Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld (Boss Fight Books, #22)” as Want to Read:
Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld (Boss Fight Books, #22)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld

(Boss Fight Books #22)

by
3.92  ·  Rating details ·  59 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Just as the video game console market was about to crash into the New Mexico desert in 1983, professor and sociologist David Sudnow was unearthing the secrets of “eye, mind, and the essence of video skill” through an exploration of Atari’s Breakout, one of the earliest hits of the arcade world.

Originally released under the title Pilgrim in the Microworld, Sudnow’s
...more
Paperback, New Edition, 224 pages
Published by Boss Fight Books (first published March 1983)
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 Breakout, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Breakout

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  59 ratings  ·  12 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld (Boss Fight Books, #22)
Chris Salzman
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A deep analytic meditation on Sudnow's journey from never touching a videogame to mastering Breakout for the Atari. Every bit of the journey is told in excruciating detail as he takes time to reflect on everything (I mean everything) about the game. This might be the best writing on video games that's ever been produced.

There's so much I take for granted in games and getting a glimpse into it from the perspective of a pilgrim is fascinating.
Caleb Ross
(click the image below to watch the video review)

Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld by David Sudnow from Boss Fight Books book review

I’m reviewing all of the Boss Fight Books releases, so subscribe to my YouTube channel to be sure you don’t miss future reviews.
I just finished reading Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld by David Sudnow, which was originally released in 1983 and has been reprinted by Boss Fight Books as their 22nd book, and I’ve got some thoughts.

Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld is basically a memoir of one man’s discovery of, and obsession with, the video
...more
Maximilian
I'm glad to have read this seminal work. Mostly glad because it means I won't have to read it again. It was not a fun read, but somehow remains clout with me for its rave reviews and general renown for being the first book that looked at video games. In my personal opinion, this book is not worth reading at all. It is only my recognition of my own flaws that I consider myself unfit to judge it worthless, and so finished it anyway.

It is incredibly boring and hard to understand. Rereading a
...more
Travis Timmons
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a reader of phenomenology. It's the field in philosophy that I find most compelling -- human consciousness is bottomless stuff. This being said, _Pilgrim_ is phenomenology. A sort of living-breathing-moving version of the philosophy. And in some ways, far more insightful than the philosophical stuff written about phenomenology. This book does IT.

The writing is sometime clunky and counter-intuitive, but I find this normal deficiency to actually enhance the kind of work Sudnow is doing in the
...more
Joe Henthorn
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Something vital was being dispensed.'

I remember reading about this getting a really glowing recommendation a couple of years ago on Anna Anthropy's blog and desperately wanting to read it - but I couldn't find a cheap copy (it's a long, long time out of print), and inevitably forgot about it. But when I saw it pop up again on Brendan Keogh's blog the other month and realised it was being sold for a penny plus 2.99 shipping by one of those weird Amazon marketplace sellers, I snapped it up
...more
Stacey Mason
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: game studies researchers, obsessive gamers, gamers who also happen to be musicians
Shelves: research
Jazz pianist David Sudnow didn't play video games until he went to retrieve his teenage son from an arcade in the early 80s, and he immediately dismissed them as a silly money-sink designed to keep teenagers occupied. When an Atari 2600 ruined a party of academics, however, he decided to give games another shot and try the Atari for himself. Thus began his decent into obsession.

Following in the style of Ways of the Hand, Sudnow's deeply detailed exploration of the phenomenology of playing jazz
...more
Jlawrence
Jazz pianist Sudnow's super-analytic, hyper-intellectualized account of his addiction to beating the Atari 2600 game Breakout when it first came out (he even travels to Atari Inc headquarters to grill the game's programmers on how to best play). As a nostalgic Atari 2600 fan and someone with interest in in-depth analytic digs into games of yore (The Digital Antiquarian is probably my favorite blog), this seemed like it'd be right up my alley.

But Sudnow's blow-by-blow detailing of his minute
...more
Mjhancock
Neil David Sr. (or David Sudnow, as my copy stubbornly claims) describes in great, great detail his experience playing Breakout when it first came out on a home console. It's an extremely in-depth tale of his obsession with the game, from his trip to talk to Atari designers in person to his personal demand that he create the exact perfect playing sequence. It's of a reasonable amount of interest to those interested in game history, or game scholarship, as it's one of the earliest (and again, ...more
Alex
Oct 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
fucking awesome

to qualify that:

it's amazingly OCD, it's a thinly veiled fictional account about a grown man getting addicted to 'missile command' and 'breakout' on atari 2600 in 1982.

he has screenshots of strategies, combined with social and cultural criticism; he says of his first sight of arcade:

"something vital is being dispensed."

not 'good' by any 'literary' account - but it's a must-read for any geek.
Erik van Mechelen
Stumbling upon an interest, seeking mastery, and finding a world within worlds are Sudnow's high order bids in his epoch spent with Atari's "Breakout." Useful for philosophical introspection, applications to learning a craft, and reflections on the motivations of mankind and the behavior of individuals in a machine world.
Nate
Mar 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love reading about other people's insanity. This guy became obsessed with Breakout for Atari, played it 8+ hours a day, took *meticulous* notes, and play by play accounts of individual games, then wrote a book about it. I mean, the amount of lunacy it built up in this man is staggering.
Tony
Jun 17, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gamesindustry
Interesting tale of a man who explored the limits of consciousness and the video world... by playing Atari Breakout.
Mitchell
rated it liked it
Apr 04, 2012
Jon Seagull
rated it it was amazing
Jan 15, 2013
Andy Nealen
rated it it was amazing
Jan 10, 2018
Ben Swinden
rated it really liked it
Jul 06, 2015
Yannick
rated it liked it
Jan 12, 2020
Oscar
rated it really liked it
Sep 06, 2017
Emily
rated it really liked it
Aug 30, 2013
Ian
rated it really liked it
Jul 05, 2012
Peter
rated it it was ok
Dec 03, 2015
Jaakko
rated it really liked it
Apr 11, 2017
Sean
rated it it was amazing
Apr 23, 2012
Gabe Durham
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Jeff
rated it really liked it
Mar 22, 2009
Meg
rated it really liked it
Jan 04, 2020
Marcelo
rated it really liked it
Dec 29, 2014
BookieWookie
rated it liked it
Mar 26, 2016
Frank Williams
rated it liked it
Mar 27, 2012
Alexis
rated it liked it
Nov 15, 2019
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl #1)
  • 'Salem's Lot
  • Summer Frost
  • The 2019 Short Story Advent Calendar
  • Anyone
  • Trinity Sight
  • Metropolitan Stories
  • とんがり帽子のアトリエ 4 [Tongari Boushi no Atelier 4] (Witch Hat Atelier, #4)
  • Strange Planet
  • A Warning
  • A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell, #4)
  • The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
  • DisneyWar
  • Babbitt
  • A Casual Revolution: Reinventing Video Games and Their Players
  • Playing with Feelings: Video Games and Affect
  • Needful Things
  • Her Wicked Longing (The League of Rogues #5)
See similar books…

Other books in the series

Boss Fight Books (1 - 10 of 22 books)
  • EarthBound (Boss Fight Books, #1)
  • Chrono Trigger (Boss Fight Books, #2)
  • ZZT (Boss Fight Books, #3)
  • Galaga (Boss Fight Books, #4)
  • Jagged Alliance 2 (Boss Fight Books, #5)
  • Super Mario Bros. 2 (Boss Fight Books, #6)
  • Bible Adventures (Boss Fight Books, #7)
  • Baldur's Gate II (Boss Fight Books, #8)
  • Metal Gear Solid (Boss Fight Books, #9)
  • Shadow of the Colossus (Boss Fight Books, #10)