Video Games FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Games and Gaming Culture

Video Games FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Games and Gaming Culture

by Mark J.P. Wolf


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(FAQ Pop Culture). As their prominence in the news cycle from Gamergate to the burgeoning smartphone market to the VR realm and beyond would indicate, video games and gaming have rocketed from a fairly fringe existence to a central position in the everyday lives of millions. Whether you're a casual reader with an interest in the subject or an experienced gamer scrounging for obscure facts and stories, Mark Wolf's Video Games FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Games and Gaming Culture is an indispensable resource touching on all aspects of this techno-cultural phenomenon. Wolf's info-dense account traces video games from their earliest renditions as blocky abstractions to the photorealistic worlds of the present day, exploring the games, systems, technologies, companies, and inventors who transformed a novelty into a worldwide industry and major imaginative force along the way. In lively prose intended for a general audience, the book examines the many ways video games have entered our lives, impacted popular culture, and evolved through innovations and technological advances. More than just a history, this book, which can be read from cover-to-cover or a stand-alone chapter at a time, is also packed with fun, thought-provoking video game trivia touching on the origins of handheld games, the first first-person shooting games, famous characters named after a landlord and an attorney, the birth of third-party development, and the best and worst selling systems of all time. Whether discussing the pedigrees of games and systems, sequels, franchises, and series, the console wars, the home computer revolution, or leading companies and their strategies, Video Games FAQ serves as a fascinating, concise, and comprehensive window into the past, present, and future of video games and everything connected with them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781617136306
Publisher: Backbeat
Publication date: 06/01/2017
Series: FAQ Pop Culture Series
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 613,887
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Mark J. P. Wolf received his PhD from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, is a professor in the communication department at Concordia University Wisconsin, and is the author or editor of sixteen books on such topics as video games, imaginary worlds, and media technology. He lives in Wisconsin.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction xv

Part 1 Origins

1 What Is a Video Game? Defining Terms 3

2 The "Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device": Goldsmith and Mann's Patent 7

3 Early Mainframe Games: The Making of Spacewar! 9

4 Prototypes for the Home: Baer's Brown Boxes 14

5 Pinball and Electromechanical Games: Arcades Before-Video Games 17

Part 2 An Industry Begins

6 Their Public Debut: The First Coin-Operated Video Games 23

7 Home Console Systems: The First Generation 27

8 Connecting Players: Networked Games on Mainframes 32

9 The Arcade Expands: Early Arcade Video Games 35

10 Separating the Game from the System: The Coming of the Cartridge 42

11 An Industry Crisis: The Crash of 1977 46

Part 3 The Golden Age

12 Home Console Systems: The Second Generation 55

13 Becoming Global: Video Games Spread to Other Countries 65

14 Notable Arcade Games of the Golden Age: Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pac-Man, BattleZone, Defender, and Donkey Kong 69

15 New Technological Innovations: Software and Hardware 81

16 Why Would We Need a Computer? Early Home Computer Games 95

17 More Companies, More Games: The Rise of Third-Party Development 99

18 Portable Gaming: Handheld Game Series and Systems 104

19 Dialing In: Early Online Games and Gaming 109

20 Read All About It: Home Computer Magazines and Video Game Magazines 113

21 No Longer New: The Novelty Wears Off 118

Part 4 Crash and Recovery

22 The Great North American Video Game Industry Crash: 1982-1985 123

23 A Failed Hope: Laserdisc Games 128

24 System Error: The Home Computer Market Stumbles 134

25 Home Console Systems: The Third Generation 137

26 Popular Franchises: The Worlds of Mario and Link 145

27 On to the Next Level: The Industry Recovers 150

Part 5 New Competition for the Arcade

28 Home Console Systems: The Fourth Generation 153

29 King of the Handheld Systems: Nintendo's Game Boy 163

30 New Innovations: At the Arcade and at Home 167

31 Games on Display: The Demoscenes of Europe 181

32 Violence in Video Games: Mortal Kombat and Other Controversies 184

33 The End of an Era: The Decline of the Arcade 187

Part 6 New Generations of Technology

34 Home Console Systems: The Fifth Generation 193

35 Online Gaming Grows: Games and the World Wide Web 202

36 Home Console Systems: The Sixth Generation 210

37 New Handheld Systems: Two Generations 220

38 Do It Yourself: Homebrew Games and Communities 226

Part 7 Global Gaming Culture

39 A Global Pastime: Worldwide Video Game Culture 230

40 Games Evolve: New Kinds of Games and Gaming 235

41 Home Console Systems: The Seventh Generation 247

42 Affecting How We Think: Games and Society 255

43 Remembering the Early Days: Games as Nostalgia 262

44 Games and Academia: Studying Video Games 267

45 Home Console Systems: The Eighth Generation 273

46 Blockbuster Games: Grand Theft Auto and Others 278

Part 8 Future Directions for Video Games

47 All the World's a Game: The Gamification Trend 283

48 Procedural Generation: Algorithmically Created Worlds in Video Games 288

49 Extending User Experiences: New Hardware and Interfaces 295

50 Next Generations: The Future of Video Games 300

Bibliography 305

Index 319

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