We would like to issue our thanks to both Steven L Kent and to Jordan Freeman of Zoom Platform. Steven was willing to sit with us and discuss his books, and the history of video games for several hours. And Jordan was kind enough to connect us to Steven, and to help arrange the interview. We are grateful to both Steven and Jordan for their time and patience.
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This is part one
of a conversation with author and video game historian Steven L Kent, and is a collaboration between ourselves and Zoom Platform. Whilst this is an audio episode, it was originally recorded as a pair of video interviews. What we’ve done is cut the two video interviews into four parts and will be releasing them as audio episodes. But if you’d rather watch the first two parts as a video
as edited by Jay and Squidge
you’ll find an embedded player here:
All four parts of our interview with Steven can be found here.
Part One of Four
In his own words, Steven describes his books as
My books are called "The Ultimate History of Video Games".
Volume 1 starts out with Abraham Lincoln and Bagatelle, and goes all the way to 2000 and sort of the collapse of the Dreamcast - or it’s about to collapse, you can tell that it’s faltering - PlayStation 2 has been announced and is just coming out, and Xbox has been announced.
Book two has some overlap, because there will be some people who read volume 2 without reading volume 1, so it’s got a bunch of overlap. But what’s interesting is that I thought I’d be able to go from 2000 to the present, but I only got to 2012. So volume three should come out around 2026.
A Sense of Discovery
Jay mentioned that the sense of discovery related to technology may be lost on the younger generations via a story about when he and Squidge got their first NES:
It’s December 26th, 19-mumble-mumble, and we’ve gotten up early… Dad walks in with a present under his arm, and it’s a NES.
And it’s the memory of opening up the box and saying, "Oh, what’s this?" because we’d never even seen a video game console before. And it being a family activity that we’re discovering what the contents of this box are, together.
And I remember so vividly. We had Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt on the cartridge. I remember fumbling my way into starting Super Mario Bros. and suddenly I’m controlling a cartoon. It’s not a video game, because it looks like a cartoon to me.
And I was talking to someone the other day about this…