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Replay: The History of Video Games
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Replay: The History of Video Games

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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  588 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
A riveting account of the strange birth and remarkable evolution of the most important development in entertainment since television, Replay is the ultimate history of video games. Based on extensive research and over 140 exclusive interviews with key movers and shakers from gaming's past, Replay tells the sensational story of how the creative vision of game designers gave ...more
Paperback, 516 pages
Published April 20th 2010 by Yellow Ant Media Ltd (first published January 1st 2010)
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Diz
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: video-games, history
This provides a big picture view of the history of video games from the first computers up until the advent of mobile and Steam games. As a broad overview of video games, it's a great introduction. Particularly the chapters on the creation of coin operated video games and the rise of arcade culture were interesting.

Since it covers all video game history, it tries to cover everything and each subject is covered briefly. What that means is that things that you want to read about in depth seem a bi
...more
S.M. Johnson
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a solid book that works very well as a compliment to other video game history books. It goes up to 2009 and hits on the European game industry, games as art, and other things that more mainstream books on the subject tend to leave out. There is also a very comprehensive list of "must-play" games and consoles in the back of the book which is a joy to flip through.

My main gripe with this one is that the author tends to "jump around" from subject to subject, sometimes within a chapter, whic
...more
Poul
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a book that only focuses on trents and art it is a good book to start your game history from. Thoug it mentions several animals the elephants are not between, that's why it could only get 4 stars.
Themistocles
Nov 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, computers
A fantastic read! Donovan does tend to lose focus and refer to other genres and games and issues in each chapter, but it's really a great book on the subject...
Noor
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: videojuegos
Buena parte de los que frecuentamos esta web somos jugadores desde hace bastante tiempo. Por motivos de edad, es posible que haya quienes lleven inmersos en este fantástico mundo desde hace varias décadas y que recuerden, por haberlo vivido en primera persona, momentos memorables de la historia del medio. En cualquier caso, independientemente de haber nacido con un mando de consola bajo el brazo o de estar empezando a gatear en esto de los videojuegos, tal vez queramos ir un poco más allá de la ...more
Maximilian
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book does exactly what the title says. It "Replays" the last 50 years of video game history. At 500 pages, that's about 10 pages per year. And it really is smoothed out like that. Very comprehensive.
Krzysztof
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book on video game history, though like many others it focuses on the period from the beginning to around the mid 90s, with clearly more glancing chapters further on. Still, a good read, well researched and fun!
Iron Ic
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great history, many exciting stories, many references to videogames i already forgot, helpful videogame reference list.
Cory Blystone
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it
The writing is not so great, but the history of video games Donovan writes about with passion in Replay is absolutely fascinating.
Chris
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book that balances chronological history, themed analysis, and a worldly view (rather than simply a US history).
Tore
May 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is broad enough to appeal to a reader like me: a 30+ semi-casual gamer; i.e. with more than a passing knowledge of video games, but not to an extremely nerdy extent.

It is very comprehensive, including interviews with many of the industry’s key players, and is well structured around the emergence of new trends in video games. Being interested in pop culture in general, I also enjoyed the parts where Donovan analyses how developments in pop culture (and indeed in culture/society as a who
...more
V. Briceland
Jun 09, 2011 rated it liked it
As a history of an industry younger than some pop music stars, Replay: The History of Video Games works well. It's exhaustively researched, contains extensive interviews with the programmers and idealists who built the computer games movement from the ground up, and has not only a thorough bibliography, but a glossary and extensive list of video game systems and their specs in the back.

Donovan's approach, however, is to chronicle beginnings—the germs of movements that lead to popular trends in t
...more
Krzysztof Mathews
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Overall, a very good book. Quite substantial.

My only (minor) criticism is that as the book gets closer to the present day, the diversity of the subject leads to individual chapters dedicated to specific themes of games, but does not do as much to set a clear timeline of how these genres overlap chronologically. In the earlier chapters, there is a much clearer sense of how different games and their innovations served to challenge each other in the larger marketplace at any given point in time.

One
...more
Tim
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really liked Replay. It was much more in-depth than I'd have guessed. The history of video games is fairly short but there are countless interesting stories from the past 5 decades.

One of the strongest aspects of the book is strong coverage of non-American/Japanese games and game designers. A fair bit of time is devoted to the UK scene in the 80s or French adventure games. While these didn't have the impact or cultural recognition of Mario and GTA they were very interesting sections and I'm gl
...more
Eric Farr
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a good history of the video game industry. There are plenty of histories out there, including at the broad level that Donovan tackles here, but I would recommend reading this one (perhaps in addition to one or two others) in particular for its chapters on video game history outside of the United States and Japan, as well as for its excellent "Gameography" and hardware glossary appendices. If you would like to know more about how the video game industry has developed and changed over time ...more
William Herschel
Nov 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, history, 2012
Video games are a relatively new medium, which is really brought into perspective when reading this. Such a slow start to gaming... and then it all explodes. Replay does a swell job of covering the starting point of video games. Soon it is clear though that it doesn't really know what thread to follow. It shuns a linear tale in favour of chapters devoted to specific subjects -- music and dance, MUDs, sims, indie, the era of Doom.

I know Nintendo well, so let's take Nintendo as an example. It talk
...more
Adam Hepton
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
A really decent look into the origins of video gaming: how we got to where we are now, and some of the major stories along the way. The pace of development is reflected nicely within the book: the first 60% of the book is entirely around the first games in labs, the arcades, and the home computers leading up to the mid-eighties, before momentum takes hold and it becomes less about the technology behind it, but the stories and genres created.

There are some major genre successes that are skirted o
...more
Adrian Fisher
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The book's comprehensive coverage of the birth of videogames to 2010 was both interesting and demanding, but throughout the 369 pages I was always entertained. I was hooked from the very first page because it was well written, easy to read and full so many facts and quirky tit-bits about the video game industry! The book covers arcades, computers and consoles, describing in detail the very first computer in 1946 through to modern-day PC's and the various arcade/console iterations. I enjoyed read ...more
Mjhancock
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: video-game, scholarly
Donovan examines the history of video games, from the early 60s Spacewar! to the modern indie game scene. In terms of comprehensive coverage, this book is by far the best history of video games that I've read. The only book that comes close is Mark J.P. Wolf's Videogame Explosion, and Donovan's book does a better job of presenting the history as a cohesive whole. He strikes an excellent balance between informative and entertaining writing; it's clearly written for a popular audience, but the lev ...more
Brigg Sabol
Jun 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
About once a week, I "sneak out" after my wife and son go to sleep and go to this little Chinese restaurant down the street and hide in a corner table and chill out with a book, some killer Chinese food and pretty much drink beer until I can't really pay attention to reading anymore. Somehow I decided that I always have a book about video games as my topic of choice for this excursion. This was my 4th book I brought with me, and I think as far as non-fiction goes, it's the best one.

There was a l
...more
Richard Stowell
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
While this history does cover a wide breadth of the rise of an incredible industry in great detail, the nature of such a young subject matter means many of the items that make history interesting are glossed over with a sheen of things that really aren't all that old. Comprehensive in its mentions of important milestones, they seem not particularly deep because of their proximity to the now. Having said that, it is still a very enjoyable read to catch the young up to what has produced the shiny ...more
Sophia
Feb 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sophia by: IGN
Shelves: non-fiction
An engaging history of the video game industry starting from its very earliest roots in the 60s/70s all the way up to 2010, when the book was published. It does suffer from some noticeable copyediting issues - there are usually one or two blatant typos per chapter, which to me is a LOT but luckily Donovan's writing doesn't seem to need much editing otherwise. Jury's still out on whether or not I like the slight jumpiness between chapters, as Donovan has to backtrack frequently to cover the same ...more
Susan
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I bet this book gets assigned to computer gaming students everywhere. Its the best overview of the birth of the industry I have yet read. Turns out, that like a lot of people, I remembered when I encountered certain games or devices for the first time and thought that's when they were fairly new. Sometimes I was right and sometimes waayy wrong. I didn't play in arcades until the mid 80's, for example, not long before their decline. I didn't see Zork for the first time until late in 1983, so my i ...more
Nayef Al-mansouri
Mar 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Good book overall .. Give the reader a detailed history about the video game industry with good detailed about it which will be good for gamer to know

However ,I think the book style tends more to be research and story type which might make the reader gets board with time . Also , lots of words with less graphs .. If there is a trending plots or graphs it will add a good flavor

Overall , the book is good for a person who wants to dig more into gaming history and for every gamer should pass by thi
...more
Dennis Kogel
Apr 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Replay is a wonderful book chronicling a period which gave rise to the videogame industry. It's a valuable history. Tristan Donovan does not list a number of influential games, thereby simplifying history and breaking it down to end-products, but chronicles the creation of videogame software and hardware as a complex web of socio-cultural, technological developments. The chapter on videogames in South Korea is plain gold. Still, despite a high number of quotes by the people Donovan meticulously ...more
Gary
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
The stuff up front is fascinating, mostly about Atari and about how all the video game shops were in a constant battle with bankrupcy and each other and the marketplace. Rough going. Console wars were nice. The book is written by a Brit so it spends a bit of time focusing on European shops and games most of which I'd never heard of.

I got about halfway through and can't finish it, though. Just too long.
vonblubba
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
La storia del videogioco raccontata con cura mediante una meticolosa ricerca e documentazione da parte dell'autore.
Non si tratta di una esposizione asettica, di ogni evento viene presentata anche la situazione socio-politica che ne ha influenzato le sorti.
Non mancano poi gli eventi miliari, uno su tutti l'assassinio di Lord British durante il lancio di Ultima Online.
Solo per appassionati, ma una lettura molto stimolante.
Charles
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Simply put, the single-most comprehensive, accessible, and engaging book I've ever read on video game history. It's very easy to get into, even for the uninitiated. Might seem overwhelming at times when referencing certain games or hardware, but a quick Google search would help anyone out. Honestly, I've a fair number of books dealing with this topic, and this one volume alone could replace the material covered in a few of them. Absolutely loved this one.
Eric
Dec 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting and informative history of all things video game. Some topics interested more than others, but that's not the author's fault. I especially enjoyed the account of Atari's rise and fall as a console manufacturer, since I have many fond memories of jamming Atari cartridges into my 2600 and pushing that Reset trigger every time I died (which was often). Glad I read this and a handy reference book.
Thiago Henrique Santos
O livro escolhe contar a história da indústria do videogame usando os jogos como base. O resultado é bacana mas ignora quase que completamente a história dos consoles. A exceção é o Atari 2600, que tem um belo destaque embora, de novo, pouco o livro faz para dar detalhes sobre o desenvolvimento do aparelho.

Mesmo assim é um bom livro com uma boa narrativa, recomendo.
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“Nintendo’s standards were exacting. “In terms of game testing they revolutionised the concept,” said Milgrom. “They said zero defects – we will not allow you to release a game that has any bugs in it whatsoever. Now zero defects was an unheard of concept in any other software or on any other gaming platform. Nintendo knew if they were going to sell it in the supermarkets and sell it to mums and dads it had to work off the shelf and had to be flawless. They didn’t want returns. We had to change our programming attitude and the way we developed games, which was brilliant. It was really hard work. If you had a bug in your final version you could miss Christmas because it would take a month for them to go through the testing of the title.” 0 likes
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