Thorough thoughtful Look At The History of Video Games

Elizabeth Los

5 Stars

December 7, 2017

Unlike my son, I don't take what I read as immediate truth. I like to check things out. That's how I started out with this book. But as I flipped from one page to the next, I found true and interesting history about the start of what eventually would lead to the creation of the video gaming industry. This book goes alllllllll the way back to the mid 19th Century and works from there. Chapter 1 covers the evolution to cathode ray tubes. Covering investors, scientists, and physicists such as  Heinrich Geissler, Sir William Crookes,  and Karl Ferdinand Braun. That farther back than I'd expected with a history of video games. Still, it makes for an interesting read to learn how they arrived at the CRT. 

The book covers early computers, gaming systems and such. One part that caught my eye was when covering the oscilloscope. According to the author, on December 7th a large blip was noted on the oscilloscope and was reported, only to be explained as friendly B-17 fliers. Unfortunately, that blip turned about to be Japanese fighters and dive bombers. 

A book on video games would not be complete without the mention of Alan Turing. And this book, though briefly, did do him justice to his importance in history. But the history doesn't stop there. The book covers the earliest video games, such as the Cathode Ray Amusement Device. An interesting, yet primitive game. I'd like to see what kids these days think of something like that. What's nice is that the author covers just about everything I could think of: Atari, Arcades, computer games, console systems, handhelds. He even mentioned games I'd forgotten. 

When I was a kid, we had a text-only game. It was a haunted house and you'd received a description on the screen along with some options. Such as, you're in the living room. To the left is a door, to the right is a window. In front of you is a desk. And you'd tell the computer to go right, left or maybe open the door or desk. I loved that game. I could even see the house in my mind. Zork was another game that was similar, though I played more of the updated Zork Nemesis. And shareware? That made me laugh. I'd completely forgotten that Doom used to be shareware.

This is a thorough, and thoughtful look at how video games came to be. What makes this book even more special is that it's all done in comic book style. So for a 10-12-year-old, this would hold their attention more than if it were a chapter book. The illustrations in here are colorful, attention-grabbing and work well with the text. Not only is the comic well done, it includes video game characters throughout that the kids will recognize. I think they'll find this book a really interesting read. I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest opinion.