2, Issue 11
February 10, 1999
Amazon-sponsored (not) Bookshelf Edition
F goes all literary. Well, kinda...
I had this week's column down as a review of Crazy Taxi
on Dreamcast, but thanks to Her Majesty's Customs & Excise
department, it looks like that isn't going to happen... my apologies
in advance for another "divergent" edition of Pad Happy.
I feel kind of at a loose end, so I think I'll use my space this
week to recommend a number of industry-related books I own (or
have read recently) that regular loonygames readers might appreciate.
note: in the interest of full-disclosure, it should be pointed
out, that while loonygames does not in any way benefit
from the sales of these books (the links to Amazon.com are not
part of any affiliates program) the site is mentioned in one book,
and one book has a chapter written by one of our editors. With
that in mind, I return you to your regularly scheduled Pad Happy.]
column on game testing a while back, I received quite a lot
of feedback from people keen to get into the games industry. It's
difficult to know what to say to people when you don't really
know much about them or their situation, but I think that one
quality that will help anyone is knowing about the history of
the the games industry (especially as it's now old enough that
a large number of gamers - myself included - don't really remember
the advent of classic games like Pong, Space Invaders
and Pac-Man). Someone much wiser than me (although
I'm confident I could whup his ass at Goldeneye) once said,
"Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it".
I think this is increasingly applicable to the games industry,
where we see the same old battles being fought over increasingly
faster generations of hardware, year after year. With that thought
in mind, let's see how we can learn from others' mistakes...
the most famous and widely-read book written about the games industry
Over" by David Sheff. Sheff was a successful freelance
journalist who decided to investigate the Nintendo phenomenon
after his son (like so many of us) became addicted to NES games.
Although first published in 1993, the book remains an essential
read for anyone interested in games because it successfully brings
to life the many personalities that contributed to the success
of Nintendo (including design deity Shigeru Miyamoto) in the early
90's. Whereas the original edition ends with the impending US
launch of the SNES, a recent re-release has several additional
chapters (by a different author) which bring the story much more
not a Nintendo fan (get out!) or if you want a broader overview
of the games industry, J.C.
Herz's "Joystick Nation" (1997) is an entertaining
book, focusing mainly on the Golden Age of videogaming (the late
70's and early 80's). Although you may get the impression J.C.
isn't totally clued-in on the games of today (a section on first-person
shooters doesn't get beyond Doom II), her passion for the
titles of her youth really shines through. The book also takes
an interesting sociological slant by asking what the broader effect
of video games on our society will be (and, for a welcome change,
tends to focus on the positive).