Homebound: A couple of Retro Gaming Books

The need for a little more social isolation lately has likely introduced plenty of bad habits but it’s also helped me get back into some more positive ones such as reading again. Thankfully there’s plenty of books out there on one of my favourite subjects and I was happy to have a couple arrive on my doorstep recently:

Faster than Light: The Atari ST and the 16-bit Revolution, by Jamie Lendino

A follow up book to Breakout: How Atari 8-bit Computers Defined a Generation which covers the Atari ST series. I enjoyed that book A LOT so this was an easy read for me. The book’s chapters are broken down into notable eras in the ST’s platform lifespan from ST to STE and finally TT/Falcon and it works really well. For someone who grew up using an ST it makes for a nice nostalgic trip. It also does a good job of highlighting many of the important games of the system – Dungeon Master is there (as it should be) so bonus marks too. 🙂

The making of Karateka: Journals 1982-1985, by Jordan Mechner

You may not have heard of Karateka but it was developer Jordan Mechner’s first stab at a cinematic video game before he struck gold with Prince of Persia. In many ways this 8-bit game shares plenty of DNA with its more popular successor, especially with its (then) realistic animation and the use of cutscenes. This book is much less of a nostalgia trip and more of an interesting way to understand how such a groundbreaking game came to be in the words of its own creator which I find intriguing as it’s still a rare thing to see.

These are just two of the latest in my library but there may be more on the horizon. Jamie Lendino has another book on the Atari 2600 too so that’s probably next as is Jordan Mechner’s book on Prince of Persia. I suppose I’m happy to stick with the books I enjoy and if I can read more like them I’m all in! 🙂

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