The gaming industry is old enough to have its own researchers, historians, and archaeologists who find priceless artifacts of its glorious past and display them for museum visitors or readers of special publications, such as this artbook, The Game Console 2.0: A Photographic History from Atari to Xbox. Although in fact it is not quite an artbook. Rather, it is a historical study of the gaming industry combined with a catalog of design trends of the 1970s-2020s. A fascinating read for those who started playing video games way back in the last (millennium) century. Although players of the younger generation will definitely find a lot of interesting things in this book.

Title The Game Console 2.0: A Photographic History from Atari to Xbox
Genre artbook
Author Evan Amos
Translation Unlocteam
Publisher No Starch Press, MAL’OPUS
Year of publication 2022
Page 312
Format 26 × 21 cm
Binder hardcover
Language Ukrainian
Website MAL’OPUS

The first edition of The Game Console book, still without index 2.0, was published in 2018, and it appeared thanks to the persistence of the author, who simply wanted to add to the Wikipedia articles good photos of game consoles of the past, which were missing there. And it began… This project fascinated Evan Amos so much that he began to add hundreds of photos, buy rare consoles and even created a Kickstater, where anyone could support this passion of his.

As a result, Evan Amos became the owner of a huge collection of game consoles, made a lot of acquaintances among passionate collectors of game rarities, and finally created this book, which is the summary of his many years of passion for game consoles.

The Game Console 2.0 is the second, updated and improved edition of the book, adding the latest 9th generation consoles – Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S|X and more, as well as some rare systems that were missing from the previous edition. In addition, the author corrected some errors and the system sales figures.

If you were fond of games back in the last century, then this artbook (so be it, although in our opinion this is a false definition) will be a pleasant encounter with the past, a kind of time travel that will transport you to childhood. It’s really a very emotional moment to remember your first introduction to the world of video games, your first console, your first victories and defeats. But it is quite expensive.

On the other hand, The Game Console 2.0 is a rather dry, almost academic publication that simply presents facts about each console of each generation and provides their photos, but. There is something here from the catalog of a historical exhibition or an ethnographic selection created after a trip to some exotic country. “The ritual spear of the aborigines of the island of Sumatra” – “a mysterious mock-up of the case of the Atari Mirai console, which never made it to the market.”

The book begins with the first gaming device for the general public – the Magnavox Odyssey console (1972), and not with Ralph Baer’s famous “Brown Box” (1967) because Baer’s project was only a prototype that did not go on sale. On the other hand, the Brown Box is also in this book. As are very rare and quirky consoles, such as the Coleco Telstar Arcade (1977) with steering wheel and gun, the first Microvision handheld console (1979), the educational console (yes, there was even one) Interactive Vision (1989), Nintendo’s semi-portable 3D glasses console Virtual Boy (1995) and the very strange Tiger R-Zone console (1995) in the form of a blindfold with a display on one eye.

But what is missing from The Game Console 2.0 is a PC. The author warns about this at the beginning of the book, and we even understand why he decided so. In the case of adding a PC, it would be necessary to change its configuration every year. On the other hand, there are some pre-configured PCs and near-PCs from well-known console manufacturers in the book. You could, for example, add nine PCs, one for each generation of set-top boxes, and specify a range of configurations. Although, perhaps, this is material for a separate book. We could even do something similar ourselves, if we hadn’t lost the archive with photos of “Home PC” from 1998-2011.

In the book The Game Console 2.0 even Ukraine is mentioned. As it turns out, we make some of the best retrogaming devices out there. These are EverDrive devices developed by Ukrainian engineer Ihor KRIKzz Holubovskyi. By the way, EverDrive actively helps the Armed Forces.

The translation of the book for the MAL’OPUS publishing house was done by a team of game translators Unlocteam, who are well acquainted with the terminology. And the translation is really good. The only thing we didn’t really like was some abuse of verbs. In addition, it would be worthwhile to translate the signs of some currencies: not all readers know how the Brazilian real or the South Korean won are indicated in writing.

The Game Console 2.0: A Photographic History from Atari to Xbox is a truly unique book that (yes, we know it’s a cliché) would make a great gift for anyone who likes video games. In addition, we are very pleased with the fact that even during a full-scale war, Ukrainian publishing houses are working and producing such unusual, rare and expensive books. Although on the other hand, UAH 900 for an edition of this class, at today’s price for books in octavio format in the paper binding of UAH 200-300, it is not even that expensive.

So, we support Ukrainian, read Ukrainian, buy Ukrainian!