The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon - The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World, by Steven L. Kent, is more than just a book with a really long name. It's still the best book I've ever read about video games.
This fantastic book covers video games from its inception until the release of the Playstation II. Kent shows his extensive research with very detailed accounts and descriptions of all major (and minor) events in the industry during this time, generally with direct quotes from the people who took part in the them. The more modern part of this history (late 90's and beyond) begins to feel a bit rushed, but this is 100% worth to read to see how our favorite addiction began to be. Despite being nonfiction, which I admit I sometimes struggle with, Kent's work is not only readable, but enjoyable to read.
My favorite anecdote from The Ultimate History is about one of the guys who would pull the coins out of Atari arcade games each week. One of his stops was in a bar at a college campus. Once the game really took off and he was pulling hundreds of dollars of quarters of the machine, he started started to panic that one night he would get mugged. So he decided to bringing his wife along, who would carry a baseball bat just in case.
It was here that I learned about the very first video game, why video games suddenly had ratings, and that the people at Atari were a very colorful bunch. Whether you think you know everything about video games or not even one thing, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of this wonderful book and get to know an industry that has changed the world!
I give The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon - The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World a very solid 5 stars out of 5 for being the book to which I compare all other books about video games.
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