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

4.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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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 (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 168,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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 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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I actually enjoyed reading this from a business perspective, as so many of the early games were created and sold by small working partnerships - it's good to see how you can have an idea and then make some decent money out of making it happen, whether or not that was your original intention.
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Format: Paperback
As a life-long player of video games, I was happy to discover Tristan Donovan's book 'Replay', which promised a solid and entertaining general history of the people and technology behind the rather dry business of videogame production.

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).

Content:

'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.
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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: Paperback
Let me make clear that I am NOT into video games.

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.
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