Daniel CohenEdit

[b. 1936] Daniel Cohen is an American writer of popular journalistic non-fiction, predominantly children's writing. His work tends toward the themes of contemporary cultural myths and folklore, science fiction, and technology. He graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1958, and was an editor of Science Digest (1937-1986), a popular science magazine targeted to a high school reading level.

Video Games (1982)Edit

Video Games is a small trade paperback (retailed for $1.95) directed at children and possibly young adults; the writing level appears to be 8th grade equivalent. The book is a quick gloss of the industry, explaining in simple terms distinctions between software and hardware, offering a decent history of Atari, Intellivision and the Odyssey, as well as the rise of arcade gaming--its relationship to the dubious past of pinball, and the early hits, Space Invaders, Asteroids, and Pac-Man. Attention is also given to popular cartridges and LCD tabletop games, and the video games violence controversy.

Major historical moments:

1962: Steven Russell develops Spacewar! at MIT

1972: Nolan Bushnell, a previous MIT student develops a Pong machines and unleashes it at Andy Capp's tavern in Sunnydale, CA (he was turned down by Bally and started his own company for distribution). Bushnell's company, Atari, makes a deal with Sears to sell home console versions of the game.

1972: Ralph Baer gets a deal with Magnanox to produce the Odyssey

1978: Taito develops Space Invaders. Bally took over the U.S. rights to the game, creating the first major arcade hit.

1981: Atarti develops the arcade stand-up Asteroids

1982: Bally buys the rights to Pac-Man and distributes in the U.S.

The section of computers is particularly sparse, but revealing. It focuses on text-based and RPG style games, as well as managerial or number-cruncher sports games. The only text-based game it explicitly names is Empire of the Over-Mind. Castle Wolfenstein is also mentioned.

Especially useful are the contacts lists in the back, and the numerous references to the magazine Electronic Games. A brief mention is given to Dr. James Beninger, who later would become an acclaimed sociology and communications professor at USC's Annenburg School (recently passed away from Alzheimer's in 2010)