Read Joystick Nation: How Videogames Ate Our Quarters, Won Our Hearts, and Rewired Our Minds by J.C. Herz Online


In a scant fifteen years, video and computer games have grown into a $6-billion-a-year global industry, sucking up ever-increasing amounts of leisure time and disposable income. In arcades, living rooms, student dorms, and (admit it) offices from Ohio to Osaka, video games have become a fixture in people's lives, marking a tectonic shift in the entertainment landscape.Now,In a scant fifteen years, video and computer games have grown into a $6-billion-a-year global industry, sucking up ever-increasing amounts of leisure time and disposable income. In arcades, living rooms, student dorms, and (admit it) offices from Ohio to Osaka, video games have become a fixture in people's lives, marking a tectonic shift in the entertainment landscape.Now, as Hollywood and Silicon Valley rush to sell us online interactive multimedia everything, J. C. Herz brings us the first popular history and critique of the video-game phenomenon. From the Cold War computer programmers who invented the first games (when they should have been working) to the studios where the networked 3-D theme parks of the future are created, Herz brings to life the secret history of Space Invaders, Pac Man, Super Mario, Myst, Doom, and other celebrated games. She explains why different kinds of games have taken hold (and what they say about the people who play them) and what we can expect from a generation that has logged millions of hours vanquishing digital demons.Written with 64-bit energy and filled with Herz's sharp-edged insights and asides, Joystick Nation is a fascinating pop culture odyssey that's must-reading for media junkies, pop historians, and anyone who pines for their old Atari....

Title : Joystick Nation: How Videogames Ate Our Quarters, Won Our Hearts, and Rewired Our Minds
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780316360074
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 230 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Joystick Nation: How Videogames Ate Our Quarters, Won Our Hearts, and Rewired Our Minds Reviews

  • Raj
    2019-05-11 07:33

    I found this going cheap in the perpetual book sale in my University Library. It's a pop-history of video games that was published in 1997 which, given the rate of development of computers, makes it practically medieval. Even so, it was an interesting read, covering the development of games from the very early mainframe games through the arcades of the '80s right up to the newest consoles of the time (the N64 and Sega Saturn).The book was written by an American and so focusses very much on North America, missing some of the developments that happened on this side of the Atlantic, particularly, I feel, in the '80s when the 8-bit computers such as the BBC, C64 and Spectrum were so popular here. It covers several sociological trends that were probably transnational and still makes for interesting reading, even if it is heavily biased towards the US.What I found slightly odd about the book is that the author did seem to mostly consider gaming to be an occupation for children, but then the 20- and 30-somethings who play games now were kids when the book was written and the games industry itself wasn't as mature as it is now, when it caters to all ends of the market (the best example of a girl-oriented game that the author could come up with was Ms Pacman!).Also, the book came out just when games on CD-ROM were starting to become popular for PCs, but the PC gaming market still hadn't really taken off, so focussed a lot on consoles, although the chapter on the "military-entertainment complex" was interesting (basically suggesting that most of the development into game graphics and complexity came from the military).I found the tone of the book quite odd. It had footnotes and references to academic papers all over the place, but the narrative tone was distinctly personal and popular, even throwing in the odd swearword, perhaps to be 'edgy'. It mostly worked but sometimes the juxtaposition was somewhat jarring.Overall, this was an interesting, if somewhat dated, history, from a trans-Atlantic point of view. I'd be interested in reading a more up-to-date edition, and one written from a British perspective.

  • earthy
    2019-04-26 10:12

    Really interesting and fun history of video games. Dated by now, of course, as we've come a long way since Nintendo 64, but the nostalgia and snark are fun. My only real peeves were the section on violence in video games (I find it hard to believe that there was NO research in the mid-90s showing the relationship between violence and video games--not that people aren't capable of blowing it out of proportion, but there IS a correlation) and the real lack of any in-depth discussion of gender and video games (she does briefly look at it, but basically brushes it off in the end with a surprisingly jovial, Well, all the good games are for guys and yeah, that sucks, but whatever).The end was also rather abrupt without any real, overall conclusion drawn.Still a fun read, but I'd love to see an updated version that explores a wider variety of facets of gaming and gaming culture.

  • Tama Wise
    2019-05-14 07:25

    Ok so I really picked this one up mostly on a nostalgia bender. I remember when all these games came out, even though I was a tiny kid at the time. Nothing much here that I didn't already know but a fun read, if not perhaps a wee tiny bit ranty at points.Really enjoyed reading about Ultima. I followed those games rather religiously on my c64 and onto the PC.

  • Amar Pai
    2019-05-03 10:15

    I was intrigued by this book's premise & picked it up eagerly a while back. Given how ubiquitious video games have become, I think it's not implausible that they've had some impact on the way we view the world. Like in Aliens when the guy freaks out and keeps stammering "GAME OVER MAN, GAME OVER!". Not the most subtle example, but you know what I mean. In addition to reading about the cultural and social effects of video game saturation, I also was looking forward to hearing some crazy stories and learning more about the people who made all the classics (Defender, Myst, etc.) Unfortunately, "Joystick Nation" book just doesn't go into enough detail to be interesting. Herz is prone to glibly tossing off dubious assertions about our generational consciousness, cultural mores, etc. etc., without arguing for these assertions in a coherent or convincing manner. She makes all sorts of claims about how video games have changed us, but rarely backs them up with any detail. After reading the book (it goes by fast but not because it's so fascinating; rather, it's just so flimsy that you can't help finishing it quickly), I felt like I'd just read the first draft of a sort-of-well-written but lazy college paper. The breezy, conversational style would be ok if Herz had deep or funny things to say, but she doesn't. It's frustrating because Herz superficially acts like she thinks video games are important and interesting enough to really explore in depth, yet her writing and analysis are so flimsy that you're left thinking that the subject isn't truly worthy of consideration. Herz's breathless yammering about her brother's use of the word 'kablooie' is typical of the book's style-- it's kind of cute but I just didn't relate or care. She meets the guy who wrote Defender, but instead of asking him insightful or amusing questions, she just goes on and on about how, like, TOTALLY COOL it was to meet the dude. (It's like Ray Romano's dad says on "Everybody Loves Raymond" -- "I could've eaten a bowl of alpha-bits and crapped a better interview.")"Joystick Nation" isn't all bad-- Herz is at least readable, and she occasionally has an interesting idea or two-- but it's not worth the cover price. My advice is to save your money and wait for someone to give the subject the level of attention it deserves-- or at least tell a better story.

  • Adil
    2019-04-24 06:36

    I never finished this book - it was too outdated and didn't hold my interest once I reached the "modern" section of the book. I suppose that's a reflection of the tech industry: a book that is a mere fifteen years old is already completely out of date!The book had some good insight into the previous history of computers and arcades, but it considered the Nintendo 64, which has already been relegated to the bargain bin of videogame history, as a cutting-edge console (the book was published in 1997, for reference).Perhaps an updated version of this book could offer more insights into the continuing trends of videogames, such as mobile games which have brought many new "casual" players into the mix, and the transformation of game systems into entertainment centers. I would certainly be interested to read about those trends!

  • Katie
    2019-05-15 05:14

    There's a fair amount of interesting historical stuff in here, and I liked the writer's style at first, but halfway through it descends into opinions about her personal feelings on games rather than actual data, trends, or anything like that. Too bad, the early chapters are good.

  • Michelle
    2019-04-20 03:27

    Maybe if I read this when it was first released, I would have enjoyed it more. But, all these years later, it just seemed so out of touch and the humor in it wasn't that humorous. The author stereotyped gamers in a negative way, too.

  • Lsmith
    2019-05-11 04:18

    - Early games, starting 1977, also tried to be computers.- "Crashes" in the game market were in 1976, when GI couldn't make enough microprocessors and in 1983 due to bad games.- The idea of "converence," computer/tv/gamestation didn't work.

  • Meg
    2019-05-03 10:15

    Because Mansfield Park was too boring to bear without a far, quite a good look at early video game/arcade history, even though it's old itself.

  • Ian Muttoo
    2019-05-08 10:22

    Excellent! I'd love to see it expanded - or see a sequel released.

  • Kevin
    2019-05-14 07:39

    Some good history of arcades. Unfortunately, a lot of hack newspaper-style writing too. A whole chapter being dedicated to game-character merchandising was really dopey.