Mark Wolf, a colleague at Concordia University Wisconsin, has contributed yet another excellent resource for those interested in video game culture. The Video Game Explosion: A History from PONG to PlayStation and Beyond (Greenwood Publishing) provides a rich history of video games, providing a coherent tour of video game culture from its infancy to the full grown multi-billion dollar industry today. It is a readable yet academic work that brings us all the way up to the Wii, XBox 360, and PlayStaion 3.
This is not a dry catalog of video games, but a tour of the culture surrounding these games. It includes wonderfully engaging essays that challenge us to explore a wide variety of ethical and cultural elements surrounding video games. While I appreciated Steven Kent’s Ultimate History of Video Games, Wolf’s work includes important cultural aspects that have emerged since since Kent’s 2001 text was published. Apart from that, Wolf has shaped an altogether different text, pulling together a talented assortment of scholars, each addressing different aspects of the culture in a way that a single author text is unlikely to do.