a his­tory of Video games in 64 ob­jects

Games TM - - THE VAULT -


Few things can con­nect you more quickly to a place or time in his­tory than an ob­ject. There’s some­thing about a phys­i­cal arte­fact of the sub­ject that makes it seem more real, more re­lat­able and so it is with this ex­cel­lent col­lec­tion from the World Video Game Hall Of fame at The Strong na­tional Mu­seum Of Play in rochester, new York. along with things you might ex­pect like copies of Su­per Mario Bros or Tetris and even a dugup copy of ET, this book chron­i­cles some of the connected his­tor­i­cal items that fed into or were tan­gen­tial to the growth of elec­tronic play.

So, along with ar­cade cab­i­nets and some fan­tas­tic de­sign doc­u­ments (such as Jor­dan Mech­ner’s orig­i­nal photo sources for ro­to­scop­ing the an­i­ma­tion in Prince Of Per­sion), you will find elec­tronic games like Si­mon, Mat­tel foot­ball, and the Speak & Spell. On top of this, the book in­cludes looks at nin­tendo’s Love Tester from 1969, an early foray into elec­tronic en­ter­tain­ment, of a sort, many years be­fore the com­pany moved into videogames.

It’s th­ese connected items that of­fer some of the most in­ter­est­ing his­tor­i­cal in­sight into the growth of gam­ing both as an en­ter­tain­ment form and as a cul­tural phe­nom­e­non. a good ex­am­ple of the later is ralph Baer’s Light anti-tank Weapon, built from a de­com­mis­sioned rocket launcher for a vir­tual tank shoot­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It was both an early ex­am­ple of light gun tech­nol­ogy from 1979 and of early mil­i­tary in­ter­est in the ap­pli­ca­tion of elec­tronic sim­u­la­tion for train­ing pur­poses.

It’s safe to say that we found this to be a fas­ci­nat­ing book that breaks well out from the con­fines of tra­di­tional ret­ro­spec­tives, and is all the stronger and more 8/10 in­ter­est­ing for it. Ver­dict www.harpercollins.co.uk

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