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

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  571 Ratings  ·  86 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 enterta ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Three Rivers Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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Warreni
Feb 16, 2012 Warreni rated it liked it
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
Timojhen
Dec 26, 2015 Timojhen rated it liked it
Shelves: not-work
May have been too familiar with the subject matter. Read easily, but didn't offer a whole lot which was new, and beyond the anecdotes on situations which brought things into being it didn't have a lot.

Appreciate the dedication and vigor which early pioneers brought to video games, but some events of recent years (I.e. Minecraft) continue to reinforce for me the notion that we can't accurately predict success. As we enter into the VR era, this may become more and more dated.
Andy Gavin
Oct 29, 2011 Andy Gavin rated it really liked it
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 the herculean task of covering 45+ years of gaming history in a completely serial fashion would probably result in about 4,000 pages, Goldberg has wisely chosen to snapshot pivotal stories. He seizes on some of the most important games, and even more importantly, the zany cast of creatives who made them ...more
Dov
Jan 20, 2017 Dov rated it it was amazing
A great read, sorry I did not review this sooner so people pick it up.
Kip
Dec 28, 2014 Kip rated it it was ok
My beef with Harold Goldberg's book is not with its content, but rather with its execution. "All Your Base Are Belong to Us" is a perfect title for this interesting essay that takes thematic risks that will have true video game fans shaking their heads. Halo influencing the Grand Theft Auto series? Shadow Complex as the end-all, be-all of the next generation of downloadable gaming? And don't even get me started about the stretches in allusions, meant as love letters to geek culture that ultimate ...more
Melissa
May 16, 2012 Melissa rated it liked it
Shelves: techno-brain
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
Jlawrence
Aug 12, 2016 Jlawrence rated it liked it
I've been spoiled by the likes of The Digital Antiqurian, who combines excellent writing with in-depth analysis of the history of computer and video games. So, while All Your Base is filled with interesting ancedotes covering the creation of some seminal games, it was hard not be distracted by the akward, over-projecting (the amount of times he tells "you" how you feel playing a certain game really began to grate) writing, liberally sprinkled with straining, irrelevant pop-culture/gaming-culture ...more
Mark
Jul 02, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it
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
Gwendolyn
Sep 04, 2012 Gwendolyn rated it liked it
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
Jason
Apr 21, 2011 Jason rated it it was ok
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
Jessamyn
Sep 13, 2011 Jessamyn rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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
Albert
Mar 07, 2012 Albert rated it liked it
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
LoudVal
Jun 14, 2011 LoudVal rated it did not like it
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).
Angie
Jun 15, 2012 Angie rated it it was ok
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
Roland Bruno
Jun 14, 2011 Roland Bruno rated it it was ok
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.
Tbueno
Nov 01, 2011 Tbueno rated it liked it
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.
Chris
Dec 14, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it
Full of great tidbits of information on the world of video games. If you are a person that is interested in learning more about the people behind some of the greatest games of the madden era, this is the book for you. Learned a lot more about the companies and the people that creat video games.
Mohammed Al-Garawi
Jun 24, 2015 Mohammed Al-Garawi rated it really liked it
A very comprehensive account of the history of video games. An absolute must read for video games enthusiasts.
Chip Hunter
Dec 29, 2016 Chip Hunter rated it liked it
I was so excited to read this book, supposedly about video games and how they influenced our culture! Unfortunately, the main focus turned out to be about video game designers, not about video games themselves, and certainly not about how our culture has been influenced by those games. While I was looking forward to a nostalgic trip down memory lane (reliving those games which had such a powerful influence on me personally, and which I still remember so well), instead I was treated to a detailed ...more
John Hart
Feb 09, 2017 John Hart rated it it was ok
Shelves: vintage-computer
While I enjoyed parts of the history, the writing was atrocious.
Josh
Aug 15, 2014 Josh rated it liked it
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
Keegan
May 13, 2012 Keegan rated it liked it
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
Andy Parkes
Feb 21, 2017 Andy Parkes rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reading
Very enjoyable

This ventured into how various points in gaming history entered popular culture.

Things such as Pong, Atari, Nintendo, Mario, Tetris, Warcraft, Wii, Kings Quest and many more all get mentioned

As someone who already has an interest in gaming history (having grown up with most of it!) not all of these stories were new but they ones wasn't familiar with were engaging and the ones I did know were covered in an interesting enough way to keep my attention
Brandon Dannemiller
The book's title is somewhat misleading. Instead of an exploration of the effects that video games have had on pop culture, it reads much more like a collection of short scattered biographies of the men and women that made them, often spending far more time on the childhood and business practices of developers than the games that they created. Although the information provided is interesting, the writing becomes dull after the repetitive use of certain phrases and devices. The book also suffers ...more
Justin
Dec 17, 2015 Justin rated it really liked it
Despite the dated reference that is the title, All Your Base Are Belong to Us is a broad and engrossing look into the history of many pivotal titles in the history of video games. From the very inception of the medium, to (what is right now), the last generation of gaming consoles, Goldberg casts his net far and wide, shedding light on a lot of interesting drama surrounding the development of games from Pong to Bioshock, and many titles in between.

Given that there is such a large array of subjec
...more
Rick
I despair of ever finding a book that delves into the world of video games in the fashion that I'm looking for...and I lack the time, motivation, knowledge, etc, etc to write it myself, so there you have it.

While this is not a bad book, in many regards it's just a more fleshed out version of Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter by Tom Bissell. Each chapter focuses on a specific game that the author feels contributed to the overall development of video games as an entertainment & cultural forc

...more
Artur Coelho
May 01, 2012 Artur Coelho rated it it was ok
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
Ken
Sep 15, 2016 Ken rated it liked it
It was an good inside baseball view of the industry over a 15 year period. It was interesting to me since I was there for those years and even in some cases adjacent to the direct events. But for the average person it may be too much of the history that isn't directly about their favorite game/creator.
Jorge Pinto
Sep 14, 2012 Jorge Pinto rated it it was amazing
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
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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
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