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978-0-07-222428-3 / 0072224282

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About the book:

It's doubtful that anyone who doesn't play video games obsessively would deem them worthy of historical record, but High Score! The Illustrated History of Electronic Games celebrates the fact that electronic games have been around for over 40 years now and, despite the hopes of parents and girlfriends everywhere, they're more popular than ever.

Unfortunately the authors of this impressively thick volume have made their ambitious task, of illustrating the history of video games, easier for themselves by concentrating almost exclusively on US-developed hardware and software. It's a bit like a history of cinema that tries to ignore Hollywood. Indeed the book seems to go out of its way to ignore Japanese and European companies in favour of pages of text on obscure American titles. When even Sony's PlayStation garners only three paragraphs of text and two pages of screenshots it's really time to raise an eyebrow of surprise and suspicion.

There's something of a flaw with the "illustrated" aspect of the book as well, with many titles only shown via gaudy box art instead of actual screen shots. But it's clear that the intention of this book was not to chronicle the history and artistry of video games around the world. It's simply the pet project of a couple of American PC games fans. If you share similar tastes you'll love this book, if not you'd be better advised to try a more inclusive tome such as Steven Poole's Trigger Happy or the more accessible The Ultimate History of Video Games. --David Jenkins

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