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Joystick Nation: How Videogames Ate Our Quarters, Won Our Hearts, and Rewired Our Minds
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Joystick Nation: How Videogames Ate Our Quarters, Won Our Hearts, and Rewired Our Minds

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  128 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In a scant fifteen years, video and computer games have grown into a $6-billion-a-year global industry, sucking up ever-increasing amounts of leisure time and disposable income. In arcades, living rooms, student dorms, and (admit it) offices from Ohio to Osaka, video games have become a fixture in people's lives, marking a tectonic shift in the entertainment landscape.

Hardcover, 230 pages
Published June 1st 1997 by Little, Brown and Company
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 ·  128 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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Start your review of Joystick Nation: How Videogames Ate Our Quarters, Won Our Hearts, and Rewired Our Minds
I found this going cheap in the perpetual book sale in my University Library. It's a pop-history of video games that was published in 1997 which, given the rate of development of computers, makes it practically medieval. Even so, it was an interesting read, covering the development of games from the very early mainframe games through the arcades of the '80s right up to the newest consoles of the time (the N64 and Sega Saturn).

The book was written by an American and so focusses very much on North
Tama Wise
Sep 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Ok so I really picked this one up mostly on a nostalgia bender. I remember when all these games came out, even though I was a tiny kid at the time. Nothing much here that I didn't already know but a fun read, if not perhaps a wee tiny bit ranty at points.

Really enjoyed reading about Ultima. I followed those games rather religiously on my c64 and onto the PC.
Amar Pai
Jul 06, 2007 rated it did not like it
I was intrigued by this book's premise & picked it up eagerly a while back. Given how ubiquitious video games have become, I think it's not implausible that they've had some impact on the way we view the world. Like in Aliens when the guy freaks out and keeps stammering "GAME OVER MAN, GAME OVER!". Not the most subtle example, but you know what I mean.

In addition to reading about the cultural and social effects of video game saturation, I also was looking forward to hearing some crazy
Nov 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I never finished this book - it was too outdated and didn't hold my interest once I reached the "modern" section of the book. I suppose that's a reflection of the tech industry: a book that is a mere fifteen years old is already completely out of date!

The book had some good insight into the previous history of computers and arcades, but it considered the Nintendo 64, which has already been relegated to the bargain bin of videogame history, as a cutting-edge console (the book was published in
Sep 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
There's a fair amount of interesting historical stuff in here, and I liked the writer's style at first, but halfway through it descends into opinions about her personal feelings on games rather than actual data, trends, or anything like that. Too bad, the early chapters are good.
Aug 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
Maybe if I read this when it was first released, I would have enjoyed it more. But, all these years later, it just seemed so out of touch and the humor in it wasn't that humorous. The author stereotyped gamers in a negative way, too.
Nov 06, 2010 added it
- Early games, starting 1977, also tried to be computers.
- "Crashes" in the game market were in 1976, when GI couldn't make enough microprocessors and in 1983 due to bad games.
- The idea of "converence," computer/tv/gamestation didn't work.
Mar 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011, nonfiction
Because Mansfield Park was too boring to bear without a far, quite a good look at early video game/arcade history, even though it's old itself.
Ian Muttoo
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent! I'd love to see it expanded - or see a sequel released.
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Some good history of arcades. Unfortunately, a lot of hack newspaper-style writing too. A whole chapter being dedicated to game-character merchandising was really dopey.
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