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Replay: The History of Video Games

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4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,002 ratings  ·  99 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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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Rob
Executive Summary: This book doesn't offer the depth of history that some of the others I've read do, but what it lacks in depth it makes up for in its breadth. If you want a higher level history of video games, this may be a better choice that some of the other books out there.

Audiobook: Gary Furlong does exactly what I want from a nonfiction narrator. He reads clearly with good pacing and inflection without getting in the way of the book. It does seem apparent he's not familiar with some of the concep/>
...more
Brendan Monroe
I'm sure this would be a lovely book if it were more interesting. It might be my lack of interest in the subject matter that is to blame for that, though.

I didn't finish this one - not even close - because it soon became clear that you had to have at least a working knowledge of video games to really appreciate it. This isn't a book for beginners, and that's fine, so long as you know that going in.
Ali Adjorlu
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing
Diz
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, video-games
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 dep
...more
Kristopher Kerwin
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Will read that one again because I just love hearing about this stuff. This book is packed with extremely interesting information about how many block buster games came to be. For a lot of them, when the writer starts talking about a new story, you have no clue about which game this is going to be. Then bit by bit you see where he’s going and bam! You understand that these mega hits were often huge risks with uncertain futures. I also really enjoyed how far back he went. Born in 1985, I ...more
Maurício Linhares
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just the fact that this book goes and talks about the gaming communities out of the US and Japan should be reason enough for you to read it if you're interested in the history of video games, but it also talks about the obscure games that influenced the world we live in right now, the now unknown people that made this universe that we live in for a considerable part of our time.

This book covers a HUGE amount of content, from the beginnings to nowadays, full of interesting anecdotes a
...more
Dkettmann
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a great walk down memory lane. With the added bonus of hearing about the business world and decisions that were made during the time I was about 10 years old, but lurked behind the industry I loved and still love. If you were an arcade kid or the 80's or begged mom or dad for an Atari 2600 or Nintendo, this book will help you relive those days.
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...
Allan Olley
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating look at electronic games of all types, but focusing on computer games and those played on home game consoles (some authors take video games to mean only console games whereas this book takes the term to be inclusive of computer games and other electronic games). It starts with the usual beats about early experiments such as Tennis for two and Space War and the rise of Atari. However even here it notes a lot of other lesser known coin-op and home console companies in the 197 ...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 c
...more
Erik
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I lived through the bulk of the history recounted in the book. I missed the early days of Pong and some of the earliest games played in universities and arcades, but by the early 80s, I was right there with the Atari 2600, Infocom text adventures, Sierra Online, Ultima, the Nintendo Entertainment System, Doom, and so forth.

I was familiar with and had even played half or more of the games talked about, so this was a nice stroll down memory lane for me. I don't know if a person who had not lived
...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.
Stephen
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Video games emerged in the late 20th century as a completely novel form of entertainment. Replay recounts the history of how programming experiments and text-based adventures were transformed first into a new hobby with widespread juvenile appeal, then a serious platform for storytelling, and then ..became ubiquitous.

This Replay is comprehensive, covering consoles, arcade machines, and home computers; it is also international, examining games/platform developments in Japan, Korea, Russia,
...more
Daniel Carr
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I began my research about the history of video games with this book and it basically ended here. Every book certainly has its limitations - it cannot comment on and mention everything, especially in a field as rich, widespread, and decentralized as video games. But truly, this book does an outstanding job presenting a full and broad perspective of how video games came into existence and into cultural prominence.

What I enjoyed were the many quotations from famous individuals describin
...more
Balthasaar
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, business
This book is incredibly niche, but I REALLY dug it.
I knew isolated segments of the start of Atari and the crash of '83, but this book gives the context of how those puzzle pieces fit into the larger global fabric of video-games.
and the global aspects are the best part of this book. You expect this book to cover how events taking place in the US & Japan impacted each other and shaped the business, but I was amazed to discover how regional quirks of the early tech culture in Englan
...more
Scott
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
There’s a lot of great stuff here about the history of innovative games around the world that sets it apart from other video game books and makes it a worthwhile read. I listened to the audiobook so I’m not sure of the timeline is any clearer in the print version. I was just frustrated that only some of it is in chronological order while other parts are in geographical, genre, or franchise order. Confusingly, tech like Nintendo’s Power Glove wasn’t brought up until discussing Nintendo’s Wii deve ...more
Brian
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book starts out very dense! The 70's and early 80's are rich with detail about the systems and games that were being produced. It seemed like a well focused pattern, talking about a new system and then the games that helped popularize and move forward the future of video games.

I was most interested in the late 80's to the early 2000's and as soon as the NES got introduced it started to get fuzzy and loose. Games and systems were talked about on top of each other with little rega
...more
Steve Alcorn
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm not particularly interested in playing video games, but I am interested in their development. This book did a great job of describing the progression from the very earliest mini-computer games through modern games from the 2000s. It's particularly interesting to see the various phases, and how each generation influenced the next, sometimes in unexpected ways.

The book does a good job of including all the different nationalities of developers, and I can't imagine it omits very many games from
...more
Amy
Replay was a wonderful overview of the international history of video games. As several other reviews have noted, basically the entire is comprised of overviews of situations, circumstances, companies, and people that could easily have books of their own, but Replay is about the broad strokes understanding of how modern video games came to be, not the details of specific individuals and companies. My favorite part of this book is how expansive the scope was, and I now feel like I have a better u ...more
Hugo Guzman
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
The history of Video Games is a great book because it tells us the history of the games that are so addicting now and days and sometimes even distracts us from our daily lives and how and why the first "classic video games" hooked the players then and how its been passed down and evolved from generation to generation it started with a simple game in the 70's that plugged into your tv and you got to control two blocks just hitting each other to now having these video games that almost look real l ...more
Lindsay
Ok, overall, the book is interesting, I just realized that I'm not as interested in video games as I thought I was. I did learn a lot reading this book and feel like I have a whole bunch of new anecdotes for parties. One struggle that I had with the book was the timeline jumping back and forth. Given that the history is pretty dense, and telling it all in a linear fashion would be very difficult, it makes sense to take one story and tell it, then rewind and take another story and telling, and so ...more
Melanie
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
A very interesting summary of the history of videogames, their evolution, the rise and fall of several consoles and companies and a brief mention of some of the most relevant games that marked generations of gamers. I feel that some podcasts do an equally good job at doing what this book has done, but I can't deny that it has its merits in aggregating all the information in a single place. A great reading for people who grew up playing video games and are in it for the nostalgia.
Diogo Muller
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, videogames
This review is for the audiobook version.

This book tells the history of personal computers and video-games, in a broad - but not too deep - way. There's a lot of content here, from the first games on giant university computers, to consoles and modern PCs, and not only focused on the US, but also telling about how videogames evolved on Europe and Japan too! It's a fascinating read for anyone who likes games.
Fabian Castro
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Awesome book, really goes into the historic details that made video games possible. Makes you feel in the 1990's again, although a little rushed near the end, it's not as thorough, but it works good enough. It's kind of complex to put so many different types of video games into one book, and it can get confusing, since it isn't a linear book.
Gregory Rothbard
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Replay was a fascinating look into the computer game world that I missed out on. I wish I would have made time to play more video games. But, this book showed me the creative construction of "ready player one" like worlds. I am thankful that Tristan Donovan took his time to research this world so thoroughly and engaging.
Thomas
A comprehensive history. In fact it covers so much ground that, near the end, it started to get monotonous; one damn game after another, so to speak.

I think it’s appeal, to me was when I could say “Yeah, I remember that game.” If you’re really into video games this book is for you.
Carol J
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good book! Lots of history on video game development. It made me want to hunt down some old systems and play the old stuff. Felt like I was waking through the arcade of my memory. The ending was a bit abrupt, howeveR. I was hoping for a bit more and didn’t want it to end!
Maggi Andersen
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A thorough, entertaining history of the video game industry, from it's humble beginnings to (almost - it needs an update) the present day. I enjoy Donovan's writing style, and his books are always so well researched. I just wish they were better edited. Still, a fascinating, worthwhile read.
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!
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.
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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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