Slashdot's Coverage of the "Vintage Games" Book: Some Thoughts and Clarifications

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Bill Loguidice's picture

It was with great relief that the Slashdot review of our Vintage Games book went up on Wednesday. With the continued expansion of the World Wide Web and the vast quantity of high quality information resources available, Slashdot doesn't quite have the impact it once had, but it's certainly still an important and valuable site to have in your corner, particularly when you're trying to bring a higher profile to something like this book (in fact, it helped push the book to a sales ranking high of 3,282 on Amazon.com out of millions of products). With minimal qualification, the review was a positive one, rating the book a very high (for Slashdot) 8 out of 10, with the main criticism of our work being some of the images included in the book and their value in illustrating some of the text. Unfortunately in drawing attention to the images the reviewer failed to mention how nice the images are throughout the full color glossy production, and that - certainly in my opinion - it was important in our limited space to use the images as an opportunity to add to the text rather than merely illustrate what was already discussed. And of course I'm particularly proud of including images and the related history not found in any other work of this type.

Anyway, with all of that said, there are over 150 comments to the review (and by extension the book) and counting, and I'd just like to take this opportunity to clarify what "Vintage Games" the book is and isn't. Many of the criticisms of course were of the "why isn't game xyz mentioned?" variety, which we knew was going to be a topic even before we started writing the thing. Ignoring the fact that some of the games that commenters said were missing were mentioned clearly in both the review and the book's table of contents, of the ones that genuinely weren't part of the main 34 games listed, there is of course an explanation. One, is that any work where you're dealing with greater than tens of thousands of items, it's all but impossible to be truly comprehensive, regardless of whether space is limited or unlimited. So, what's the answer? One solution is to take the approach that we did. Assuming that the book's main goal is to discuss the most influential videogames of all time, regardless of release date and platform, all you need to do is identify those that truly fit that criteria. Once you identify those games, you need to weed out the duplicates or the games that influenced others on the list. That's how we got down to 34 games. That number was not intentional, it was just a natural result of the paring down process. Each of the 34 games in total acts as a pivot point for discussion of hundreds of other games, and, by extension, every other game ever made that fits into a particular chapter's focus. For instance, while there may be a specific "Dance Dance Revolution" chapter among the 34, it's really a chapter on performance games. So that means that even though the recently announced "The Beatles: Rock Band" is not specifically mentioned in the book, it is in fact mentioned in the book by extension. So really what "Vintage Games" does is not only inform the reader about the main game and many of the games that preceded it and that may have later drawn influence from it, but also all of the games that are logically related to it. So it's a celebration of gaming's rich history, a walk down memory lane, an attempt at education, and also a way to look at games and gaming in a more interconnected way. So, even though countless hundreds of games are mentioned in the book, in the free online bonus chapters, and in the free online bonus images, it's not about being a catalog, it's about empowerment to know where other games fit, while keeping it all fun, fun, fun.

Finally, I'd like to address the title of the book. No, this was not the title that Matt or I wanted. No, there was nothing we could do about it. Formal definition or not, when people hear "Vintage", they think "old" rather than "fine" or "great" or any of the other connotations. With that said, we made what we were given work in the context of these being vintage games in the sense that the vintage of wine is important. If you ignore the title though, you're left with the book that I explained in the previous paragraph. Sometimes you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, in this case you shouldn't judge a book by its title or subtitle, which mentions "Grand Theft Auto", which of course many commentors screamed "that's not vintage, it's only a few years old". That's of course true if you take "vintage" to mean "old", which as we said we're not in this case. So, for those who dislike the title, I'm with you and I understand why, but you can't let that stop you from getting and enjoying a book that covers all eras gaming and games.

In any case, I'd love to hear your thoughts, so sound off if you wish.

Comments

LarryLaffer (not verified)
Oh come on if they are to

Oh come on if they are to stupid to know what game is and is there, you think they are going to come here and read this? haha, you make me fall out of my chair with this one. People on that site are morons, is why I like coming here to get away from them.

Bill Loguidice
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Expectations
LarryLaffer wrote:

Oh come on if they are to stupid to know what game is and is there, you think they are going to come here and read this? haha, you make me fall out of my chair with this one. People on that site are morons, is why I like coming here to get away from them.

I don't expect anyone to come here and read it, but you figure if some mis-conceptions/perceptions pop up throughout 150+ comments, you figure that others in the world at large might have the same ideas. At the very least it makes me feel better and as a definite positive it's another opportunity to discuss what the book is really about publicly. I truly don't think it's as obvious as it could be.

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Orakio "O Gagá" Rob (not verified)
The book is amazing!

I've bought it, and I'm loving it. I understand that the games that illustrate each chapter serve as a starting point, and that you kind of orbit around it, mentioning the games that influenced it and the ones that were influenced by it. So, while commenting on the DDR chapter, I think they've failed to understand that.

The "Ultima" chapter is really nice. I've never played any of the Ultima games (and basically I've never played any CRPGs), and the chapter really sparked my attention, as I'm an avid console RPG player. I've already set up a good AppleII emulator, and I'll start playing Ultima I soon.

Congratulations, the book is an excellent read!

Bill Loguidice
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Thanks, Orakio, it's always

Thanks, Orakio, it's always great to hear feedback on the book. Don't forget to check out the free online bonus chapters and bonus images too when you're online!

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Matt Barton
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I don't mind the name as

I don't mind the name as much as you do, Bill, though I wish we could have gone for more impact. At any rate, if people still don't get it after reading your highly detailed post, I don't know what else could possibly do the trick! :)

Oh, and at least the invader was right side up. :P

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Matt Barton wrote:

I don't mind the name as much as you do, Bill, though I wish we could have gone for more impact. At any rate, if people still don't get it after reading your highly detailed post, I don't know what else could possibly do the trick! :)

Personally, I also think that the title was somewhat ineptly chosen but I find it more irritating that even in our enlightened times people still judge a book by its cover.
(Ha - always wanted to use that idiom in context!)

take care,
Calibrator

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