourage readers to investigate these titles further.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, so much so that I have gone back and played through Dune II again (Diablo is begging for attention as well) and I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially younger gamers (not kids mind you) who would like to know more about the history of video games.
on 3 March 2009
Just received my copy, features many great stories about many of the classic games from Pacman to Space Invaders to Mario.
As the books american theres no mention of any Sinclair Spectrum/Amstrad type of games from the 80's but the games it does feature are an excellent choice.
A lot of full colour images to remind you of yesteryear for Doom/Street Fighter etc
A very good book
on 25 May 2009
I thoroughly recommend this book. It is great for a trip down memory lane. Each chapter takes a classic game as it's starting point and then discusses it in historical context including the games that influenced it's creation and later games that used it for inspiration. There are a lot of full colour photos that really add to the experience.
25 classic games are covered in the book (Zork, Diablo, Sim City, Ultima, Doom, Space Invaders, Pac Man etc etc) and the authors also run a brilliant vintage game website where they have posted links to bonus chapters (Defender, Pong, Elite, Tony Hawks).
Check out the book and their website you won't regret it.
on 31 May 2009
Let me cut to the chase: Everyone who's even remotely interested in interactive entertainment, everyone who currently enjoys videogames or has fond memories of playing one of the classics will thoroughly enjoy this book. I certainly did.
From Pacman and Space Invaders to Super Mario Brothers, Zelda, Tetris, SimCity, Myst, GTA, The Sims (just to name a few), the history of videogames unfolds with every bit of information being thoroughly researched and accurately depicted, with a lot of extra background exposition all done in a great writing style and beautiful page layout; it really was such a pleasure I couldn't put it down, I ended up reading it cover to cover!
on 8 November 2010
This type of book is always controversial since it focuses on a few titles that the authors think are seminal. That said, it's an entertaining read with interesting anecdotes and quality pictures. And I personally happen to agree on most of the choices and analyses.
I've read many book and articles about the history of video games but there are still nuggets of gold to be found in this book.
One minor quibble: the constant referencing to other chapters in the book is quite annoying, especially when the full name of the chapter is used every time. It's a book you're likely to read from cover to cover and it contains only 25 chapters so there's no need.
on 12 September 2011
The authors make a courageous effort listing what they believe are the most influential games of all time and many are bound to disagree with some of their findings, including myself. Nevertheless, it's a pretty good read and the very good print quality turns what would otherwise be a 3-star book into a 4-star one.
on 6 November 2009
Well researched, thoughtful. Each chapter focuses on a particular game, and delves into the games that influenced it, and the way it changed the future of gaming.
A great read for anyone interested in video and computer gaming.