A few weeks back I unboxed my Art of Atari book from Dynamite Entertainment. In doing so I showed off a few pages, but didn’t really get a chance to review the book. I’m going to do that now.
This book is for the kid who opened up an Atari 2600 on Christmas morning and bugged their parents until the agreed to connect that little silver and black box to the back of the television so they could play. For the kid that played Haunted House, Defender, Breakout and Missile Command when they were new. It’s a nostalgic trip down video game memory lane.
It starts off with a forward by Ready Player One writer Ernest Cline. He reminisces about getting his first console in 1978 and how his first impression of each game was the artwork on the box. You can see where his love of video games came from and how it has influenced his writing.
From there the book is far more than just an art book. Tim Lapetino does a great job in presenting many aspects of the history of Atari. He goes into how the company was started and Pong. Going from coin op machines to home consoles. He goes deep into the art and design, doing chapters on artists like Cliff Spohn, Susan Jaekel, Steve Hendricks, Terry Hoff, Warren Chang, Evelyn Seto and more. He also takes a look at what might be the most popular game, Pac-Man to what might be the worst, E.T. The Extraterrestrial… a game so bad that they were buried in a landfill.
But the best part of the whole book is the art. 350 pages of art ranging from Dukes of Hazard to Vanguard to Yar’s Revenge. Every page reminded me of either games I loved playing for hours on end or games that I wanted but never quite got. It makes me want to go out to eBay and try to find a working console and some games. This is a big, thick book chock full of great art that any video game fan would enjoy…. maybe as a Christmas gift.
Now’s a good time to order the book as they’re having a Cyber Monday sale on it at Amazon. Or check with your local comic shop for a copy if you miss the sale.