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Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  193 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
What started as a game of Pong, with little blips dancing across a computer screen, has evolved into a multi-billion-dollar industry that is changing the future, making inroads into virtually all aspects of our culture.Who are the minds behind this revolution? How did it happen? Where is it headed?

In Smartbomb, journalists Heather Chaplin and Aaron Ruby take the reader be
Paperback, 304 pages
Published November 10th 2006 by Algonquin Books (first published November 4th 2005)
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Tanner Sims
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
From Tennis for Two to Spacewar!, Pong to Pac-man, Mario to Zelda, Doom to Unreal Tournament, and The Sims to Halo. It is all covered in this book about the history of video games. The book starts out with a young entrepreneur called CliffyB. CliffyB is the creator of the game Unreal Tournament and he is is preparing for the explosive ascension of video games into the 21st century. Once the reader is hooked by CliffyB's exciting life, they are then transported back to 1958 and greeted by a man n ...more
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
Holy crap this book is a mess.

The book is arranged such that each chapter is a mini-biography or report of prominent figures in the gaming industry. There are, in fact, two authors listed for this book so I don't really know who to blame for it, but I'll just assume they're both equal offenders.

It took me a really long time to finish this book considering its length. The reason? There is a serious overabundance of self-important gamer nerd rage happening in this book. CliffyB (a rising star at t
Ethan Soule
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
SmartBomb was an amazing book! It takes you inside the minds of some of the well known video game gurus and lets you see how they made it in the world. From Shigueru Miyamoto, the maker of the popular Mario games, to Will Wright, the producer of SimCity. Each chapter gives you a miniature biography of some of the best video game gurus. It even takes you inside a competitive Counter-Strike (first person shooter) event. I found it very good because it broadened my view on the video game industry. ...more
Mar 16, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: both hardcore and sadcore gamers
Shelves: non-fiction
I love reading stuff about video games, their history, and the industry. This book was pretty good. There are some awkward moments early on - just weird turns of phrase and odd observations - but after that the authors get into the rhythm and the text flows smoothly.

Lots of stuff I didn't know before in this book. Good profiles of gaming auteurs such as CliffyB and Will Wright. It's a solid read.

The only downside I see is that the games industry moves so fast that the book already felt dated whe
Aaron Giddings
Aug 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Good, but dated. This book is basically a snapshot of what the videogame industry was like in the early 2000s.

At this point, we can look back and see where a lot of the rosy predictions fell short, and things that no one saw coming (smartphones and the rise of mobile gaming in particular) caused major changes in the industry. However, we also see examples that were on track such as the nascent beginnings of DLC, and the push towards device convergence.

Overall it's a worthwhile read, but more for
Deborah Joyner
Aug 16, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution is a fun ride through both the history of the videogame (Table Tennis for Two, programming the PDP-1 at MIT, the beginnings of Atari) as well as an in depth view of the changes in the videogame industry between 2001-2005, as the book was being written. From geek culture to mainstream culture, you see an industry dominated by creativity move to being an industry dominate by business. With scenes from the Game D ...more
A superb book! The authors have managed to weave together threads of technological history, sociology, cultural change, several striking mini-biographies, and a thorough and even-handed examination of trends in military training and the ways they're leaking into entertainment aimed at teenagers and young adults and the implications of that happening. On top of all that, they made it highly readable - for me it was hard to put down; I ended up starting it yesterday afternoon and finishing it this ...more
Apr 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this one! I have been playing video games for a long time and it was nice to go back and re-visit those older times. The book is obviously outdated as it was published quite a while ago, eons in videogame time!

Definitely recommended for anyone who likes games. There are no put downs here, not one word about video games being bad for you.... So, whether you just started playing or are old skool, this one is for you!
Oct 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
As a casual gamer and someone who has followed developments in the industry as a quest for legimitacy, this book read as a historical primer for the most part. The author weakly tried to incorporate the philosophical aspects of videogames into her work, but ended up sounded forced and blaise. For the most part, this book read as hero worship, but throughout, the comments that Will Wright contributed as the developer of the sims games and most recently spore were particularly enlightening.
May 22, 2008 rated it liked it
This would have been a worthwhile concise history of video games but for a number of inaccuracies. First of all, Luigi was not introduced in Super Mario Bros (he along with Mario became plumbers in 'Mario Bros'). Second, Gauntlet was not in arcades in 1981 - wait a few years. A little fact-checking would have been nice!
Jeff Raymond
A book about different people involved in the way videogames have grown over the last 20 years. The individual pieces - especially about Will Wright, the SimCity guru - were better than the whole, but it was eye-opening in a lot of areas. I learned new things, so that's always a plus.
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who digs well-written,well-researched, quick moving, non-fiction.
I used to teach a history of video gams class. If I still taught it, this would be my textbook. It's he kind of non-fiction that reminds me of what Michael Lewis does: totally engrossing, well-researched, and just written well. Great book even if you aren't a gamer!
A decent history of video games. A bit dated, as it was written in 2003, and at times the book made me grimace with its definition of the word "noob." Still, if you know nothing about video games, it's a good place to start.
Mar 17, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting background on the video game revolution. I missed most of it, so it was an interesting history lesson. They are an economic powerhouse, can they move to the level of art?
Jan 16, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has a bunch of different essays about video game history.
Some I liked, some not so much.
I liked the ones about Atari and online gaming the best, and the military simulators the worst.
Dec 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Jul 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2006
Non-fiction looking into the rapidly changing world of the video game--programmers, industry insiders, players and others of that ilk in the billion plus dollar industry.
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very good book, well written, different angle on subject!
Feb 16, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Given what I do for a living, I need to read this just for my own knowledge.
Brendan  McAuliffe
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Esp. interesting if you've been following along with all of this the whole time. ( Also says Steve Jobs was a ' fruitarian ' in the 70s < ? > )
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Only OK. Interesting subject (Video game industry) but she focused a lot of the book on random people who play these games rather than the people and companies who formed it.
rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2016
Thom Wetzel
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Oct 09, 2015
Kyle Mckinney
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Jun 12, 2012
Justin Calvert
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Jul 26, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Oct 07, 2012
Thomas Miranda
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Mar 28, 2014
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Dec 24, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Oct 21, 2009
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