Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age, 1971-1984” as Want to Read:
Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age, 1971-1984
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age, 1971-1984

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  18 reviews
From Pong to Pac-Man, Asteroids to Zaxxon - more than 50 million people around the world have come of age within the electronic flux of videogames, their subconscious forever etched with images projected from arcade and home videogame systems.
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published September 30th 2001 by MIT Press (MA) (first published September 1st 2001)
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 Supercade, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Supercade

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  169 ratings  ·  18 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age, 1971-1984
David Glenn Dixon
Washington City Paper
Arts & Entertainment : Book Review

No Quarter
By Glenn Dixon December 7, 2001

If you think videogame history is in its infancy, just get a load of videogame historiography. Stick to the stuff in English and it makes for a mighty short bookshelf: Scott Cohen's "Zap! The Rise and Fall of Atari" follows the industry pioneer into the murk of the 1983-1984 cartridge-system crash. David Sheff's well-reviewed "Game Over: How Nintendo Zapped an American Industry, Captured Your
Fresno Bob
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
beautiful representation of the visual imagery of old school console and arcade games
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I sought this out for Nick Montfort's contributions and for the subject matter. What I found was a disjointed coffee table book with editing problems and black pages that absorb oils like crazy.

Van Burnham edits the collection and presumably writes the copy for the myriad games (arcade and home) that dot the pages in timeline order between 1971 and 1984. A broad selection of guest authors fill in the rest, and these articles range from fairly interesting to mailed-in copy.

A few of the articles
Chris Aylott
Apr 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Colorful collection that shows the range of technology and creativity in the early arcade era. The commentary is not especially deep, though there are a couple of lovely essays by some of the creators behind various favorite games like Q*Bert. But the sheer number of games and platforms many unsuccessful makes it clear just how much was happening in a very short span of time. ...more
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great illustrations, skipped most of the text but my tech-oriented brother-in-law seemed to like it.
Oliver Bateman
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
a good but not great history of the time period in question (and earlier!) made memorable by the book's incredible design and lavish full-color images (it's heavy, however, and being a university press book, the glue holding together the spine is quite flimsy, and may come apart). likely the best resource on this era that will ever see the light of day.
Tim Lapetino
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is a fantastic and gorgeous read, a high-level visual history of classic video games. With excellent screenshots, box art, and images of consoles, the author does a great job of covering the birth of video gaming as we know it. Great graphic design and just enough in-depth text make this a great coffee table book with quality meat on its bones. Even though the book itself is more than a decade old, the presentation and design feel pretty fresh for the material. Highly recommended.

Mar 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly engrossing for anyone, like me, who came of age during the rise of the video game. Both the home console and the video arcade are covered in detail from the extremely obscure to the ubiquitous cultural icons. Built around a timeline that incorporates product launches, business deals, oddball trivia, and software launches one would be hard pressed to find a more complete picture of an era viewed through the prism of video games. Visually stunning, with a foreword and introduction that ...more
Peter Smith
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Books about video games have generally turned into self-promoting art books for games that weren't that great in the first place. This book, while matching the heft and visual design of any of these books, turns its eye to the past and explores all the early games along with the first video game systems and gives them the coverage they deserved. Certainly my nostalgia for these games informs my love for this book, but I think the book gives these games the long overdue respect they deserve (in ...more
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
had so much fun reading this... even tho it is an over-sized coffee table book not necessarily the easiest to cozy up with in bed! Really interesting to learn the history behind different consoles and games that I love playing!
Jonathan Keiser
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: gamers, nerds
I have yet to fully absorb this coffee table book, but it's amazing photographs and completely relevant contributors make it an amazing piece of work. I love it.
Steven Kent
Certainly the best coffee table book on the history of arcades. This book has the prettiest layout, the most photographs and some good articles.
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
a visual treat bringing u t a world of how videogames and how they get their look
Sep 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The most golden memories of my childhood are captured in this book. I suppose that says something about me, but I'm not the least bit ashamed.
Morbus Iff
Jan 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, games
Beautiful book that smudges too easily.
Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great visual history of the early video game era. Recommend reading with gloves -- the black pages instantly absorb fingerprints!
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-read-books
Brings back lots of memories of lost quarters.
Scott Hicks
rated it liked it
Jun 07, 2011
Thomas White
rated it liked it
Sep 07, 2020
Jed Marcks
rated it really liked it
Jul 28, 2008
rated it it was amazing
Dec 03, 2008
rated it it was amazing
Jul 12, 2012
rated it really liked it
May 18, 2014
Bradley Littlejohn
rated it really liked it
Nov 06, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Jan 02, 2020
Zachary Harless
rated it it was amazing
Jun 21, 2015
Brett Goodwin
rated it it was amazing
Mar 09, 2015
B. Twyne
rated it really liked it
Mar 21, 2016
Johnny Fartpants
rated it really liked it
Jul 07, 2019
rated it really liked it
Jul 10, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Videogames: In The Beginning
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
  • Titans of the Seas: The Development and Operations of Japanese and American Carrier Task Forces During World War II
  • Great Society: A New History
  • Death of Kings (The Saxon Stories, #6)
  • What Just Happened: A Chronicle from the Information Frontier
  • The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850
  • Aristotle in 90 Minutes
  • The Burning Land (The Saxon Stories, #5)
  • Lords of the North (The Saxon Stories, #3)
  • The Ghosts of Cannae: Hannibal & the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic
  • The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People
  • 1421: The Year China Discovered America
  • Game Over: Jerry Sandusky, Penn State, and the Culture of Silence
  • Europe Between the Oceans: 9000 BC-AD 1000
  • A History of the Babylonians and Assyrians
  • Ten Acres Enough: The Classic 1864 Guide to Independent Farming
  • George Washington
See similar books…

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »
Van's MySpace page can be found at She is a former contributor to Wired magazine, lives in Los Angeles, and has a large arcade collection.

Related Articles

There is nothing like reading a history or biography book and being so completely transported to another time and place that you find...
67 likes · 25 comments