Another book from Bill Loguidice has arrived, so that means it’s time for another book review. This time around, Bill partnered with Matt Barton to discuss vintage video game consoles in a book titled – not ironically – Vintage Game Consoles. While not particularly in tune with the overall theme of this website, I can justify doing a review here by saying the CoCo played video games too! That, and it’s my site and I can do what I want .
It must be said I have no earthly idea how the authors set forth to decide which game consoles to include in this book. Whether there was an algorithm they created, picked them out of a hat, or if they based there decisions on total sales figures. Well, it can’t be total sales figues because the Dreamcast is included. Yes, that’s a hit, and I can say that since I still own a Dreamcast. And a Saturn. However, my prized possession, console wise, is a fully functional Sega Genesis with front loading CD and 32x. See, since Zaxxon was released upon the world, I’ve been an unabashed Sega fan, so I can make fun of them. A little… But I digress…
Vintage Game Consoles appears to be a (mostly) linear account of what the authors deem to be the most influential game systems in history. From an nonobjective point of view, I’d say they made really good choices. Nintendo NES? It’s in there. Atari 2600? It’s in there. Mattel Intellivision? Yep. Colecovision, Sega Genesis, Super NES, Game Cube and many more are present and accounted for. With over 400 color pictures, all of the included consoles , all are well represented.
Much of the history of the video gaming industry is covered. There’s even mention of the urban legend turned reality about the buried Atari 2600 E.T. games. Game consoles aren’t the only platform discussed, however. Several arcade games get their own section (you’ll have to read the book to find out which games are covered – not too many spoilers here), along with many of the vintage computer systems known for gaming that receive coverage as well. I was somewhat surprised that the computer coverage is fairly complete.
The only glaring omission is my beloved CoCo. However, Bill receives a pass on that one since he saw to it (along with Boisy Pitre) that the CoCo received a book of it’s own.
The information provided for each platform is pretty complete as well: including approximate sales figures for each console; some of the most popular games for each console; development information; and much more. While not necessarily included in complete coverage, some left out systems do get a special mention. The Sega Master System, Sega Saturn, and Nintendo’s Virtual Boy and several others receive a mention. While they also may get a mention, the complete coverage does not extend to the Xbox 360, PS3 and newer game systems. After all, the title does include the word VINTAGE.
Overall, Vintage Game Consoles is a very well written book. Since it doesn’t include all game consoles, I’m sure there will be disappointed people somewhere complaining that their favorite system was left out. To that I’d say, get a life. I’d image the authors set out to write a concise and informative book about the consoles they deemed to be the most influential ones in the history of the video game industry – not a complete, phone book sized video game system reference. Too that end, they have succeeded in a spectacular fashion.
Vintage Game Consoles is an easy to read, historical account of some pretty awesome game systems for their respective eras. If you are a die-hard video game junkie, or just a casual player; or if you just want to relive some fun childhood moments, this is a very good book to do that with. Regardless of your favorite platform, there should easily be something here for everyone.