When I decided I was going to be a professional book critic, I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be getting free books just to say some (hopefully) kind words. And yet here I am staring at this beautiful Comic Book Story of Video Games, telling myself this is exactly what to get a nerd for Christmas.
Let’s get to the point: For a long time, video games were for nerds. And while in the last 20 or so years they’ve grown in the public’s affection, they were developed by and originally sold to nerds.
Not that there’s anything wrong with.
Nerds are pretty cool people. I know, and though I don’t self-describe as one–I have plenty of friends that are nerds. Hell, two of my bandmates in my death metal band are nerds.
So the idea behind telling the history of video games in the form of a comic book has to be pure brilliance.
If not downright nerdy 🙂
But let’s get on with this review.
Written by Jonathan Hennessey, author of numerous nonfiction graphic novels, this comic book, or dare-I-say graphic novel, features some pretty nerdy artwork by Jack McGowan.
Not to say there’s anything wrong with that.
Rather, the whole nerd concept lends itself pretty darn well into what is truly an absorbing history.
Video games were essentially created on college campuses from the 40s-60s, bursting out of the gate right along with the PC, to the point where their histories are practically inseparable.
While the story itself is rather dry, hackers decide they can make money, the real heart of the story is how popular the gaming world became in such a short time.
Written off in early marketing attempts as unsellable, the video game industry exploded by the mid-90s of the back of the popular NES and Sega game consoles.
What started out as a million dollar industry quickly bloomed into a multi-billion dollar business, making quite a few nerds rather wealthy.
The comic book has all of your expected heroes and games, featuring such geniuses as Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Donkey Kong, as well as Nolan Bushnell and Larry Rosenthal.
It also features surprise of all surprises Steve Jobs, who got his start working for a video game manufacturer.
But the real stars of the story are the video games themselves. Making an appearance are early hits Asteroids, Pac-Man, and the ever loveable Dragon’s Lair, just to name a few.
There are some minor qualms to be found in the book. While most of the attention is devoted to the Western side of the world, Japan gets short-sighted in their own contributions.
Yes, there’s mention of the illegal game businesses in the Easter Island, but hardly any attention gets paid to such rich stories such as the history of the Final Fantasy series.
Nor is their much mention of my own personal favorite aspect of video games, which is music.
But on the whole, this book is rather solid in its exhaustive details. At times feeling like a graphic novel adaption of the super-awesome TV movie Pirates of Silicone Valley, there’s plenty of ripe literature. Some of the highlights are the battle for dominance in the emerging market as well as the punk rock DIY attitude of early developers.
And yes, the book is quite nerdy.
Pick it up for Christmas and tell a nerd you love them, because chances are, they’ll love you for getting this.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review