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Publisher's Summary

Since their arrival in the mid-20th century, video games have become a sprawling, multi-billion dollar business. On an annual basis, the industry is even more profitable than Hollywood. Today’s video games feature stunning, lifelike visuals and complex storylines - but they didn’t start out that way. 

The origin of video games can be traced back to World War II. In the 10 lectures of A History of Video Games, listeners will follow the development of the digital game from its roots in the war room to its proliferation in the 21st-century living room. Taught by journalist, podcast host, and video game historian Jeremy Parish, this lively course will track the tremendous leaps made in computing technology that allowed games to become increasingly sophisticated and the popular trends that pushed the boundaries of technology forward. 

The story of video games is not just about technology. It’s also about popular culture, economics, and globalization. Throughout these lectures, students will learn about the extremely profitable gaming industry, as well as the creative minds and ambitious projects that helped build it - and even encounter a few spectacular failures. Be prepared to: 

  • Witness the precipitous rise and fall of Atari
  • Experience the birth of blockbuster gaming systems like NES and Sega Genesis
  • Learn about the evolution of the console, PC, and portable gaming
  • Explore the creation of iconic game series, such as Mario Bros., Pac-Man, and Pokémon 

From the simple pleasures of Pong to the complex online world of Fortnite, video games have come a long way over the course of seven decades, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Listeners will surely reminisce about their own experience with gaming as they learn more about this exciting industry, phenomenon, and pastime.

©2020 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC.

What listeners say about A History of Video Games

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Worthwhile but not Earth-Shattering!

This offering in the Great Courses series consists of 10 audio lectures presenting the development of video games since their inception in the 1960’s. The material is well organized, with the first episodes following a chronological approach and the final ones dealing with specific themes.

Clearly, the author is passionate and knowledgeable. His approach however pertains essentially to technical and business aspects. Artistic matters are not covered in any depth, save to say that games went from 2D to 3D over time. Social elements are not developed (Why do video games appeal largely to a male audience? Do they impact their users’ academic or personal lives? Do they encourage or sublimate violence? etc.). Also, the point of view is essentially that of the US, and, though there are references to Japan and Europe, the international spread of video games is not discussed.

Overall, this series may be considered only a fair introduction to the topic.

1 person found this helpful

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Great, but condensed, look back

I really enjoyed this lecture series on the history of video gaming. The author/narrator does his best to cover most topics but barely glosses over certain genres and platforms, either because of inexperience in those areas or time constraints. Hardcore gaming historians may not find much new here. But for those wanting to learn more, this is an easy recommendation.

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  • Christian Lawrence
  • 2021-07-04

Very interesting

As someone who enjoys video games, and has been playing them since the old Texas Instrument console back in the 80's, I found this very interesting and educational. I would recommend this to any listener. it's a good piece of history.

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  • DSparks
  • 2021-06-09

Good history of video games

Well researched and well done. What would be nice is an update from 2010 forward!

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  • Patrick A.
  • 2021-06-05

The pauses.......are maddening.

The information is great.


However, the narrator paused after every sentence for just a bit longer than is necessary.




Everyone once in awhile would be no bit deal, but the breaks between sentences become more and more noticeable as it goes on.




It becomes maddening and makes it impossible to get through.


I'd love the same text but in book form.


As is, I had to stop listening.

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  • Satisfied user
  • 2021-04-27

outstanding!

well put together, great overview spanning six decades. great intro for someone new to classic games evolution to today's

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  • Gilbert M. Stack
  • 2021-03-23

Great Topic

Parish provides a quick, if dry, overview of the development of video games. It will interest anyone who has more than a passing interest in the subject, but I was disappointed that the lectures were not more captivating. I listen to a lot of Great Courses books and this one had a subject matter that I expected to enthrall, yet it never fully captivated my attention.

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  • Sal Lazuka
  • 2021-03-14

A walk down memory lane

Recently retired, I was in the arcade business for the last 40 years. This lecture was spot on and I enjoyed it immensely.

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  • Pax
  • 2021-03-10

meh...

Not bad, but not exceptional either. It's what it says. Just a brief summary of video games history.

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  • Patrick McHugh
  • 2021-03-10

Fun easy listen, if this interests you.

I enjoyed this brief history. The amount of time was just right. Even provoked some memories.

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  • Trevor Dailey
  • 2020-12-24

Retronauts Gaiden

A History of Video Games is just that, a history. The timelines don't go into too much history, but is a good overview. Jeremy's narration is what you'd like expect from a podcasting expert. If you're a Retronauts fan, this is the audiobook to listen to.