Super Mario Bros.
The Legend of Zelda.
Sonic the Hedgehog.
They're all here. This large volume chronicles video games from Pinball machines of the 1800s to the XBox. The extensive research here is obvious. Everything is meticulously documented, in a mostly conversational style of writing.
The first half of the book is dedicated mainly to Atari's rise and fall, along with Intellivision and ColecoVision. Nintendo's rise to prominence and domination is discussed in great detail and interviews with the men and women who made it happen, from executives, game designers, and politicians are part of the narrative. Notice I didn't say unbiased. The author's opinions on most subjects and games are abundantly clear, but this is not a detriment to the value of the book.
There are some pictures in the middle of the book, in black and white, mostly of events and executives.
The second half of the book is dedicated to Nintendo, Sega, and Sony, along with the numerous Senate hearings that took place regarding the gaming industry. The book talks about each major company's colossal successes and abysmal failures. Some systems and companies that you may have forgotten about are also mentioned briefly, such as the 3DO and the Turbo Grafx. The second half of the book is not nearly as detailed as the first half, as there seems to be too many companies to discuss to dedicate the same amount of space as was allotted to Atari. Also, the Senate transcripts while interesting, do become monotonous.
This book gives you insight to the behind the scenes moving and shaking that went into the making and marketing of some famous games. It discusses the video game crash of 1983 and the game that generally gets the blame: E.T. for Atari 2600. This is a great book of history for the video game enthusiast and deserves a spot on the shelf.
Fun Fact: Pinball was banned in New York into the 1970s.
Fun Fact: The only reason Mario has a hat in Donkey Kong is because when they designed him with hair, it looked too bizarre.