Having spent a lifetime in the industry and previous to that, as a joystick wielding fan, Steven L Kent has seen and done it all in the multibillion-dollar industry that is video games. Hist first volume of The Ultimate History of Video Games covered its inception including his early work with Atari, through to the rise of the arcades, to ultimately the console takeover. Now he’s dropped Volume Two which moves on to the mid 90’s and the battle for supremacy between Sony, Nintendo and Sega.
Taking a different approach to typical “History of….” titles, Kent exposes the ruthless business side to gaming, that the average gamer perhaps might not be aware of, whilst touching on pivotal titles of the time, with Legend Of Zelda, Mario 64, Grand Theft Auto, Halo and Final Fantasy all getting a decent word count as their influence is fully explored. The development of various techniques and software is documented as the industry goes through several big makeovers during this period as things like motion capture and online play start to become commonplace and whilst the big three of the nineties battle for supremacy, a new threat emerges as Bill Gates starts the journey from P.C to console heralding a new war which continues to this day.
It’s an “Argos catalogue thick read” and it’s a story that’s as ruthless and compelling as any thriller told by a man who has been there through it all. The Ultimate History Of Video Games: Volume Two is a thorough examination of a cut throat industry that ultimately provides so much joy for billions of people worldwide, but it’s Kent’s unique standing as fan and participant that makes this a truly unique read… Chris Andrews