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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

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  479 Ratings  ·  75 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
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Three Rivers Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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Mar 02, 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
Jan 25, 2016 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.
Jul 21, 2015 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
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 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
Jul 11, 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,
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
Feb 24, 2012 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
Sep 25, 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
Mar 12, 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
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
Jan 01, 2016 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.
May 23, 2015 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
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
David Kirschner
Jun 20, 2015 David Kirschner rated it it was ok
I both liked this book a lot and hated it. I liked it because, overall, the history of the development of video games as a medium is well told. It's a fascinating story, and Goldberg obviously conducted a ton of research and interviews to write this. However, I didn't like it because the writing is painful. He uses the word "nerd" or a variant (nerdy, nerdish, etc.) about three times per page. If you play games, you are a nerd. If you make games, you are a nerd. Nerds like girls and big boobs. I ...more
Christopher Paul
Sep 07, 2014 Christopher Paul rated it liked it
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
Jul 11, 2011 LoudVal rated it did not like it
Shelves: rhc-titles
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
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.
Jan 04, 2015 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
Aug 25, 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
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.
Aug 29, 2015 Tim rated it liked it
A delightful selection of the story behind some of the most milestone games throughout the last 30-ish years, including Tetris, Mario, Myst, etc. The author, a big fan himself, has crafted a fun to read chapters (one for each game basically), based on interviews he conducted throughout the years.

Although very fun and interesting to read, it’s a shame that the author choose to go for a wide selection of games throughout out time and never really goes in-depth in a specific game. Each chapter cou
Mohammed Al-Garawi
Jul 28, 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.
Delani Baylis
Sep 07, 2014 Delani Baylis rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 28, 2015 Mark rated it liked it
This is ok, but there are much much better options out there.

To be clear, this is simply a history with stories from the world of video game design and publishing. There is absolutely nothing in it about the effects of video games on popular culture. The subtitle is entirely misleading.

The prose is filled with metaphors and similes which don't make sense but only seem to be added to make the author seem hip.

There isn't anything new in the text that those who know a little bit about video game hi
Feb 05, 2015 Vivian rated it did not like it
Okay, I'll be honest: I only got through 130 pages of this 300+ page book (on my Sony ebook reader). I just couldn't take anymore of the author's amateurish, choppy writing. The content is actually very interesting, or would have been interesting if, as a gaming layperson - I don't personally play games, but I've seen a few in the almost 40 years since the heyday of "Pong" - I wasn't so lost with all the insider references, lame similes and analogies, and vulgar slang mixed in with obscure termi ...more
Jul 04, 2015 Billy rated it liked it
Not video game canon, but a worthwhile, easy read for gaming enthusiasts. I doubt non-gamers would connect as much description relies heavily on base knowledge if not serious familiarity with the topics at hand.

Benefits by an admittedly non-comprehensive take on video games and their relation/invasion/acceptance to pop culture. At the same time, at least as a MS honk, I read a Sony bias perspective from Goldberg. I mean, Crash Bandicoot? Really?

As with technology and gaming itself, and part of t
Artur Coelho
May 03, 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
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
Jorge Pinto
Oct 31, 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
Nicole G.
Aug 01, 2015 Nicole G. rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011, video-games
I thought (since I still play lots of older titles) that All Your Base would appeal to my retro sensibilities. As far as the history of this topic, I knew some broad strokes going in, which, admittedly, wasn’t much. However, in his introduction, Harold Goldberg purports to tell the story of landmark instances in the history of video games, as well as why they have affected popular culture so much. He claims the book is for core and casual gamers alike. Did he succeed in reaching both (or either) ...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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