All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  364 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Through the stories of gaming's greatest innovations and most beloved creations, journalist Harold Goldberg captures the creativity, controversy--and passion--behind the videogame's meteoric rise to the top of the pop-culture pantheon.

Over the last fifty years, video games have grown from curiosities to fads to trends to one of the world's most popular forms of mass entert...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Three Rivers Press (first published January 1st 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about All Your Base Are Belong to Us, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about All Your Base Are Belong to Us

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,062)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
If you have any interest in videogames at all, this book is worth a read. It's not great, but you're bound to run across at least a few anecdotes of which you were previously unaware. This alone may make it worth your while.

Goldberg apparently is not used to operating within the longform story format as he is not really able to construct a cogent overall narrative. Instead the book reads like a series of magazine articles which make only tangential and passing references to one another. It's a p...more
I do not yet have the physical book (Amazon estimates the delivery date to be between Tuesday September 11 and Wednesday September 26, 2012) but I have been reading what I can on the Amazon preview and Google Books. I've gotta say, so far I'm disappointed.

The subtitle for this book is "How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture." Maybe the 'conquer pop culture' part is hidden in the parts that I do not yet have access to, but so far the book is just an overview of the history of video...more
Andy Gavin
This new addition to the field of video game histories is a whirlwind tour of the medium from the 70s blips and blobs to the Facebook games of today, with everything in the middle included. Given theherculeantask of covering 45+ years of gaming history in acompletelyserial fashion would probably result in about 4,000 pages, Goldberg has wisely chosen to snapshotpivotalstories. He seizes on some of the most important games, and even more importantly, the zany cast of creatives who made them.

My pe...more
I would give this four stars - it's engaging and a good overview of pop culture history - but I wasn't enamoured of the writing style.

I'm not really a gamer. This is by choice because strategy and sim games are like crack or online gambling to me (not shooters, those aren't very interesting to my brain) - I can't stop once I start. The first time I played Civilization II with my then-boyfriend we were up for 36 hours straight to finally "win" it in some capacity. Rollercoaster Tycoon and SimCity...more
Not actually that great; it's really a fairly disjointed articles (chapters) about various videogame personalities. Despite the subtitle, there is no thesis or attempt to actually demonstrate that video games have 'conquered pop culture'. I guess by giving us the backstories behind a dozen or two people who designed videogames, the author assumed we would come to that conclusion.

The prose is pretty tiresome too; there are lots of painful analogies that rely on the authors' personal experiences w...more
Terrible. Harold Goldberg's writing style is reminiscent of a Barnard freshman. It is honestly hard to imagine how someone can take something as interesting and as easily documented (given that the vast majority of the players are still alive) as the history of videogames and still manage to produce a volume that is so trite and difficult to follow. Sometimes it seemed that Goldberg had "edited" out a sentence but then forgotten that others referred to it. Towards the end of the book, his main f...more
Let's face it, this book was written horribly. However, its value lies not in literary merit.

This is a book that contains many stories: the stories of those who created some of the most important video games and video game companies in history. If you ever wondered about the origins of games like Myst, Phantasmagoria, Tetris, World of Warcraft, The Sims, or maybe even Super Mario himself, you're in luck.

Anyone who's curious about the history of Video Games will appreciate the work put into findi...more
Steven Kent
I am always surprised when I see how the hardcore gaming crowd judges books. Some of the hardcore crowd appreciates new insights. Some seem threatened by authors who present new information. These guys snoop around for some insignificant error and then rave and rave about how those errors ruins the entire book and you shouldn't trust a word the author utters.

Harold Goldberg wrote a good, solid book about the workings of the video game industry. Goldberg, and Goldberg alone, has traveled inside R...more
As a history of video games and the industry goes, this isn't too bad. The author did plenty of research and conducted interviews with many of the subjects he discusses; good on him.

I guess I was thrown off by the subtitle, "How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture." I was expecting more of an analysis of how pop culture has been influenced by video games and vice versa. Instead it's pretty much a straight-up history of the rise (and fall) of certain influential companies and game de...more
Christopher Paul
All Your Base Are Belong To Us: How Fifty Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture by Harold Goldberg is a very interesting look on videogames over the last half-century. It goes from Tennis for Two, all the way to Bioshock to give it's own unique look over this period. However, it's wording leaves much to be desired.
For anyone with adept gaming knowledge this book won't bring anything knew to the table and if you are new to the gaming scene it makes a lot jokes and references that will easil...more
Lacked oomfph. Writing was subpar, no linear progression within the chapters made it difficult and irritating to follow the story. You could tell where he had personal insight was where he wrote best, which isn't saying much. I expect there are better books on this subject out there, and that one day I will read one that will blow this title out the water. Still, enjoyable for what it was – a quick read for the commute to work (aka, not particularly engaging, took my time, never missed my stop).
Roland Bruno
A welcome and expansive history of the industry. Having lived and played through the entirety of the history of video-games, and having read other such titles, this book suffers from "Been there, read that" syndrome. If you have never read a history of video-gaming I would recommend this but if you've already been down this path you can safely bypass. I picked it up based on reading a glowing review which sold me on it and like many similar reviews on the games themselves, it was over-hyped.
A journalistic take on fifty years of video game history. At its core, this book is a series of snippets of said history with some special attention towards those who took some time to speak with Goldberg about their developments. Some of it can be quite interesting while other chapters may become a bit tedious, but one thing Goldberg does well here is cover his bases. Not many genres are neglected in this book. You have some landmark games that are talked about, going from the first blips on th...more
It is a good book, but it has some strange topic choices. Ignore the iPhone game industry and write about a specific Xbox live game is a weird choice in my opinion. Also, i believe that writing a book about video-games ignoring companies like Sega is like omitting part of the history.

In the end, I consider this book entertaining. If you love video-games, you'll probably enjoy this book.
Delani Baylis
This book is one of the best books I have ever read. This genre is an history book that tells the about game history. The topic of the book is tell the reader about the history of gaming. The main idea is that this go's through the gaming history.

What I liked is that it went through the history of the creators of the game. What I didn't like is that it took a long time to get to the interesting parts.What I also liked is that most of the creators had to go through hard times. What I didn't lik...more
Artur Coelho
Suponho que há três tipos de livros sobre esta temática. Os profusamente ilustrados mas de texto liminar, para encher o olho com a espectacularidade dos jogos mais graficamente arrojados, os estudos académicos profundos, e obras destas, entusiastas e generalistas que olham para alguns detalhes da história da tecnologia.

All Your Base Are Belong To Us, cujo titulo é um piscar de olhos a um meme recente, traça uma curta história da indústria dos jogos olhando para um conjunto de casos específicos q...more
Amanda Newhouses
I have book hoarding issues. I bought this book over a year ago, and it's been languishing on my shelf for over a year.* I picked it up to take a break between epic George R. R. Martin tomes, and I'm glad I did! I love games and I'd say I consider myself a gamer, but I'm not as hardcore as a lot of dyed in the wool gamers. I've loved playing video games since my parents bought me a copy of Jumpman back in the day; I still spend an ungodly amount of time in front of a glowing screen.

Even so, I le...more
Jorge Pinto
Hay algo que distingue este libro de otros similares y es que cada capítulo es un ensayo personal sobre un desarrollador específico. Se enfoca en la persona o compañía más representativa de un género y cuenta su historia desde un punto de vista íntimo y aprovechando el tema, también habla de sus competidores y contemporáneos.
Por ejemplo, hay un capítulo sobre Will Wright que cuenta cómo nació SimCity, pero de paso aprovecha para contar sobre las (asquerosas) prácticas empresariales de EA y otro...more
In this somewhat misleadingly-titled book, All Your Base Are Belong To Us takes readers on a behind the scenes look at the making of several big games that really made an impact on the industry as a whole. From Mario to World of Warcraft, Goldberg portrays intimate accounts on the blood, sweat, and tears it took for some famous developers to realize their dreams and make the products which changed the face of gaming through the years.

It took me a few chapters to get into the format of this book,...more
Jun 08, 2012 Keegan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I grew up with an Atari 400 and all the extensions, including the floppy drive. It was awesome, and I loved playing games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Bounty Bob: Miner 49er, and so on. I loved games, even though I didn't upgrade until my uncle bought my family the Super Nintendo a few years after it's release. I still love games, though I don't own a TV and my computer doesn't run PC games well. I was really, REALLY stoked when I came across Harold Goldberg's All Your Base Are Bel...more
Petra Willemse
This was an interesting overview of the history of video games. Each chapter focuses on a different game and the history of the game's development. The author does fall into some annoying habits, however. Each chapter ends with a sort of 'guess what the next game is' cliffhanger and you don't realize what the next game is until halfway through the next chapter. It's a frustrating and unnecessary technique. Goldberg could easily have named the chapters after the game in question and the reader st...more
There's a lot of useful and well written information here detailing several eras and companies in the history of games. Unfortunately, the author delivers it in an over-the-top fashion in some places. And the use of cultural references is horrible. To the point that I was rolling my eyes every time the author used a cultural reference; they were in some cases inappropriate, in some cases bad comparisons, and in most cases utterly unnecessary - if you have to explain why the reference applies, it...more
A lot of fun. It takes you on a journey of video games from their inception with the creation of Pong (actually no, there was a Space Game that some engineers created at MIT that predates the iconic ping-pong game) all the way to the multi-player and casual gaming recent phenoms. Some reviews had issues with the title, perhaps expecting a discussion about how video games eclipsed other popular forms of entertainment, such as television or film. That is certainly not what this book is. Rather, it...more
For anyone interested in a history of video games that manages to be more than a retread of other material, this one is recommended reading.

Each chapter takes a specific game from an era and in doing so presents an evolution of what games were actually doing over the years.

It's value is magnified in that the stories are told via interviews with the creators. This enables us to get a picture of what the developer's intent was, along with reactions of what happened post-release.

If you're a player...more
David Nichols
This is an uneven book, but useful for aging geeks like myself who want to catch up with the latest trends in videogames ("latest" meaning "since I was in college"). Goldberg's first few chapters are marred by a breathless writing style and an over-reliance on cliches and second-person "experiential" digressions, but he largely abandons these irritating devices in the latter half of the book. His account of the origins of such classics as Tetris, Super Mario Brothers, and Sim City, as well as mo...more
I wanted to like this book and there were some interesting stories about the industry and some of it's major players, but it lacked depth and insight, and references. There were direct quotes, but no indication of interviews or sources. The writing was really, really bad. Just no other way to put it. The book was full of unnecessary similes, a few made me chuckle, but the bulk did not fit and made this a clunky read. I have long been interested in the video games industry and have read some fasc...more
I thought this book was an okay read, but I also think to get the most from it you have to have read a bunch of other more interesting and well-written books. "Game Over" being one example.

There was some really interesting history and anecdotal stuff but more it was stuff I knew from other sources and really annoying prose.

I was amused by all the Electronic Arts stuff in the middle of the book, but that comes from having worked there for so long and knowing those people and places mentioned.

To e...more
Henrik Rostoft
Good read, up there with Game Over
Joseph Young
Oct 22, 2013 Joseph Young rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Gamers who like to read
This book is what I wanted to see at the Game On! exhibit at the Ontario Science Center, but didn't see: A brief history of stories that actually tells you how individual games and companies changed the landscape of the video gaming world! Enjoyed it very much. Only the current gen video games were a little bit fuzzy, but that's only because it hasn't yet been determined what will end up in the mainstream consciousness. Would read again.
Matt Falvey
A behind the scenes look on the movers and shakers of the video industry since its beginning many years ago, AYBBTU is a must read for video game afficianados who went to learn more about the roots of their grand obsession. The stories vary from funny to just plain depressing. A fascinating book you can pick up and put down several times. The perfect book to read while reading other books.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 35 36 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Replay: the History of Video Games
  • The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon - The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World
  • 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die
  • What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy
  • Game Over, Press Start to Continue: How Nintendo Conquered the World
  • Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames
  • Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America
  • Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture
  • The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy: I Link Therefore I Am
  • Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form
  • Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter
  • Fun Inc.: Why games are the 21st Century's most serious business
  • Man, Play and Games
  • Final Fantasy and Philosophy: The Ultimate Walkthrough
  • Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
  • The Making of Prince of Persia
  • Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now--Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything
  • Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms
Harold Goldberg is the author of ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US: How 50 Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture, a narrative history of video games, coming on April 5, 2011 from Random House. It has been excerpted in Vanity Fair and featured on NPR's Morning Edition.

He is the founder of the New York Videogame Critics Circle, a group comprised of New York's finest videogame journalists.

He curren...more
More about Harold Goldberg...
D-Day in the Pacific: The Battle of Saipan The Power Index Method for Profitable Futures Trading Advanced Commodity Spread Trading My Life Among the Serial Killers: Inside the Minds of the World's Most Notorious Murderers My Life Among the Serial Killers

Share This Book