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All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture
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All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  678 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Through the stories of gaming's greatest innovations and most beloved creations, journalist Harold Goldberg captures the creativity, controversy--and passion--behind the videogame's meteoric rise to the top of the pop-culture pantheon.

Over the last fifty years, video games have grown from curiosities to fads to trends to one of the world's most popular forms of mass entert
Paperback, 327 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Three Rivers Press (CA) (first published January 1st 2011)
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Feb 16, 2012 rated it liked it
If you have any interest in videogames at all, this book is worth a read. It's not great, but you're bound to run across at least a few anecdotes of which you were previously unaware. This alone may make it worth your while.

Goldberg apparently is not used to operating within the longform story format as he is not really able to construct a cogent overall narrative. Instead the book reads like a series of magazine articles which make only tangential and passing references to one another. It's a p
Dec 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: not-work
May have been too familiar with the subject matter. Read easily, but didn't offer a whole lot which was new, and beyond the anecdotes on situations which brought things into being it didn't have a lot.

Appreciate the dedication and vigor which early pioneers brought to video games, but some events of recent years (I.e. Minecraft) continue to reinforce for me the notion that we can't accurately predict success. As we enter into the VR era, this may become more and more dated.
Andy Gavin
Oct 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
This new addition to the field of video game histories is a whirlwind tour of the medium from the 70s blips and blobs to the Facebook games of today, with everything in the middle included. Given the herculean task of covering 45+ years of gaming history in a completely serial fashion would probably result in about 4,000 pages, Goldberg has wisely chosen to snapshot pivotal stories. He seizes on some of the most important games, and even more importantly, the zany cast of creatives who made them ...more
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
My beef with Harold Goldberg's book is not with its content, but rather with its execution. "All Your Base Are Belong to Us" is a perfect title for this interesting essay that takes thematic risks that will have true video game fans shaking their heads. Halo influencing the Grand Theft Auto series? Shadow Complex as the end-all, be-all of the next generation of downloadable gaming? And don't even get me started about the stretches in allusions, meant as love letters to geek culture that ultimate ...more
Aug 12, 2016 rated it liked it
I've been spoiled by the likes of The Digital Antiqurian, who combines excellent writing with in-depth analysis of the history of computer and video games. So, while All Your Base is filled with interesting ancedotes covering the creation of some seminal games, it was hard not be distracted by the akward, over-projecting (the amount of times he tells "you" how you feel playing a certain game really began to grate) writing, liberally sprinkled with straining, irrelevant pop-culture/gaming-culture ...more
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
Not actually that great; it's really a fairly disjointed articles (chapters) about various videogame personalities. Despite the subtitle, there is no thesis or attempt to actually demonstrate that video games have 'conquered pop culture'. I guess by giving us the backstories behind a dozen or two people who designed videogames, the author assumed we would come to that conclusion.

The prose is pretty tiresome too; there are lots of painful analogies that rely on the authors' personal experiences w
Sep 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Terrible. Harold Goldberg's writing style is reminiscent of a Barnard freshman. It is honestly hard to imagine how someone can take something as interesting and as easily documented (given that the vast majority of the players are still alive) as the history of videogames and still manage to produce a volume that is so trite and difficult to follow. Sometimes it seemed that Goldberg had "edited" out a sentence but then forgotten that others referred to it. Towards the end of the book, his main f ...more
Mar 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Let's face it, this book was written horribly. However, its value lies not in literary merit.

This is a book that contains many stories: the stories of those who created some of the most important video games and video game companies in history. If you ever wondered about the origins of games like Myst, Phantasmagoria, Tetris, World of Warcraft, The Sims, or maybe even Super Mario himself, you're in luck.

Anyone who's curious about the history of Video Games will appreciate the work put into findi
Allison Ann
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: loaner
Three stars for content, not for writing unfortunately. Interesting read.
May 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: techno-brain
I would give this four stars - it's engaging and a good overview of pop culture history - but I wasn't enamoured of the writing style.

I'm not really a gamer. This is by choice because strategy and sim games are like crack or online gambling to me (not shooters, those aren't very interesting to my brain) - I can't stop once I start. The first time I played Civilization II with my then-boyfriend we were up for 36 hours straight to finally "win" it in some capacity. Rollercoaster Tycoon and SimCity
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
In this somewhat misleadingly-titled book, All Your Base Are Belong To Us takes readers on a behind the scenes look at the making of several big games that really made an impact on the industry as a whole. From Mario to World of Warcraft, Goldberg portrays intimate accounts on the blood, sweat, and tears it took for some famous developers to realize their dreams and make the products which changed the face of gaming through the years.

It took me a few chapters to get into the format of this book,
Nicole G.
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011, video-games
I thought (since I still play lots of older titles) that All Your Base would appeal to my retro sensibilities. As far as the history of this topic, I knew some broad strokes going in, which, admittedly, wasn’t much. However, in his introduction, Harold Goldberg purports to tell the story of landmark instances in the history of video games, as well as why they have affected popular culture so much. He claims the book is for core and casual gamers alike. Did he succeed in reaching both (or either) ...more
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I do not yet have the physical book (Amazon estimates the delivery date to be between Tuesday September 11 and Wednesday September 26, 2012) but I have been reading what I can on the Amazon preview and Google Books. I've gotta say, so far I'm disappointed.

The subtitle for this book is "How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture." Maybe the 'conquer pop culture' part is hidden in the parts that I do not yet have access to, but so far the book is just an overview of the history of video
David Kirschner
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
I both liked this book a lot and hated it. I liked it because, overall, the history of the development of video games as a medium is well told. It's a fascinating story, and Goldberg obviously conducted a ton of research and interviews to write this. However, I didn't like it because the writing is painful. He uses the word "nerd" or a variant (nerdy, nerdish, etc.) about three times per page. If you play games, you are a nerd. If you make games, you are a nerd. Nerds like girls and big boobs. I ...more
Steven Kent
I am always surprised when I see how the hardcore gaming crowd judges books. Some of the hardcore crowd appreciates new insights. Some seem threatened by authors who present new information. These guys snoop around for some insignificant error and then rave and rave about how those errors ruins the entire book and you shouldn't trust a word the author utters.

Harold Goldberg wrote a good, solid book about the workings of the video game industry. Goldberg, and Goldberg alone, has traveled inside R
Aug 28, 2015 rated it liked it
This is ok, but there are much much better options out there.

To be clear, this is simply a history with stories from the world of video game design and publishing. There is absolutely nothing in it about the effects of video games on popular culture. The subtitle is entirely misleading.

The prose is filled with metaphors and similes which don't make sense but only seem to be added to make the author seem hip.

There isn't anything new in the text that those who know a little bit about video game hi
Jun 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
Lacked oomfph. Writing was subpar, no linear progression within the chapters made it difficult and irritating to follow the story. You could tell where he had personal insight was where he wrote best, which isn't saying much. I expect there are better books on this subject out there, and that one day I will read one that will blow this title out the water. Still, enjoyable for what it was – a quick read for the commute to work (aka, not particularly engaging, took my time, never missed my stop).
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
As a history of video games and the industry goes, this isn't too bad. The author did plenty of research and conducted interviews with many of the subjects he discusses; good on him.

I guess I was thrown off by the subtitle, "How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture." I was expecting more of an analysis of how pop culture has been influenced by video games and vice versa. Instead it's pretty much a straight-up history of the rise (and fall) of certain influential companies and game de
Roland Bruno
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
A welcome and expansive history of the industry. Having lived and played through the entirety of the history of video-games, and having read other such titles, this book suffers from "Been there, read that" syndrome. If you have never read a history of video-gaming I would recommend this but if you've already been down this path you can safely bypass. I picked it up based on reading a glowing review which sold me on it and like many similar reviews on the games themselves, it was over-hyped.
Nov 01, 2011 rated it liked it
It is a good book, but it has some strange topic choices. Ignore the iPhone game industry and write about a specific Xbox live game is a weird choice in my opinion. Also, i believe that writing a book about video-games ignoring companies like Sega is like omitting part of the history.

In the end, I consider this book entertaining. If you love video-games, you'll probably enjoy this book.
Dec 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Full of great tidbits of information on the world of video games. If you are a person that is interested in learning more about the people behind some of the greatest games of the madden era, this is the book for you. Learned a lot more about the companies and the people that creat video games.
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great read, sorry I did not review this sooner so people pick it up.
Mohammed Al-Garawi
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very comprehensive account of the history of video games. An absolute must read for video games enthusiasts.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Which game virtually ensured every subsequent PC came with a CD-Rom? Why do video game-based movies suck so badly? Which horror game's maker's parent company was a Christian broadcaster?

Even if you're not a gamer, like me, there's names in this book that will jump out at you - Myst, Phantasmagoria (which did scare the bejeezus out of me. That cat, man, that cat.), Crash Bandicoot, Warcraft, etc and that's what this book is about - how did these games, going back to Pong and the rise and fall of
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book on a whim, video game history really intrigues me, and it was really interesting.

I don't think the author makes incredibly compelling arguments for some of the games he chose over other equally prominent ones from similar time period, but this aside it was a fascinating exploration of the early years to 2011 in video gaming.

The book is rather dated now, so there is some significant trends in modern video gaming it misses, but even so I found the birth of Mario and Nintend
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Ever since the 1940s, when a scientist hacked an oscilloscope to mimic the patterns of a bouncing ball, programmers have been using technology to create interactive simulations, leading in an unbroken line from Pong to MMOs. Along the way, our collective fascination with videogames has ebbed and flowed, buffeted by the tides of capitalism, technological breakthroughs and the occasional, random appearance of a creative genius. Harold Goldberg, who has worn various insiders' hats during the last f ...more
Jordi Armora
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is clearly for a specific group to read, if you are interested in videogames, like really into it so this is for you. I had a pretty good time when I was reading it.
Rene Signoret
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Is interesting and relaxing. There are some inaccuracies though.
Chip Hunter
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it
I was so excited to read this book, supposedly about video games and how they influenced our culture! Unfortunately, the main focus turned out to be about video game designers, not about video games themselves, and certainly not about how our culture has been influenced by those games. While I was looking forward to a nostalgic trip down memory lane (reliving those games which had such a powerful influence on me personally, and which I still remember so well), instead I was treated to a detailed ...more
Aug 15, 2014 rated it liked it
A journalistic take on fifty years of video game history. At its core, this book is a series of snippets of said history with some special attention towards those who took some time to speak with Goldberg about their developments. Some of it can be quite interesting while other chapters may become a bit tedious, but one thing Goldberg does well here is cover his bases. Not many genres are neglected in this book. You have some landmark games that are talked about, going from the first blips on th ...more
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Harold Goldberg is the author of ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US: How 50 Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture, a narrative history of video games, coming on April 5, 2011 from Random House. It has been excerpted in Vanity Fair and featured on NPR's Morning Edition.

He is the founder of the New York Videogame Critics Circle, a group comprised of New York's finest videogame journalists.

He curren
“Unabashedly, Yokoi said, “The Nintendo way of adapting technology is not to look for the state of the art but to utilize mature technology that can be mass-produced cheaply.” 0 likes
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