Posted April 14, 2014 by Amy in Books

The Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games (Book) Review


No matter what your current age, chances are arcade video games were a beloved part of your childhood. Whether you grew up in the seventies hooked on Pong, joined the Pac Man craze in the early eighties, or took Godzilla on a Rampage in the latter part of the decade, feeding quarters into the machines at the bowling alley or video arcade is the source of some truly great memories for scores of fans – and many of them have (or would like to) turned those great memories into an enviable collection of classic arcade games.

The Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games is a resource created for collectors just like those. Whether you’re looking for the first machine in your collection or the tenth, this sturdy and comprehensive hardcover guide for collectors is a great place to start your search. Divided into time periods in gaming history, the book covers arcade machines from “The Birth of Video Games” to “The Modern Era”, with each chapter offering up equal helpings of arcade game history and full color photographs of many a coveted machine.

The Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games isn’t just a book of prices and pictures – although you’ll get that in spades. Each machine discussed is pictured in the book, captioned with a quick tidbit about the game and/or manufacturer, as well as an estimate of what you’d pay to add that machine to your collection. Along with the informative price and aesthetic information, readers get a truly comprehensive look at the history and evolution of arcade video games as a whole, the popularity of which led directly to the advent of home video game consoles.

There are many games featured in The Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games that will be instantly recognizably by even the most casual of gamers – Space Invaders, Pole Position, Ms. Pac Man, Mortal Kombat and more are considered timeless classics by many, and their appearance on the video arcade scene is covered in the book, of course. But so are many other games you’ve likely never heard of, doomed to obscurity by a variety of factors ranging from their similarity to other games to the size of the machine.

Whether you’re looking to add to your collection, start up a new one, or just learn more about the history of your favorite hobby, The Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games is an excellent source for both arcade video game history and sweet arcade eye candy. With tons of full color photographs and a handy price guide included, it’s a great addition to your game room, coffee table, or collection.


U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)