Replay: The History of Video Games Paperback – 20 Apr 2010
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"While other history books have covered the topic, Tristan Donovan's 500-page tome is the most wide-ranging history I've read."
"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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
I did enjoy the book, with reservations, and I'll explain why.
First of all, I'll be clear - outside of articles in Edge or Retro Gamer, I've never read any kind of canonical history of the medium. Therefore I had no preconceptions and no frame of reference as to how this book may compare to others available (and there are a few).
'Replay' moves chronologically through the entire known development of video games, beginning in experimental labs at the end of the 1940s and ending with the current generation of hi-def consoles. In the early going the book is revealing, and describes early forms of computer games whose evolution was invariably cut short due to the cost of the equipment and the fact that, put simply, no-one seems to have thought they were a viable business proposition.
The chapters devoted to Atari, and particularly Nintendo in the 1980s, are very interesting - I could have read even more on Nintendo's corporate and creative culture, which seems to have always configured existing technologies in novel and cost-efficient ways, instead of pursuing vanguard technology, which, as the PS3 proved for Sony, usually proves to be a black hole into which money disappears.
Chapters on British game design in the 1980s are also well told - as is the brief history of the C64 and ZX81. But the entrance of Sony into the market, and eventually of Microsoft, is oddly given short shrift.Read more ›
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.
I don't really play them and know nothing about them. I was, therefore, surprised that, when I was asked to read this, I loved it.
Much in the way that Forrest Gump is just not about a single character but the way the world changed around him, Replay looks at the way technology, politics, culture and even feminism have changed and affected video games and those who play them. It also doesn't take its subject matter too seriously an is a seriously good giggle in some places.
The history of games spans the globe, and so does the book and reference material. It was fabulous to read an author who had obviously gone to a lot of trouble and expense to get fresh interviews with those who influenced game development rather than just use a few soundbites gathered from old material.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Replay: The History of Video Games
By Tristan Donovan
Donovan’s book is a historical tale of video games’ early and adolescent development. Read more
I bought this for my husband for Christmas and he was thrilled! He said the reading is heavy, but it is very full of historical info. Perfect for any die hard gamer.Published on 16 Jan. 2014 by kat hall ali
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... Read morePublished on 9 July 2013 by M. Gillibrand
Deeply impressive examination of video game creation, culture and commerce. Scholarly in approach and scope its global perspective is particularly satisfying. Read morePublished on 2 Jun. 2012 by fearofgordon
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. Read morePublished on 21 May 2012 by M. Sowden
Entertaining and informative, and covering nearly every continent, which gives a nice view of the differences between cultures. Read morePublished on 7 Sept. 2011 by Samuel Atkins
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. Read morePublished on 31 Aug. 2011 by Mr. S. Bonser
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