The Comic Book Story of Video Games: The Incredible History of the Electronic Gaming Revolution
Author: Jonathan Hennessey
Illustration: Jack McGowan
Graphic Novel Release: 2017
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Free from Netgalley
*I received this comic book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.*
The year is 1876, and steam power is the greatest technology of the time. William Dean Howells is showcasing his “Centennial Engine” at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. It is a grand moment for the nation as they celebrate the 100th anniversary of being the United States of America. Howells’ creation would provide power for the entire convention, causing many viewers to “geek out” on the technology of the time. However, many bright minds were already looking to the future and saw electricity as the ultimate source of power. As early as 1878, researcher Sir William Crookes was able to make a glass tube glow by shooting electrons through it. This incredible experiment would inspire a $64 billion global industry. This is just the beginning of video games with about 186 pages of fascinating stories to go.
If you like history and enjoy learning about it with bright pictures and humor, this is the book for you. If you are a gamer and can appreciate the “classics” this is a no-brainer for you. This comic book is an incredible narrative history book with amazing depth of factual data about the origins of turning electronic devices into gaming machines.
As this book tells the history of what our world has gone through since the 19th century, it also highlights the details of people and countries developing technology for the benefit of out doing the other side i.e. only being thought of as a military tool. It won’t be until the 1960s that people start to realize that controlling an electronic image (avatar) can actually be fun and addictive. The highs and lows of home consoles, computer, and arcade gaming machines is presented with informative detail.
The Pros: I enjoyed getting to know the entire video game story, from its humble beginnings to the powerhouse that it is today. This comic book keeps it very entertaining with humor and my favorite part placing actual video game characters throughout the story. Crash Bandicoot, Diddy Kong, and Charmander all make a cameo in the beginning pages of the story. There are plenty of other beloved characters that show up as well.
My favorite part of the timeline would have to be learning more about post-World War II Japan. For being the only country in our history to experience nuclear warfare, they are the definition of going from “rags to riches.” It was incredible to learn about the meaning behind SEGA and read about Nintendo doing something that no other gaming company has done before with the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was also great reading about Shigeru Miyamoto who created Donkey Kong and the character who would become more recognized than Mickey Mouse – Mario. It was Miyamoto’s childhood, full of adventure in rural Japan, that would provide inspiration for his next game – The Legend of Zelda. Metroid would soon follow. The rivalry between SEGA and Nintendo was very real and very intense. To me, it is the same thing I ask when people debate about Marvel and DC: why not both? In 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog could spin-dash a person to death for asking such a question.
The Cons: This is a very long comic book, so take your time to process it all.
Game on, friends!
Jer gives it 4/5.