Each week on Twitch and Alpha, hosts Erika Ishii and Trisha Hershberger talk video games with special industry guests, insightful coverage and a ton of audience interaction on our show Game Engine. Be sure to tune in every Tuesday starting at 4 PM PT to learn about what’s new and cool in the world of video games.
Last week I took a look at old video game consoles, like the Atari and the Intellivision, that are coming back through updated designs and modernized technology. These systems are pretty well known due to their popularity and advancements they made at the time of their release, but there are also a bevy of consoles that never really made it into the spotlight despite their contributions to gaming world. If you’re as curious and enthusiastic about video games as I am, then you should totally check out Even Amos’ book, The Game Console.
According to Even, “It all started with Wikipedia.” Being an amateur photographer and enjoying reading about consoles, he was always troubled by the quality of the photographs on Wikipedia. Due to the fact that Wikipedia requires images to be under a free license, most images were uploaded by Wikipedia’s own editors who often did not have the resources to take good photos.
Evan started taking photos of his own systems to replace the unfortunate images the site provided and if you search for any particular console on Wikipedia, you’ll most likely see his name on the images there. Once Evan finished with his own collection, he began reaching out to other gamers; asking if he could document their consoles as well. Eventually, he ran a successful Kickstarter to help fund his passion which evolved into The Game Console book.
The book covers the history of video game systems broken down into chapters for each generation of console, from the Magnavox Odyssey which released in 1972 all the way up to the Steam Link which came out in 2015. Inside these chapters, each console is presented with a clean, crisp glamour shot, an exciting interior breakdown, and a short, sweet chunk of information that illustrates how each system played its part in making video games one of our favorite pastimes.
I had never heard of many of the earlier systems like the Entex Adventure Vision (1982) or the Magnavox Odyssey (1972) and some of the details about these gaming systems were truly fascinating. One such example is the fact that some systems overcame the limitation of their simplistic graphics and lack of colors by providing gamers with static cling overlays that you would stick to your television screen. Imagine having to stick a colored film to your screen just to play your favorite game! Facts like this really struck me as I had no idea the kinds of innovations that early designers came up with to entertain us.
Even Amos’ The Game Console is not an exhaustive, scholarly tome of video game information that threatens to put the reader to sleep, but instead an entertaining gallery that points at moments in our technological history. The beautiful photography honors each system and allows us to celebrate how the video game industry has struggled and evolved over the past 40 years. If you love video games and are curious how the industry came to be, then you’ll probably have a blast reading The Game Console.
What is your favorite classic video game system? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to tune into Game Engine on Twitch and Alpha for more video game goodness every Tuesday starting at 4PM PT.
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Hailing from New York, Jessica Fisher is a writer, artist, and all around geek. In addition to Geek & Sundry, she writes for Gameosity.com and produces the Gameosity Reviews Youtube Channel. Find her talking about all things geeky on Twitter as @miniktty.
Image Credits: Evan Amos/The Game Console