Vintage Games Book - Table of Contents

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In the interest of keeping everyone up-to-date with, Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time, we're now releasing the table of contents. With the book "in the can" as it were and on track for its March 2009 release date, now is as good of a time as any. Also, Gamasutra has all but agreed to run the nine bonus chapters, one a month, for nine months, starting in January. The nice thing is that this is content that is truly a bonus, as it will be found nowhere else and has the unique feature of cross referencing and being cross referenced in the book itself, so we're really treading on exciting territory there. We'll also be releasing 90+ images that didn't fit in the book on Armchair Arcade, complete with captions. That will bring total image count between everything to over 600 full color images. Here's that Table of Contents, which I hope for some will already convince you of the value of the material, and for others further pique your curiosity (remember, each of the games in question in the chapter is merely the focal point - we discuss related games both before, during and after the reign of the main game, and include plenty of quotes, references and other content to really round out the reading experience):


Preface

Acknowledgments

Chapter 01 – Alone in the Dark (1992): The Polygons of Fear
Chapter 02 – Castle Wolfenstein (1981): Achtung! Stealth Gaming Steps out of the Shadows
Chapter 03 – Dance Dance Revolution (1998): The Player Becomes the Star
Chapter 04 – Diablo (1996): The Rogue Goes to Hell
Chapter 05 – Doom (1993): The First-Person Shooter Takes Control
Chapter 06 – Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty (1992): Spicing up Strategy in Real Time
Chapter 07 – Final Fantasy VII (1997): It’s Never Final in the World of Fantasy
Chapter 08 – Flight Simulator (1980): Digital Reality
Chapter 09 – Grand Theft Auto III (2001): The Consolejacking Life
Chapter 10 – John Madden Football (1988): Modern Sports Videogames Kickoff
Chapter 11 – King’s Quest: Quest for the Crown (1984): Perilous Puzzles, Thorny Thrones
Chapter 12 – Myst (1993): Launching Multimedia Worlds
Chapter 13 – Pac-Man (1980): Japanese Gumption, American Consumption
Chapter 14 – Pole Position (1982): Where the Raster Meets the Road
Chapter 15 – SimCity (1989): Building Blocks for Fun and Profit
Chapter 16 – Space Invaders (1978): The Japanese Descend
Chapter 17 – Street Fighter II (1991): Would you like the Combo?
Chapter 18 – Super Mario 64/Tomb Raider (1996): The Third Dimension
Chapter 19 – Super Mario Bros. (1985): How High Can Jumpman Get?
Chapter 20 – Tetris (1985): Casual Gaming Falls into Place
Chapter 21 – The Legend of Zelda (1986): Rescuing Zeldas and Uniting Triforces
Chapter 22 – The Sims (2000): Who Let the Sims Out?
Chapter 23 – Ultima (1980): The Immaculate Conception of the Computer Role-Playing Game
Chapter 24 – Ultima Online (1997): Putting the Role-Play back in Computer Role-Playing Games
Chapter 25 – Zork (1980): Text Imps versus Graphics Grues

Bonus Web Chapters
Defender (1980): The Joys of Difficult Games
Elite (1984): Space, the Endless Frontier
Pinball Construction Set (1982): Launching Millions of Creative Possibilities
Pong (1972): Avoid Missing Game to Start Industry
Robotron: 2084 (1982): Running Away while Defending Humanoids
Rogue (1980): Have @ You, You Deadly Z’s
Spacewar! (1962): The Best Waste of Time in the History of the Universe
Star Raiders (1979): The New Hope
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (1999): Videogame Ollies, Grabs and Grinds

Index

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Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time, is now available for pre-order from Amazon (only $23.07 at the moment, US!) and many of the other top national and international retail locations you'd expect:

Keep in mind that the expected release date is roughly March 2009 (the publisher wants it for GDC 2009).
Thanks for all your support and we'll continue to keep everyone updated.

Comments

Mark Vergeer
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A very nice table of contents !

The book is going to be a very interesting read!

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Editor / Pixelator - Armchair Arcade, Inc. | www.markvergeer.nl

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Rowdy Rob
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Looking good!

I like the lighthearted chapter titles. Considering the fact that you had to move some chapters to the web, it looks like you have a fine selection of interesting games that will be covered in the printed book.

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Bill Loguidice
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Bloody
Rowdy Rob wrote:

I like the lighthearted chapter titles. Considering the fact that you had to move some chapters to the web, it looks like you have a fine selection of interesting games that will be covered in the printed book.

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Most of those moved were daggers to my heart, but it's all for a good cause at this point, since the extra monthly publicity should help the book's sales.

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Matt Barton
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News

We just discovered that people are already taking notice of the book!

See Finally: Two New Books About Video Game History Set For Release. The author (good ol' Steve Fulton) even mentions my D&D book and calls Armchair Arcade a "classy" site. :)

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Matt Barton
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argghhh........ The Rough

argghhh........
The Rough Guide to Videogames 1
What do you think? Is it serious competition for Vintage Games? They even have the invader on the cover. This doesn't bode well.
Gamers, Writers, Artists, and Programmers on the Pleasures of Pixels
Ouch...Another near-identical cover.

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Rowdy Rob
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Competition
Matt Barton wrote:

argghhh........
The Rough Guide to Videogames 1
What do you think? Is it serious competition for Vintage Games? They even have the invader on the cover. This doesn't bode well.
Gamers, Writers, Artists, and Programmers on the Pleasures of Pixels
Ouch...Another near-identical cover.

To be straight up.... yes, they definitely look like competition, at least in the commercial sense. And they both look like good books in their own right! More so "The Rough Guide to Videogames" than the other one, as far as direct competition goes.

I checked the Amazon site, and "The Rough Guide to Videogames" seems like a similar book to yours, at least on the surface. On the other hand, I checked the table of contents, and it seems the "A to Z Collection of Games" portion of the book is only 165 pages, and it covers many more games than yours does. That means it cannot possibly cover these games to the in-depth degree that yours will. The book differs from yours in that it has chapters covering the "backstory" of videogame history, the "players" who left their mark on videogaming, and the peripherals of videogaming.

Needless to say, it seems to differ in focus from your book, but it sounds like a good book in its own right. If I really want to read about "Pac Man" or "Flight Simulator," though, it seems clear that I'm going to have to get your book, and not "Rough Guide," which literally sounds like a "rough guide" to the videogames in question.

The other book, "Gamers: Writers, Artists, and Programmers on the Pleasures of Pixels," sounds like a totally different kind of book, being a collection of essays by various notable(?) people expressing how videogames have affected them. This book is totally different, conceptually, and is not straight competition to your book. The "invader" on the front cover is an interesting coincidence, however. This book might make for interesting reading as a companion piece to another videogame book (like yours). It's not a book I'm going to buy (right now), however.

As for "competition," both of these books are available now, so you can check them out for yourselves. But in a few months time, "Vintage Games" will be the newest release, perhaps garnering more attention and eclipsing the other books. And, of course you know, your book is one of several (dozens?) of videogame books covering classic games, so the competition is already out there. But that also means that there must be a considerable market for such books, boding well for "Vintage Games."

On the plus side, the "online bonus chapters" that will be available for your book, which you guys strongly lamented, might turn out to be your "ace in the hole!" What other videogame book has such a deal, where readers from across the globe can read "samples" of your writings? That is strong incentive to buy your book. Plus, the reviews from notable people your book has received is also a major plus!

Nobody writes like you guys, so there really is no "competition." There's no way you guys will have nothing unique to say about videogames, so there's no way the book will "pale" in comparison to the other books. The book itself will be solid. You guys have climbed the mountain, planted your flag, and accomplished something, while the rest of us rednecks sit around drinking beer, watching TV, taking drugs, or whatever. Forget about the "competition," and enjoy the "ego trip" that you're the "elite!" These writers of these other books are kindred spirits, anyway. Of course, we hope your book will be a commercial success as well!

Ok, I can say a lot more (somebody shut me up!), but I gotta go. Bottom line: there's nothing you can do about the "competition," but you guys "manned up" and did your part. I just hope you guys won't become unbearable snobs after the publication of your book. :-)

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Bill Loguidice
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Being real
Matt Barton wrote:

argghhh........
The Rough Guide to Videogames 1
What do you think? Is it serious competition for Vintage Games? They even have the invader on the cover. This doesn't bode well.
Gamers, Writers, Artists, and Programmers on the Pleasures of Pixels
Ouch...Another near-identical cover.

I agree with Rob. The British "Rough Guide" sounds VERY similar, but if you consider the difficulty we had fitting 25 games into 350 pages, they cover hundreds of games as well as a general history of systems and what-not in just over 300 pages. I think that tells you something about their book versus ours (besides the fact that we're writing from a US perspective). In fact, I think of their book as a combination of my previous book, which was focused exclusively on hardware platforms (and which Matt and I should at some point be working on again for Hiive) and that Gamasutra ran excerpts from, and the Vintage Games book, which is focused in depth on the 25 games. The previous book had trouble fitting the first 15 years of history into a normal-sized book, while theirs covers the entire 40 year+ history. Again, that should tell you something about depth (it sounds like each game receives a quick review, so it's more like an encyclopedia on their end). If anything, "Rough Guide" will complement ours and other books that have done the same thing. So, no worries, and as Rob also implies/says, we have good relationships within the community and are also sharing nine unique chapters with the world and over 90 bonus images that didn't fit in the book or are going to be in the online chapters. That's competitive advantage and a way for the book to be judged on its own merits. In fact, it's good that there's so many books like this. I think ours holds up well and has a unique position, despite there being other books that sort of kind of sound similar.

As for the Invader cover, using a Invader on your cover seems to be the new trend these days. I don't think any of us really wanted to go in that direction, but there was no budget for the cover, so it was either that or some stock images, which may or may not have worked well. As it is, I think it at least looks good and won't hurt the book, despite the ubiquity of the concept.

So, good luck to the other guys assuming theirs are good books, as goodness knows it will make it easier to sell future videogame books if others can do well. One of the problems has been that these books don't sell well, so it's often hard to sell concepts to these publishers. The better those books do (that deserve it) and naturally our book does (which I believe does deserve it, but the marketplace will judge) the better it is for the future of more such books in an industry that's hurting (publishing). After all, the all-time best seller is a book from 2001, 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. It's time that was finally challenged.

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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