Book Review: The History of Video Games by Charlie Fish

Publisher: Pen & Sword, Whiteowl
Format: ebook
Release Date: March 31st, 2021
Genre: Non-Fiction – History

Rating: 3/5 Stars

The History of Video Games is a short book, giving more of a broad overview of video games than anything too incredibly detailed. And it works well for an overview, with sections dedicated to particular personalities, and a chapter discussing gender in games, paying particular attention to the issues with gender and Gamer Gate.

The majority of the information in here is pretty well known, with long-time video game fans likely knowing it already, just from being in that world. Plus, if, like me, you’re 30+ and lucky enough to grow up with consoles, most of this you would have absorbed by being in the world when most of these consoles were released.

Some of the stats are interesting, but for the most part the first two sections of this book were largely dry. I did like learning about the earliest forms of games, but I think I prefer these sort of books when there’s more of a personality behind them, and it lets you in on the author’s relationship with the subject matter, too.

I also don’t know the criteria for the “Personalities” section, but this section was heavily male dominated, and it would have been great to see a few folks in there who weren’t men. Overall, this is a hard sort of book to do right – there’s some interesting elements to it, but the majority of information feels like repetitive if you’ve watched a single documentary on the industry. It also isn’t quite inclusive enough to reach outside a gaming audience, though it might make a good gift for someone who is perhaps just getting into video games or a bit on the younger side.

Thank you to Pen & Sword for providing me with this ebook via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Views remain my own.

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