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Replay

The History of Video Games
Narrated by: Gary Furlong
Length: 15 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (552 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A riveting account of the birth and remarkable evolution of the most important development in entertainment since television, Replay is the ultimate history of video games. From its origins in the research labs of the 1940s to the groundbreaking success of the Wii, Replay sheds new light on gaming's past. Along the way it takes in the spectacular rise and fall of Atari, the crazed cottage industry spawned by the computers of Sir Clive Sinclair, Japan's rapid ascent to the top of the gaming tree, and the seismic impact of Doom. Replay tells the sensational story of how the creative vision of game designers across the globe gave rise to one of the world's most popular and dynamic art forms. Based on extensive research and more than 140 interviews, Replay includes insights from video game legends such as Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, Will Wright - the creator of The Sims , Doom designer John Romero, and Hironobu Sakaguchi of Final Fantasy fame. Replay also includes a foreword by Richard Garriott (AKA Lord British).

©2010 Tristan Donovan (P)2017 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A fine addition to my game history collection.

It gives me gratification that the area I chose to specialize in during my graduate studies - The history of games and simulations- is now getting serious attention. This book covers some of the same ground as others I have read, but still manages to deliver points and anecdotes missed elsewhere. Lots of direct quotes from game developers and designers, and a good narrative of the rise and fall of game styles and genres. Not sure if this is the performer or the nook text, but there are some errors like "Planescape: Torment" being referred to as "Planetscape" etc. Other than those small errors, I enjoyed this book thoroughly.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Excellent Book

I have quite a few gaming history books in my library but I think they are all Nintendo vs Sega and while the story is interesting it has been told numerous times. Replay on the other hand covers so many different topics (the European computer scene, arcades, etc..) that aren't covered that well elsewhere. The narrator is fantastic, great pacing, he just brought the book to life. I just can't recommend this book enough.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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A Wonderful and Thorough Companion to Video Games

Focuses on all video games but covers the computer angle more thoroughly. Great narrator.
It's not as thorough on all the game consoles as "The Ultimate History of Video Games" but it branches more into computer games in the U. K. and many parts of Europe and gives a more thorough background into how computer culture influenced second generation consoles and on. Brings video games up to 2012 and the advent of indie games on Steam. "Ultimate History" ends with the death of Sega as a console producer. The two books complement each other nicely.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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This is the history to read.

Most books focus on the hardware and business. This is about that plus the art and the games. Very awesome book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew
  • LOUISVILLE, KY, United States
  • 03-12-19

This is the one you are looking for

This text starts with he stone age of video games in the 50's and 60's and goes up to the indie game generation of the late 2000's and early 2010's. That's a lot of ground to cover and A LOT of people/companies/games to include, but Donovan's work manages to do it with aplomb. It maintains a breezy, big-picture narrative that is colored in by by interviews and testimonials from the movers and shakers of the game industry. This gives the book a good pace without making it drag.

If you are looking for an engaging and panoramic history of the video game industry, then this is the one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Goes beyond your expectations in a good way

good narrator
good content
great job of building the history

only negative is that it can jump around a bit chronologically speaking, but does so to separate subjects

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Perfect!

Loved it! was able to relive many memories just by listening to the words and the brief but detailed account of so many good (and not so good) games

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Lindsay
  • Denver, CO, United States
  • 10-08-19

I'm not as interested in video gams as i thought

First and foremost, the narrator is wonderful. Gary Furlong's voice and accent is really lovely to listen to.

Ok, overall, the book is interesting, I just realized that I'm not as interested in video games as I thought I was. I did learn a lot reading this book and feel like I have a whole bunch of new anecdotes for parties. One struggle that I had with the book was the timeline jumping back and forth. Given that the history is pretty dense, and telling it all in a linear fashion would be very difficult, it makes sense to take one story and tell it, then rewind and take another story and telling, and so on and so forth. As I was reading it though, it was a little confusing. Other than that, the book was, albeit a little dry, enjoyable.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Tries to do too much

While the book is interesting and contains a lot of good information it suffers from difficult organization. In trying to cover everything gaming related in one book not only do things get glossed over but its very difficult at times to follow the time line. It's good to see a book attempting to cover new video game ground I just wish it didn't feel like it was struggling to figure out what it was actually about.

As for the performance... well it was OK, but there are some glaring mistakes, like repeatedly calling Planescape Torment, Planetscape. I'm hoping that's not a typo repeatedly in the book... There are other examples of butchered names, and not because of linguist differences between American English and British English but straight out mistakes.

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    2 out of 5 stars

Ok but better books on here.

While it is an ok book there definitely better ones on here to listen to. Not the most detailed and some inaccuracies along with a narrator that with his way of speech is not entertaining to listen to. I'd stick with something like "The Ultimate History of Video Games". What I will give it credit for is going further then around the N64 era unlike most of the books here.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Karl
  • 10-16-18

it's pronounced Zed Ex.. not Zee Ex. garrrrrrggghh

zed.. zed.. not zeeeeee.. goodness, you'd think a professional could at least pronounce words correctly.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • phil
  • 06-18-19

Interesting to any retro gaming fan

I really enjoyed this book, has lots of great information, however, it did take a while to get used to the narrators voice and especially the pronunciation of the Zee X Spectrum which he must have said about 100 times.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 07-21-19

Best "history of gaming" I've heard.

I've enjoyed many others, as they've drilled down into the personal stories of companies and their individual employees - but this is different.

Aim of this book is "gaming" - and it does its best to cover it all. All genres, all companies, all platforms and what I appreciated especially is all countries. When it covers the UK I can remember it as a consumer - but now I get the global context that caused it (with maybe some bonus Russian and French content which is initially interesting, but then culminates in explaining personal recollections).

What I really appreciated was how this book stitches together so many other stories I was aware of into a coherent whole.
Of course it can't be definitive - but closest I've seen anybody come so far.

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  • Edward Lowry
  • 01-06-19

If you like retro then you will like this

Overall I enjoyed this, I have many retro consoles so it appeals to my collection :)

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  • K. Rumph
  • 09-07-18

Comprehensive, thoughtful and interesting

Tristan’s book is magisterial: a truly comprehensive study of video games globally from the early 50s to 2010 (with an update/second edition coming?). At least I assume it’s comprehensive as I can’t think of a game, genre, country, issue or theme he misses. Given he covers technology (inc a little on console wars etc), culture, the personalities and company ‘family trees’, genres and social and political aspects, he does a great job of weaving all these into a broadly chronological history. I haven’t seen anything close to this as an industry history. Well read too. Highly recommended for a thorough listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-31-18

A brilliant ride through the pixilated past.

This book is wonderful, no hyperbole. It would be easy for a lesser author to get bogged down into technical jargon and industrial buzzwords. Tristan Donovan does not let all that cloud his narrative and alienate his readers. I imagine that even if one knew nothing about video games, they would come away not only with all the pertaining knowledge, but a thrilling story aswell. if like me, you already knew a thing or two about the subject going in. Well then you will come away with some interesting insights and the same very entertaining narrative that a newcomer to the subject would get. so it's basically a win win.

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  • Hedgehog
  • 06-27-18

A divinities history of video games

I really enjoyed this book. It takes you on a journey through the evolution of video games with lots of very interesting facts.

A great book for both gamers and game devs alike and can see this being invaluable to any one studying game development.

I found the narrator really good and kept the pace of enthusiasm throughout the book. I wasn’t bothered by his pronunciation of the letter Z. Some people have commented he is using the American pronunciation, I believe Zee is in fact also the Irish pronunciation.

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  • Metaxas Nicolaides
  • 06-11-18

must listen if you love the history of video games

must listen if you love the history of video games. fascinating and well presented - an enjoyable read for people of all ages.

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  • GS
  • 01-22-18

Great book, a little American

If you could sum up Replay in three words, what would they be?

ZEE EX Spectrum

Any additional comments?

Really enjoyed this fascinating look across the history of video games. Interesting American-centric fairly comprehensive and nicely divided into areas of gaming history. Pity the narrator cant pronounce sinclairs ZED X Spectum properly.. although sadly the UK machines are not covered enough to make this too grating,

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • W T NEWMAN
  • 09-09-17

ZED ZED ZED not zee X Spectrum !

Enjoyed but the narrators saying Zee X Spectrum and Zee X 81 just annoyed me. He pronounces other names fine but why not ZED ?

6 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Craig
  • 04-18-19

Very good history of key games and hardware

Solid history of the games industry. Some typos or misreadings, but still a great book.

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  • AV
  • 08-25-17

A more global take on video games history

Video games have a strong history in Japan and the US, particularly with hardware. But Europe was also significant with their impact, and what drives hardware is always the software. This book does well to tell many of the stories other books haven't.