My book buying mirrors my father’s as dads are indeed the original hipsters. He’d pick up anything that looked interesting if it was cheap enough, and I’m pretty sure that’s how this book ended up on the family bookshelf. I was always intrigued, but man am I glad I waited until my 30s to read this because the passage of time has rendered it HILARIOUS. It ends with the speculation that Atari might turn it around with a new hit (spoiler alert: noooope), and contains such predictions that consolidation of video game systems won’t happen (prescient…) because video games won’t ever be as popular as records were when Columbia made a deal to exclusively manufacture software (HAHAHAHAH!) an there’s no more room in the market as the Titans at coleco and commodore were likely to remain dominant forces (stop, I can’t breathe!) My favorite prediction was that with 17% of homes having at least one console, everyone who wanted a home entertainment system likely had one and any further development would only drive prices down and collapse demand. Oh, you sweet summer children of 1980.
Anyway, the book is slim and feels more like a magazine article, the short version is that Nolan Bushnell was ahead of his time in seeing the demand for video games, which coupled with the inability of the market to recognize a trend kept him the sole manufacturer of consoles longer than he should have been, and when competition arose he was ill prepared. (All the more reason that the author’s treatment of video games as a passing fad is remarkable. I get hindsight is 20/20, but cmon.)
It’s also surprisingly full of typos and misspellings for a book that’s actually made it to print and all the more glaring for its brevity, it feels like one every five pages.
Anyway, this gets five stars, though probably not the way the author intended. Oh, and it’s going for 50 bucks on Amazon, so I may have found my own investment bubble myself.