Author: Jonathan Hennessey, Jack McGowan
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication Date: 3. October 2017
Rating: 3./5. Stars
Summary: A complete, illustrated history of video games–highlighting the machines, games, and people who have made gaming a worldwide, billion dollar industry/artform–told in a graphic novel format. This book provides readers with everything they need to know about video games–from their early beginnings during World War II to the emergence of arcade games in the 1970s to the rise of Nintendo to today’s app-based games like Angry Birds and Pokemon Go. Hennessey and McGowan also analyze the evolution of gaming as an artform and its impact on society. Each chapter features spotlights on major players in the development of games and gaming that contains everything that gamers and non-gamers alike need to understand and appreciate this incredible phenomenon.
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Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
As someone who grew up with video games available easily and a Gameboy pretty much glued to my hand (until Nintendo came along), I was intrigued when I saw this book. I know that video games haven’t existed for that long and so knowing more about the history behind it seemed interesting. So for me, one of the most interesting parts was certainly the fact how hard it was to get access video games back in the day.
One thing you need to know when you go into this book is that there’s a lot of focus on the technical innovations that made video games possible in the first place. While that is certainly important, it wasn’t really what I signed up for when I picked up the book. I also feel that I learned more about the creators behind video games than I actually did about video games, which was a bit of a disappointment. Personally, I feel like there could have been a bit more focus on video games themselves than just on their development and developers.
The illustrations were really good though and making a comic book about video games was an interesting approach and one that worked very well. There were a lot of easter eggs pointing to popular video games, which was nice to see. This definitely enhanced my enjoyment of the story and so I still had a really good time reading this book.
All in all, I enjoyed this book and I learned quite a bit and I enjoyed reading it despite the things that bothered me a bit. It definitely gives a broad overview of video games starting with those that had no sound and barely any graphics and developing into the more advanced ones we have today. At the end, there’s even a glance into the future and into what video games might develop. If you enjoy the technical side of video games, you will probably like this book even more.