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An Even More Overdue Update…and a Book!

Four years!?!  Where has the time gone?  The answer is to working on a variety of projects that required me to step away from this blog.

First, the big one: The first volume of my literally years in the planning history of the video game industry has been published!  They Create Worlds: The Story of the People and Companies That Shaped the Video Game Industry, Vol. I 1971-1982 is now available from CRC Press.  It can be found on the publisher’s website and major online retailers such as Amazon.

Fair warning: its a bit pricey.  A mainstream publisher was never going to tolerate three 500-600 page volumes of in-depth video game industry examination, so going into the academic world was really the only option.  I also wanted to avoid self-publishing, as I see my books as important foundation works for more research into the industry, and self-published tomes by unknown authors lack credibility.  This meant I had to engage an academic publisher, but going that route does mean the final product ain’t cheap.  I certainly understand if that makes anybody think twice.  What I will promise is that if the price is not an obstacle, this is the most in-depth examination of the early industry ever written with many stories that have never been told before in print.

I have also continued the They Create Worlds podcast with my friend and collaborator Jeffrey Daum.  We have been posting two episodes a month every month without fail since late 2015.  We strive to provide deep dives into all facets of video game history backed up by thorough research, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the history of the video game industry.  More information is available from our website.

So where does that leave the blog?  Well, it started as a way to just get me writing as a motivator to get my books finished.  It certainly served that purpose.  But I still have two more books to write over the next four years, so I have no time to continue updating this beast (not that I have for five years at this point anyway).  I may at some point do a final entry on the creation of Pong, which will make this a nice set chronicling all the technological developments that led to the birth of the industry.  After that, I may return from time to time to write about specific topics of interest, or to explain why I choose to interpret the sources the way I do to draw particular conclusions, some of which are out of step with previous narrative histories of the industry.

Regardless of the fate of the blog, video game history remains my passion, and I expect I will be studying it and commenting on it for decades to come.  I appreciate all of you coming along for the ride.

Long Overdue Update

Wow, it’s hard to believe nearly a year has gone by since I last posted on this blog.  When I started “They Create Worlds” a few years ago, the idea was that I would use this space to highlight my sources and organize my thoughts for the books I currently plan to write on video game history.  The text seen here is not the text of the book itself, which will be narrative rather than so heavily focused on reporting what the individual sources say, but it has served as an incubator for some of my thoughts and theories.

Once I started writing the first book in earnest, I realized there was no way I could realistically undertake both massive writing projects at the same time.  Therefore, I have spent the last year focusing on actually writing the book, which I hope to have finished sometime next year (hopes of completing it by the end of this year proved overly optimistic, but much progress has been made).  I do plan to return to this blog at some point, however, because I believe the source evaluation I am doing here is valuable for other researchers and historians and will serve to explain some of the narrative choices I make in the books themselves, which are less concerned with highlighting all the contradictions in the underlying sources.

In the meantime, I will be updating the posts already on here from time to time as I make new discoveries in my research, and I continue to podcast twice a month on various topics in video game history (like so much on this site, the podcast listings I maintain here are out of date and more recent episodes can be found on the podcast website).  I thank you all for your continued interest in my work.

Casting Pods Part 2

Hard at work on the next blog post, which will cover the early years of Ralph Baer and the development of the Brown Box, but I just wanted to take time out again to mention my new podcast, as today we posted our first look at a substantive issue in video game history after two introductory episodes.  Entitled “What Makes an Industry?” the episode explores how the distinct video arcade, home console, and home computer game industries ultimately merged into the global video game industry we know today.  Check it out here.  New podcasts on the 1st and 15th of every month.