The Comic Book Story of Video Games: The Incredible History of the Electronic Gaming Revolution

illus. by Jack McGowan. 192p. Ten Speed. Oct. 2017. pap. $18.99. ISBN 9780399578908.
Gr 5 Up—Hennessey traces the history of video games, concentrating on the scientific bases for current technology. He provides brief explanations of cathode ray tubes, oscilloscopes, computers, and the inventors and politics that spurred their growth. The author also examines shifting attitudes toward computer games and their evolution into a major commercial industry. As the narrative progresses, the explanations of chemistry and mechanics fall away and individual developers become the focus. The last sections feel hurried because topics such as Internet or handheld gaming lack historical perspective. The use of popular characters and iconography and the garish coloring jazz up a potentially dry or unfamiliar subject but feel out of place. Cameos from Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario are far too whimsical alongside historical figures such as Alan Turing.
VERDICT Video gamers may get a comprehensive sense of the complicated, accidental origin of their favorite pastime, as well as the opportunity to pay brief honors to the individuals who made it happen. But this amiable take is not structured or sourced, making it less than ideal for collections looking for authoritative resources on the topic.

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