- Tapa dura: 192 páginas
- Editor: MIT Press Ltd (9 de enero de 2009)
- Colección: Platform Studies
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 026201257X
- ISBN-13: 978-0262012577
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon: nº174.173 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros (Ver el Top 100 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros)
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Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System (Platform Studies) (Inglés) Tapa dura – 9 ene 2009
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Descripción del producto
Montfort and Bogost's analysis is both technically detailed and historically contextualized, both informative and methodologically instructive. They write with a rigor and grace that future contributors to the series may be at pains to match. -Seth Perlow, Convergence Read it, it will do you good. -Jose P. Zagal, Game Studies Racing the Beam doesn't spare the technical details, but is always accessible and compelling. Downright thrilling at times, in fact, a sort of The Right Stuff of video game development. -Darren Zenko, thestar.com (Toronto Star)
Reseña del editor
A study of the relationship between platform and creative expression in the Atari VCS. The Atari Video Computer System dominated the home video game market so completely that "Atari" became the generic term for a video game console. The Atari VCS was affordable and offered the flexibility of changeable cartridges. Nearly a thousand of these were created, the most significant of which established new techniques, mechanics, and even entire genres. This book offers a detailed and accessible study of this influential video game console from both computational and cultural perspectives. Studies of digital media have rarely investigated platforms-the systems underlying computing. This book (the first in a series of Platform Studies) does so, developing a critical approach that examines the relationship between platforms and creative expression. Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost discuss the Atari VCS itself and examine in detail six game cartridges: Combat, Adventure, Pac-Man, Yars' Revenge, Pitfall!, and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. They describe the technical constraints and affordances of the system and track developments in programming, gameplay, interface, and aesthetics. Adventure, for example, was the first game to represent a virtual space larger than the screen (anticipating the boundless virtual spaces of such later games as World of Warcraft and Grand Theft Auto), by allowing the player to walk off one side into another space; and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was an early instance of interaction between media properties and video games. Montfort and Bogost show that the Atari VCS-often considered merely a retro fetish object-is an essential part of the history of video games.Ver Descripción del producto
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After reading this book -- a book I plan to read cover-to-cover again, to refresh my memory -- I gained incredible respect for what 2600 programmers were (and still are) capable of eeking out of the machine. Coming from the relative luxurious comfort of the 8-bit computer, with a real framebuffer, character/tile graphics, etc., it's amazing that games like Pitfall! exist at all, let alone are fast, fun, and highly playable!
If you're interested in retrocomputing or retrogaming, computer & video game history, or just enjoy learning about how technology works, this book is a must.
With that, the book has a few aims. One is to show how the restrictions imposed by the VCS hardware led to extraordinary leaps of creativity to produce playable and, in some instances, graphically impressive games. The authors do a nice job here of balancing the presentation of the dry technical aspects with sheer reverence for the programmers and designers.
Another aim is more long-reaching: showing how some VCS games were the genesis (or an important part) of game genres that still exist today. This might be more of a stretch. There was a lot of arcade video game activity at the same time that the VCS ruled the living room, and many of the VCS titles were ports, i.e. they contributed little to moving the field forward.
The book is part of a series called 'Platform Studies'. I'm not a media type, so I don't really know what this means. There's a fair amount of lip service paid to this concept in the book, but it seems a little contrived, as if the editor insisted that 'Platform Studies' be mentioned a certain number of times. Is the VCS an object lesson in platform studies? I don't know. What I do know is that it is probably the simplest programmable gaming system one could imagine. It's a brilliant design that offloaded all the difficult jobs onto the programmers to keep the hardware cost as low as possible. As such it deserves to be recognized for the milestone that it was, and this book does that, and in an enjoyable way.
Of particular interest (to myself) were the hardware design choices made that confound and make you cringe by today's standards. 'Racing the Beam' gives you the insight to understand these choices by providing the financial limits, competitive landscape, design goals, and technological context present at Atari's release. It is still hard to believe that developing back then was more than just heavy hardware and software constraints (128 *bytes of RAM* and this review is well over 1500 bytes)... The developers were often a one-man team juggling programming, art direction, UX/UI, screenwriting, sound design, and project management while devising logic tricks for precious source compression. No physics APIs or game platform builder or asset store to save the day, oops, I meant deadline. This is real insight on the Pioneering spirit.
There is a whole chapter dedicated to Adventure. Very cool! Would be a good primer for those eagerly waiting to read Warren Robinett's Annotated Adventure. Yars Revenge (my favorite) and Pitfall is in there too. This was my first taste of a platform studies book and I look forward to picking up I Am Error: The Nintendo Family Computer / Entertainment System Platform (Platform Studies) despite never owning an NES.