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8-bit apocalypse : the untold story of Atari's Missile command / Alex Rubens ; with a foreword by Jeff Gerstmann.

By: Rubens, Alex [author.].
Contributor(s): Gerstmann, Jeff, 1975- [writer of foreword.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York : The Overlook Press, 2018Copyright date: �2018Edition: First edition.Description: 254 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781468316445; 1468316443.Other title: Eight-bit apocalypse : the untold story of Atari's Missile command.Subject(s): Atari, Inc. -- History | Atari, Inc | Atari, Inc -- History | Video games industry -- History | Arcades -- History | COMPUTERS / History | GAMES & ACTIVITIES / Video & Electronic | SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies | SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture | Arcades | Video games industryGenre/Form: History.DDC classification: 338.4/77948 Summary: Before Call of Duty, before World of Warcraft, before even Super Mario Bros., the video game industry exploded in the late 1970s with the advent of the video arcade. Leading the charge was Atari Inc., the creator of the iconic game Missile Command. The first game to double as a commentary on culture, Missile Command put the players' fingers on "the button," making them responsible for the fate of civilization in a no-win scenario, all for the price of a quarter. The game was a marvel of modern culture, helping usher in both the age of the video game and the gamer lifestyle. Taking readers back to the days of TaB cola, dot matrix printers, and digging through the couch for just one more quarter, 8-Bit Apocalypse combines Rubens knowledge of the tech industry and experience as a gaming journalist to conjure the wild silicon frontier of the 8-bit '80s. -- Adapted from the dust jacket.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Before Call of Duty, before World of Warcraft, before even Super Mario Bros., the video game industry exploded in the late 1970s with the advent of the video arcade. Leading the charge was Atari Inc., the creator of, among others, the iconic game Missile Command. The first game to double as a commentary on culture, Missile Command put the players' fingers on "the button," making them responsible for the fate of civilization in a no-win scenario, all for the price of a quarter. The game was marvel of modern culture, helping usher in both the age of the video game and the video game lifestyle. Its groundbreaking implications inspired a fanatical culture that persists to this day.As fascinating as the cultural reaction to Missile Command were the programmers behind it. Before the era of massive development teams and worship of figures like Steve Jobs, Atari was manufacturing arcade machines designed, written, and coded by individual designers. As earnings from their games entered the millions, these creators were celebrated as geniuses in their time; once dismissed as nerds and fanatics, they were now being interviewed for major publications, and partied like Wall Street traders. However, the toll on these programmers was high: developers worked 120-hour weeks, often opting to stay in the office for days on end while under a deadline. Missile Command creator David Theurer threw himself particularly fervently into his work, prompting not only declining health and a suffering relationship with his family, but frequent nightmares about nuclear annihilation. To truly tell the story from the inside, tech insider and writer Alex Rubens has interviewed numerous major figures from this time: Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari; David Theurer, the creator of Missile Command; and Phil Klemmer, writer for the NBC series Chuck, who wrote an entire episode for the show about Missile Command and its mythical "kill screen." Taking readers back to the days of TaB cola, dot matrix printers, and digging through the couch for just one more quarter, Alex Rubens combines his knowledge of the tech industry and experience as a gaming journalist to conjure the wild silicon frontier of the 8-bit '80s. 8-Bit Apocalypse: The Untold Story of Atari's Missile Command offers the first in-depth, personal history of an era for which fans have a lot of nostalgia.

Before Call of Duty, before World of Warcraft, before even Super Mario Bros., the video game industry exploded in the late 1970s with the advent of the video arcade. Leading the charge was Atari Inc., the creator of the iconic game Missile Command. The first game to double as a commentary on culture, Missile Command put the players' fingers on "the button," making them responsible for the fate of civilization in a no-win scenario, all for the price of a quarter. The game was a marvel of modern culture, helping usher in both the age of the video game and the gamer lifestyle. Taking readers back to the days of TaB cola, dot matrix printers, and digging through the couch for just one more quarter, 8-Bit Apocalypse combines Rubens knowledge of the tech industry and experience as a gaming journalist to conjure the wild silicon frontier of the 8-bit '80s. -- Adapted from the dust jacket.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Foreword (p. 11)
  • Introduction (p. 15)
  • 1 At Any Moment (p. 27)
  • 2 Atari: The Early Gaming Pioneers (p. 39)
  • 3 Coin-Op's Revenge (p. 65)
  • 4 The First Concept (p. 81)
  • 5 Getting the Green Light (p. 97)
  • 6 Finding Meaning in Pixels (p. 107)
  • 7 Failure to Innovate Was Anti-Atari (p. 119)
  • 8 When Passion Turns to Obsession (p. 125)
  • 9 Melting Flesh (p. 133)
  • 10 The Tests Begin (p. 141)
  • 11 Into the Wild (p. 151)
  • 12 The Public Loves It (p. 159)
  • 13 From the Ground Up: The Story of Tempest (p. 187)
  • 14 The Great Crash (p. 193)
  • 15 Lasting Influence (p. 199)
  • 16 The Second Cold War (p. 213)
  • 17 Defining a New Generation of Games (p. 221)
  • 18 "Do You Feel Like a Hero Yet?" (p. 227)
  • 19 Pioneering the Future (p. 237)
  • Epilogue (p. 247)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 253)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Rubens, a content manager at YouTube working in the realm of eSports, writes a journey into the early days of gaming. Before development teams and social media, there were individuals crafting arcade machines, often as individual efforts. The author tells this story through a series of interviews with programmers, managers, and other Atari employees, based on their days creating one of the first iconic video games in the 1970s. The solid, journalistic writing will attract readers, even if some of the profiles are more intriguing than others. Notably, Rubens shares how being dedicated to such a project impacted each creator, especially in terms of their mental, social, and physical health as passion devolved into obsession. VERDICT A strong debut of gaming history from an author who has an obvious love for the subject. Besides drawing in gamers, this work will also appeal to those interested in the history of technology.-Lewis Parsons, Sawyer Free Lib., Gloucester, MA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

Rubens, a strategic partner manager at Google, delves deeply into the story of Atari's 1980 arcade game Missile Command, the origins of which have long been shrouded in mystery despite the games seminal role in a fledgling industry. By convincing the game's elusive creator, David Theurer, to tell his story, Rubens illuminates the company's founding and the inception of arcades as a part of American popular culture. The author outlines Atari's early history-the creation of Pong in 1972, its early leadership struggles, and its 1981 height of $2 billion in profits before the 1982 industry crash that ruined the company-as well as the cutthroat world of modern-day Missile Command tournaments. At the center is Theurer's obsessive development of the game into a vehicle for his own political concerns: the final product climaxed in a no-win-nuclear-war scenario. With this stark antiwar message, Rubens shows, Theurer became the first game developer to realize the potential for games to affect players emotionally, an accomplishment that stands as Missile Command's true legacy. Though repetitive in conveying Theurer's rationale, Rubens's history is an excellent analysis of Cold War-era fears and the escapism provided by video games. It will be fascinating to anyone interested in the cultural influence of entertainment. (Oct.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.