You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It's Making the World a Weirder Place by Janelle Shane - Book Review

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You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It's Making the World a Weirder Place Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780316525244
Published: Voracious - November 5th, 2019

If you've ever been into any kind of science comic (xkcd, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal) or tv show (Bill Nye the Science Guy who Saves the World), this is your book. Hilarious, ridiculous, and addictively enthusiastic. You'll know more about artificial intelligence and deep learning than you ever thought you could learn (and, coincidentally, assuage your fears about the robot revolution. It's really far away, guys. Really, -really- far away). ~ Reviewed by Katelynne Shimkus

Video Games You Will Never Play: Black and White by Luca Taborelli - Book Review

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Video Games You Will Never Play: Black and White Cover Image
By Frank Gasking (Foreword by), Shane Gill (Foreword by), Conor Hutton (Contribution by)
ISBN: 9781537643793
Availability: IN WAREHOUSE - Usually Ships in 3-7 Business Days
Published: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform - August 30th, 2016

I realize this is the nichest of niche interests for this title, but I find myself coming back to this time and time again. Spun out of the fan-created website Unseen64, Video Games You Will Never Play is a first-of-its-kind archive of information on cancelled games that never saw the light of day. Thousands of games have turned into "vaporware" over the years, leaving fans with thoughts of "what if?" I cannot recommend this enough. ~ Reviewed by Chris Linendoll

Super Mario

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Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America Cover Image
ISBN: 9781591845638
Availability: Backordered
Published: Portfolio - September 25th, 2012

A wonderful companion to Blake Harris' excellent Console Wars, Super Mario dives deep into the early days of Nintendo of America. How did a Japanese playing card company became a video game powerhouse in the United States? Well, it was mostly thanks to a portly plumber, and a visionary game designer named Shigeru Miyamoto. ~ Reviewed by Chris Linendoll

Taking the Critical Path: An Interview with Videogame Journalist Dan Amrich

One of the greatest things about visiting your local independent bookstore is that you never know what you’re going to find. Sometimes a hidden gem might jump off the shelf at you, sometimes you can be drawn in by a staff recommendation. One example of this phenomenon might be Critical Path: How to Review Videogames for a Living by Dan Amrich. I mean, who hasn’t dreamed of getting paid to play their favorite games?

Chris recently spoke with Dan about Critical Path, the writing process, and the long journey to book took from idea to publication.

Q: You've been a part of some major gaming publications in your career. In a few sentences, could you give a bit of your professional background?

Sure. I started as a freelance writer in 1993, tackling game reviews for a mix of computer, sports, entertainment, and lifestyle magazines, plus the then-novel realm of America Online. I got a good reputation by sending copies of my reviews back to the companies that had supplied me with games, so by the time I got a staff position at GamePro magazine in 1997, I had a good industry reputation. I stayed there and wrote under the pen name of Dan Elektro for seven years, then branched out to Official Xbox Magazine, GamesRadar, PC Gamer, and any other publication that would have me! All told I put in 15 years as a game reviewer and magazine editor before writing Critical Path.

Q: You live on the West Coast now, but you spent a bit of time here in Upstate NY, not far from our store here in Saratoga Springs. Can you talk a bit about your time on the East Coast?

I grew up in the Philadelphia area, which is a euphemism for Trenton, New Jersey -- but I went to college at Ithaca, married my wife outside Rochester, and I love every trip I've taken upstate.

Q: What was the inspiration to write Critical Path? Is it something you were always thinking about doing, or did you decide one day "I should really write this stuff down!"?

It was largely driven by the letters we got from magazine readers. I was in charge of the reader mail at GamePro, and every month, we'd get letters asking the same question -- "How do I get your job?" Usually it was from teenagers whose parents were telling them they had to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives, so they were curious about what career surrounded by something they loved -- videogames -- might look like. The more I got these letters, the more I wanted to answer them, but the more I realized that the answer was potentially very detailed. Some people who wrote in were really just looking for a way to get free games, but there were enough serious letters asking for real-world advice that I was convinced it was something I could definitively answer for the hopefuls who really didn't know where else to start.(READ MORE)

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Critical Path: How to Review Videogames for a Living Cover Image
By Cliff Bleszinski (Introduction by), Dan Amrich
ISBN: 9780985143725
Availability: IN WAREHOUSE - Usually Ships in 3-7 Business Days
Published: Tripletorch - February 15th, 2012

Racing the Beam

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Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System (Platform Studies) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780262012577
Published: MIT Press - March 1st, 2009

This is a highly literate look at the history of the first major home videogame console. Interviews with developers and programmers show the unique and pioneering ways the first videogames were created. There's a lot to learn in here, and the way that games were held together with a hope and a prayer back in the day is a real eye-opener. ~ Reviewed by Chris Linendoll

Console Wars

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Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062276704
Availability: Special Order
Published: Dey Street Books - June 2nd, 2015

As a child of the mid-80s, I remember the ideological battle of Nintendo vs. Sega being they type of thing that started fights in the school cafeteria. You picked a side, and defended your company of choice to the death. It wasn't much different behind the scenes of these two Japanese companies, both struggling to become the top videogame brand in the world. Sega was a scrappy upstart, looking to dethrone the dominant-but-lazy Nintendo, and they did everything they could to win over the hearts and minds of the youth. This is an amazingly fun read, and it's already been optioned for a film, from the "Superbad" guys. ~ Reviewed by Chris Linendoll


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