The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokémon and Beyond : the Story Behind the Craze that Touched Our Lives and Changed the World

Front Cover
Prima Pub., 2001 - Social Science - 608 pages
90 Reviews
Inside the Games You Grew Up with but Never Forgot
With all the whiz, bang, pop, and shimmer of a glowing arcade. The Ultimate History of Video Games reveals everything you ever wanted to know and more about the unforgettable games that changed the world, the visionaries who made them, and the fanatics who played them. From the arcade to television and from the PC to the handheld device, video games have entraced kids at heart for nearly 30 years. And author and gaming historian Steven L. Kent has been there to record the craze from the very beginning.
This engrossing book tells the incredible tale of how this backroom novelty transformed into a cultural phenomenon. Through meticulous research and personal interviews with hundreds of industry luminaries, you'll read firsthand accounts of how yesterday's games like Space Invaders, Centipede, and Pac-Man helped create an arcade culture that defined a generation, and how today's empires like Sony, Nintendo, and Electronic Arts have galvanized a multibillion-dollar industry and a new generation of games. Inside, you'll discover:
·The video game that saved Nintendo from bankruptcy
·The serendipitous story of Pac-Man's design
·The misstep that helped topple Atari's $2 billion-a-year empire
·The coin shortage caused by Space Invaders
·The fascinating reasons behind the rise, fall, and rebirth of Sega
·And much more!
Entertaining, addictive, and as mesmerizing as the games it chronicles, this book is a must-have for anyone who's ever touched a joystick.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Just about wrapping up my read of The Ultimate History of Video Games by Steven L. Kent. Kent traces the history of video games from the early versions of pinball that made the novelty circuit back in the day to the latest consoles of today.
It was extremely interesting reading about the early days of computer gaming, from open source code sharing with Spacewar, which was developed at MIT, to the creation of arcade coin-op gaming post pinball and the rise (and fall) of Atari. The book delves into the histories of the greats, from SEGA to Nintendo, Bally and Williams, and even goes into a bit about the C64, which revolutionized gaming as we know it. Unfortunately, I think the only reason why the C64 was mentioned was because the guy that founded that company eventually bought Atari. Little was mentioned about PC gaming. Infocom... ignored. Origin... almost ignored... Myst and Doom had some highlights, but not much.
That's not to say it wasn't a good read. It was. The use of quotes throughout the book were great and enlightening. I learned a ton. But Kent seems more interested in telling Nintendo's story, and the fact that he pretty much ignored PC gaming only scores this book a 7 on my scale. Ultimate it is not. A shame, too.

Review: The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon - The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World

User Review  - Goodreads

A fun read that covers the history of video games from the appearance of the first pinball machines to the market competition between Nintendo, Sony and Sega (and Microsoft) in the early 2000s. Kent ... Read full review


The World Before Pong
Forgotten Fathers
Father of the Industry

29 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

James Newman
No preview available - 2004
All Book Search results »

About the author (2001)

Steven L. Kent, a lifelong a gamer since the debut of Pong, writes weekly columns about electronic entertainment for the Los Angeles Times syndicate, MSNBC, and the Japan Times. His articles have appeared in USA Today, Rolling Stone, Replay, Wired, Next Generation, and numerous other publications. Mr. Kent has also appeared on CNN, the CBS Morning Show, and the NBC Nightly News. He lives with his wife and two children in Bothell, Washington.

Bibliographic information