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Gamers’ Library: Supercade

Sometimes it’s crazy to think about how much time has passed in this gaming hobby. I can’t believe that it’s been almost 20 years since Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age 1971-1984 was released in 2001. It seems like just yesterday that I brought it home and had it sitting prominently on my coffee table, to be frequently perused for at least the next year or two. How much stuff has happened in the world of videogames since then — heck, how much has happened in the world in general since then?!

Supercade, by Van Burnham, is itself an examination of the first significant span of video game history, from its inception as an experiment, to a new entertainment medium, to its golden age, and ultimately to the era of the industry crash in the US. A highly-respected tome amongst game fans and historians, Supercade runs well over 400 pages and is absolutely packed full of information amidst its vividly colorful layouts.

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And now, in a new chapter in the history of video game…uh…history, Supercade is getting a sequel. Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age 1985-2001 has just been successfully funded via Kickstarter (full disclosure: I’m a backer), and promises to pick up right where the original volume left off. So I thought now would be a perfect time to revisit the first book, to suggest to us what we can expect from its successor. Continue reading “Gamers’ Library: Supercade”

Gamers’ Library: Family Computer 1983-1994

Even after all these years of being a gamer, this journey of research and learning about them still fascinates me as it leads me through various paths and I find myself arriving at information, games, people, or items I’ve never encountered before. Such is the case with the book I’m looking at today: a Japanese tome entitled simply Family Computer 1983-1994. Continue reading “Gamers’ Library: Family Computer 1983-1994”

Gamers’ Library: The Art of Metal Gear Solid I-IV

I’m a huge Metal Gear nerd. I’ve played almost every game in the series (except for MGS Touch, MG Survive, and the one time I got a chance to play Metal Gear Arcade, I couldn’t figure out what the hell I was doing), have beaten all the main series games (from Metal Gear on MSX all the way through Phantom Pain) and a couple of the spinoffs, and have a small collection of Metal Gear swag. I even have a Fox Hound logo tattoo! (The one from Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, the same one that Meryl Silverburgh has in MGS1.) So it should come as a shock to absolutely nobody that when Dark Horse released this double-volume boxed behemoth called The Art of Metal Gear Solid I-IV, I had to have it. Continue reading “Gamers’ Library: The Art of Metal Gear Solid I-IV”

Gamers’ Library: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers, Vol. 1 by John Szczepaniak

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I’ve read a lot of books on video game history, and I’ve heard a lot of the same stories told several times. Therefore, rare is the story I haven’t heard yet; and here we have a book — the first of three massive volumes, no less — that is absolutely packed cover-to-cover with things I didn’t know, things I didn’t know that I didn’t know, and things I didn’t even know that I wanted to know, but it turns out I’m really glad I know them now.

Continue reading “Gamers’ Library: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers, Vol. 1 by John Szczepaniak”

Gamers’ Library: Confessions of the Game Doctor by Bill Kunkel

Bill Kunkel is a name you should probably know. He, along with friends and business partners Arnie Katz and Joyce Worley, were extraordinarily important figures in video game history: They created the very first video game magazine, Electronic Games, in 1981, which covered arcade, home console, and computer video games throughout their Golden Age until the Crash in 1984.

Not only that, but within those pages, Kunkel himself coined gaming terms we all take for granted today, such as “Easter egg” and “screenshot.” Yeah, that was Bill Kunkel. Continue reading “Gamers’ Library: Confessions of the Game Doctor by Bill Kunkel”

Gamers’ Library: Atari Flashback – The Essential Companion from Prima

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I stumbled across this book, Atari Flashback: The Essential Companion the other day and was surprised at two things: 1) That it existed, and 2) that I hadn’t seen anybody say anything about it anywhere. So of course, that meant I had to pick up a copy and check it out. For the blog! For you! For retro gaming! Let’s have a look, shall we? (Yes, let’s.)

Ostensibly a guidebook to the Atari Flashback consoles, this book from Prima is actually a nice guide to the Atari 2600 in general. Continue reading “Gamers’ Library: Atari Flashback – The Essential Companion from Prima”

Gamers’ Library: Credit 00 – I Love Game Graphics

 

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Here’s a really unusual book in my videogame library: it’s called Credit 00: I Love Game Graphics, edited by Tsuyoshi Kusano and published by All Rights Reserved in 2003. It’s artsy and weird.

Continue reading “Gamers’ Library: Credit 00 – I Love Game Graphics”

Gamers’ Library: Atari, Inc. – Business is Fun

Atari, Inc.: Business is Fun, written by Marty Goldberg and Curt Vendel, was published in 2012. I purchased an autographed copy at Midwest Gaming Classic years ago. At 796 pages, it was a bit intimidating to start, so it sat on my shelf until I recently got the bug to tackle it. I’m glad I finally did! Continue reading “Gamers’ Library: Atari, Inc. – Business is Fun”

Retro at E3 2021 (and some other recent announcements)

This past week was E3! While this year was much different than past events, there’s still lots of news to share, including exciting retro gaming-related surprises. Let’s jump in!

Continue reading “Retro at E3 2021 (and some other recent announcements)”

Ys-y Like Sunday Mornin’

The cooler autumn weather brings a different mood to every aspect of life, and to counteract the oncoming gloom of winter’s shorter days and my disappointment about having to actually put on pants to go outside, there are some good things about it, too. I get to bust out my trusty old leather jacket, myriad delicious Oktoberfest beers appear on store shelves (especially here in Wisconsin), and my dogs love running through the leaves and, eventually, the snow.

Along with all the bundling-up and hunkering-down comes a change in my gaming mood, too. Yes, ’tis the season of RPGs, when a nice, long quest to save some crystals or prevent the destruction of the world or some such nonsense is just what the doctor ordered to get us through the months that end in “-ber” and “-uary.”

Lately, after doing some thinking about it and with no new games catching my interest, I’ve wandered back to the Ys series.

Continue reading “Ys-y Like Sunday Mornin’”

A Eulogy for the Strategy Guide (Updated 3/20/21)

Do you hear that? No, of course you don’t. It’s silence. Why is there silence, you may ask?

Because the kid behind the counter at Gamestop is no longer asking you if you want the strategy guide with your new game. Why not?

Because there isn’t one.

Continue reading “A Eulogy for the Strategy Guide (Updated 3/20/21)”

Belated Birthdays!

There have been so many milestone birthdays in video gaming to celebrate recently that all I can do is combine them into one big birthday bash post!

So who are the guests of honor? Continue reading “Belated Birthdays!”

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