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lapetino

Art of Atari - book in progress and need help

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Actually, "nothing" is better, because you don't have to waste any money buying "nothing". :roll:

 

To put it mildly, I was incredibly disappointed with Supercade. I don't know if there was anything original photographed for it. Just a lot of stuff lifted from the internet - MAME screenshots, arcade flyers - most of it in poor quality. The whole book felt lazily researched, sloppily assembled, poorly designed, and it was an utter and complete waste of an opportunity to make a proper book about classic arcade games. It's so far from being a "cool coffee table" book, I wouldn't recommend it to anybody for any reason.

 

Well, that's you.

 

I agree that if something isn't researched well enough or pulls too much from other sources it's not all it could be. But I also collect books on muscle cars and, guess what, much of that photography wasn't taken for those books (the historical stuff), much of it comes from other sources or pre-existing pictures. Credit where credit is due and if the author doesn't provide any, implying that it was all his work, that's wrong. I liked the book for what it was, an in-print collection of nice photos of some of my favorite games. Since nobody is doing a better version of that, it is better than nothing. You don't have to buy the book. I liked it, the layout was well-done, the pictures were huge and in focus (though I agree with the complaints about the vector games not being images of actual vector displays though Retro Gamer magazine has shown the hell that is trying to print those images), it covered much of 1971-1984. When there are 10 choices for such a book and "Supercade" is at the bottom of that list then ok, it's shit. But until then, lighten up, support what dismal attempts are out there otherwise publishers will be convinced that there's no market for such a book and fuck you guys, you can go to California Extreme and take your own pics and write your own backgrounds, right?

 

The book is fine, not amazing, but good enough. If the research is lacking then someone else can do a better one. I'd buy that one, too. It's tiring to hear people make no effort to the cause other than to shoot down anything that isn't perfect on the first go around. With this era of self-publishing and internet publishing options and digital cameras that don't require thousands of dollars in film development costs and Gimp and Photoshop to correct any failings in the pictures and the ability to Google all the info that you could want (interviews, names of key programmers/artists, contact info) and the ability to phone or Skype those people in order to interview them and get their take on the golden era of video games, there's plenty of opportunity to make a book far better than "Supercade". Or write a book about how to simply complain about everthing that's out there that's just out of easy reach from your couch or should have been done better because Expectations. Oh wait, it wouldn't be an actual book, that's too hard, maybe a blog. Or just a YouTube recording. Or a text to someone else equally disappointed with everything? Or, whatever, what's on TV right now?

 

I'm really glad that "Art Of Atari" came out and that sales seem to be better than expected. I hope there are more books like that one on more of the era. But if they aren't perfect I'm not going to shun them.

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You don't have to buy the book.

 

But I did - I had been looking forward to it months before it had been published, and bought it sight-unseen as soon as I possibly could. I was hoping it would be the book that finally filled that gap. And - in my opinion - it was way oversold for what the end results were. In the 15 years I've owned it, that opinion hasn't changed.

 

But that's my opinion, and so as to not derail this thread from Tim's excellent book any further, from now on I'll keep such opinions to myself.

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I totally get everyone's opinions on Supercade. And since it was brought up, I'll add a hopefully not-divisive $.02. Van Burnham (the author) is a friend of a friend, and I appreciate the book for what it is -- it's more of a meditation and survey of video games visually, and the scene -- both video games and books about them -- is really different now than it was 15 years ago.

Her book isn't the book I would have written, but I like a lot of it and appreciate what she did, and MIT Press for putting it out. That's a bold step for an academic publisher, especially at the time. It inspired me a bit, and got me thinking about what I would eventually want Art of Atari to be -- both in the positive and negative. It's not for everyone, but she broke some real ground.

Also, she has an unbelievable collection of arcade games in the Supercade, and is a champion for game preservation. For that alone, she is awesome. :)

Edited by lapetino
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Finally got my deluxe edition. Really impressed! One of the first things I noticed was that Basic Math/Fun with Numbers was listed as Basic Math. I know it is a little thing, but I liked seeing the game listed as the original name. I really liked the closeup of the Indy 500 artwork also. Great job Tim!

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You're after all of my money, aren't you? ;)

There are some elements of Supercade that I like (the arcade photos for example). But I can't forgive them for using low-resolution images of vector games. They made the great Tempest look like a joke. Even at that time, MAME supported some pretty good resolutions. All they had to do was open the Properties screen, up the resolution, adjust the beam width & gamma settings a bit and they would have had a descent representation of the display.

Edited by Nebulon

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Wow I didn't expect to see this topic here since I saw the book in the bookstore a few weeks back!

 

Too big though for me to carry :/

I'd have liked more info on the games, but the HD artwork and never-before-seen ones are really great!

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I totally get everyone's opinions on Supercade. And since it was brought up, I'll add a hopefully not-divisive $.02. Van Burnham (the author) is a friend of a friend, and I appreciate the book for what it is -- it's more of a meditation and survey of video games visually, and the scene -- both video games and books about them -- is really different now than it was 15 years ago.

 

Her book isn't the book I would have written, but I like a lot of it and appreciate what she did, and MIT Press for putting it out. That's a bold step for an academic publisher, especially at the time. It inspired me a bit, and got me thinking about what I would eventually want Art of Atari to be -- both in the positive and negative. It's not for everyone, but she broke some real ground.

 

Also, she has an unbelievable collection of arcade games in the Supercade, and is a champion for game preservation. For that alone, she is awesome. :)

 

 

OK, I tried to keep from sending this conversation further off-topic, but I also need to weigh in here.

 

Without a doubt, "The Art of Atari" is the best videogame-related book I have in my fairly substantial library of such titles. And the book it displaced from the pole position was "Supercade".

 

Like ledzep wrote quite eloquently, there simply were no decent resources on the net at the time of its publication for much of the info there. It especially opened my eyes to the world of advertising brochures, of which I had been previously unaware and was subsequently motivated to collect. As for the game images, I believe the presentation intentionally put far less emphasis on what the screens look like in whole and more so how the game "feels". The layout is often quite effective at conveying that sensation, especially when focused on one specific element instead of just an entire screen overall. In a way, I interpret the presentation of the material as the difference between a photograph and a painting.

 

Lapetino, I have wondered what Van Burnham has been up to since "Supercade". I periodically check Amazon to see if she has any new titles published but have not seen anything. What has she been up to?

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Just wanted to say The Art of Atari is simply amazing (No clue why people would want to waste focus on another book after thumbing through this one, seriously...Starcade?) . Lots of awesome artwork, and equally amazing little tid-bits of knowledge about said art, mostly coming directly from the original artist.

This tome totally exceeded my expectations in every way. If you are a frequent visitor to Atari Age and claim to love Atari and don't have this book in your collection, you are doing yourself a great injustice and should probably find another hobby. Looking forward to checking out the poster book in the near future.

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Thanks so much, moycon.

I totally understand what folks are saying about expectations. In retro gaming, I feel like many times we have had to be happy with whatever books come down the line, quality be damned, and we were just glad to get *something*. I think that is slowly changing, and I tried hard to raise the bar and kudos to my publisher, Dynamite, and to the book's designer, Jason Adam, for going along with me on the ride.

And I really appreciate the kind words. If you all want to send a message that we want more books like this (and not just from me!), please leave a review on Amazon.com and pass the word around about Art of Atari. People -- including my publisher -- are watching, and that kind of feedback goes a long way. I'm hoping we can get even more great content and info about the games and systems we love from many different places. Along those lines, I'm in talks about some additional video game related book projects beyond the Atari Poster Collection, and that will add fuel to the fire.

Thanks!

Also, for those of you who haven't gotten a chance to buy or see the Deluxe Edition of Art of Atari, we were able to commission Atari artist Cliff Spohn to create a new Atari-related piece after decades away from the property. Cliff did 19 of the first 2600 game illustrations and was instrumental in defining the look of that art. It was a surreal privilege to be able to art direct one of my creative heroes, someone who was a huge inspiration to me, and no doubt to many of us. Here's a decent version of the piece for you to see:

http://www.playmova.org/downloads/cliff-spohn-artofatari.jpgEnjoy!

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And I really appreciate the kind words. If you all want to send a message that we want more books like this (and not just from me!), please leave a review on Amazon.com and pass the word around about Art of Atari.

 

Done, the headline is "Have you read Atari today", and I mention one of my favorite parts of the book, the unused artwork.

Why they didn't go with the shirtless, barbarian disco porn star with the flame shooting sling shot for Breakout is beyond me.

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And I really appreciate the kind words. If you all want to send a message that we want more books like this (and not just from me!), please leave a review on Amazon.com and pass the word around about Art of Atari. People -- including my publisher -- are watching, and that kind of feedback goes a long way.

 

Hey Tim, I hope that you and the publisher keep an eye on some of the other Amazon sites too. Since I bought my copy in Canada, my (rather gushing) review went to Amazon.ca (it's called "Gorgeous historical reference"). You'll probably find some other good reviews around the world, that don't show up on Amazon.com.

 

Love the book. Thanks again for making it happen!

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I just saw this at the Superstore here in High Level, Alberta (pop. 3000). Very nice work, and it was a thrill to see something Atari-related amongst all rags devoted to modern consoles!

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Received my copy of Art of Atari today from Amazon. Fantastic!! Put together very nice with great info. Will definately recommend it to others.

Edited by atariguy33

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I was able to get my Deluxe Edition last week, and I'd just like to say that after flipping through it, I want to give you a big thumbs up, TIm. It was a great nostalgia trip going through it, and the unforgattable Atari designs of that era is probably a big reason why I pay attention to product design even today. Despite my busy schedule, I will definitely try to make the time to read through everything closely. The VCS was my first console (at the ripe old age of 11 years old back in 1978), so going through the book brought back a flood of memories like they were yesterday. Thanks for compiling my fondest of childhood gaming memories into a 15 Lb. package! ;)

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Thanks for the free book Tim !

Many of the images are new to me but I think I've seen some of these images before.......

 

URwgFGt.jpg?1

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Is there a list of what will be in the poster collection?

Not yet. We are still finalizing what will go in the set.

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Thanks for the free book Tim !

Many of the images are new to me but I think I've seen some of these images before.......

 

URwgFGt.jpg?1

Very nice! It's like papa and baby! And thanks again for sharing your collection with the world via the book, my friend!

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Saw it was $10 for the Kindle version instead of the previous almost the same price as the printed version price so, flush with Amazon gift card credit galore, I decided to pick it up digitally for on the road reading.

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got it for Christmas ( it was on my list :D ) while still wrapped I knew what it was feeling through the wrapping paper .... my first thought was "Man this thing is heavy" !!! I will enjoy it very much

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I received the Deluxe Edition earlier this month for my birthday. Everything looks amazing, Mr. Lapetino! I couldn't find the Atari Vault Steam code right off the bat, but after I panicked, my wife calmly found it for me. :P This and Pat Contri's Ultimate NES Guide have made 2016 an excellent year for in-depth books dedicated to their target console!

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Got the book. Really impressed.. Soon as Im done reading it, it will have a permanent place on the coffee table in the living room.

 

Thanks for a weell done book on a great subject.

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