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All Your Base Are Belong to Us

How Fifty Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture
Narrated by: Eric Martin
Length: 12 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
4 out of 5 stars (59 ratings)

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Summary

Through the stories of gaming's greatest innovations and most-beloved creations, journalist Harold Goldberg captures the creativity, controversy - and passion - behind the videogame's meteoric rise to the top of the pop-culture pantheon.

Over the last 50 years, video games have grown from curiosities to fads to trends to one of the world's most popular forms of mass entertainment. But as the gaming industry grows in numerous directions, and everyone talks about the advance of the moment, few explore and seek to understand the forces behind this profound evolution. How did we get from Space Invaders to Grand Theft Auto? How exactly did gaming become a $50 billion industry and a dominant pop culture form? What are the stories, the people, the innovations, and the fascinations behind this incredible growth?

Through extensive interviews with gaming's greatest innovators, both its icons and those unfairly forgotten by history, All Your Base Are Belong to Us sets out to answer these questions, exposing the creativity, odd theories - and passion - behind the 21st century's fastest-growing medium.

Go inside the creation of:

  • Grand Theft Auto
  • World of Warcraft
  • Bioshock
  • King's Quest
  • Bejeweled
  • Madden Football
  • Super Mario Brothers
  • Myst
  • Pong
  • Donkey Kong
  • Crash Bandicoot
  • The 7th Guest
  • Tetris
  • Shadow Complex
  • Everquest
  • The Sims
  • And many more!

©2011 Harold Goldberg (P)2015 Harold Goldberg

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Worth a listen

Interesting book, well read. A little disjointed as the chapters would start at different points in time. There is a lot of subject matter that could have also been included that wasn't such as the origins of the fps but overall the book was a nice length.

2 people found this helpful

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A brilliant industry biography

A great achievement in the relatively new subgenre of video games history. The stories of the founding fathers and mothers of the industry are well written and human.

1 person found this helpful

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Great but..

What’s with the weird low recording quality at the beginning and end? Sounds like he recorded it on his laptop mic

Otherwise, brilliant!

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An interesting history that i was part of.

If you have been a hard core gamer, or even just dabbled in consoles or pc gaming, this is aa book which will have you saying "oh my god, that game was my life..."

It is slow to begin with but it turns into a tour de force which covers alll the landmark games, formats/consoles, the creators and companies that changed gaming, for better or worse. All the stories are engaging, telling how lives were changed through the products and how the genre continues to be relevant as muh as both music and film. Narration is good but nothing particularly special.

The four stars for the performace is only relative in comparison to my favourite fiction audio books read by the likes Frank Muller or Stephen Fry so it could be a 5 star review. It is a great insight into the industry and I highly recommend it.

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For any gamer that what's a good understanding of how it all began...

The content is clear, thorough and funny.
At the start I thought the book was going to be hard going, but it really wasn't. It was very interesting and funny at times too.

Deserves a second read too.

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Great

cover most of gaming history, but ignore most indie games that will be great to cover.

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Ok but with some annoyances

Ok as others have commented I'd consider "nerd" to be a derogatory term and it's overuse was unnecessary it was only near the end when these talented people are referred to as game makers. Also some of the facts / views had inaccuracies or the balance of some of the chapter content was I felt wrong. The narration was also a problem with such a slow delivery that at times I felt compelled to speed up the playback. Finally I thought the way the author cut off the narrator on the last chapter was a wtf moment with the words fumbling and sounding like they were recorded in a small bathroom. I did expect more from this book but hey

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great bits and pieces, but rotten similes

I enjoyed this, but the writer's devotion to the word "nerds" felt at odds with the topic and target audience.

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  • Kristi
  • 21-02-17

Some noticable flaws and incorrect information.

Pretty good but got noticable things wrong including calling the twisted metal clown calypso in stead of Sweet Tooth which is the characters name. Also it states that from the get go the Xbox 360 had simple wifi connection when in reality, the first generation required a separate add on to access wifi. The last issue was small but he mistook the name of South Park's character Kyle for Lyle. Proofreading is important.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Brandon
  • 06-05-16

A History of Game Developers, Not Games

The book's title is somewhat misleading. Instead of an exploration of the effects that video games have had on pop culture, it reads much more like a collection of short scattered biographies of the men and women that made them, often spending far more time on the childhood and business practices of developers than the games that they created. Although the information provided is interesting, the writing becomes dull after the repetitive use of certain phrases and devices. The book also suffers from horrible organization, mentioning Nintendo in the 80's, EA in the 90's, then jumping back to Sierra in the 70's, and then to Nintendo again in the 2000's.

It's obvious that the book could not be completely comprehensive of video game history, but for a book claiming to be about the effects on pop culture it has some very odd entries and omissions. The author praises "Crash Bandicoot" for it's soundtrack but never mentions Koji Kondo or his compositions for the Mario and Zelda series's, which are arguably the most recognizable soundtracks of all time. The creation of the failed 3DO gaming console gets its own entry, yet Sega's long history is barely a footnote used for comparison to a few other companies. Pokemon, the third highest selling franchise of all time, that has spawned card games, 19 movies, a tv show about to start its 20th season, comics, physical stores, and it's own theme park, doesn't even warrant a mention in this title. Even "Zero Wing", the game this book gets it's title from is only briefly mentioned in the introduction.

A few times in the book, notably "World of Warcraft" and "Bio-shock", Goldberg does describe games with passion, and delves into the emotions a game made him feel, and descries why he finds them special. These parts are the most enjoyable, and made me want to replay those titles. I think that the book would have been much more successful if instead of writing so broadly about video games, Goldberg had gone deeper with a select company that he was passionate about.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Chris
  • 28-01-18

So good my wife insisted on listening in!

I've listened to many books that delve into video game history such as Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto, Minecraft - The Unlikely Tale of Markus 'Notch' Persson and the Game that Changed Everything, Console Wars - Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation, and Masters of Doom - How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture.

All your Base Belong to Us compares well to these titles and adds much more information than I've learned in previous books starting with the birth of the video game industry and carrying through to the early history of PC text based games, and finally through to our modern day gaming era. Each pass through history delves into the inner workings of well known video game publishing companies, allowing the listener to join in the journey as these companies were created and offered insight into our favorite game creations and the difficulties encountered.

Well written and interesting history!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Karla Moran-McFadden
  • 11-08-15

Not bad. . .

It gets some small details wrong, but otherwise it is a good overview of the recent history of videogames. It is written with real enthusiasm and reverence for the industry's movers and shakers.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Scott George
  • 19-02-20

Very in-depth and well researched

I’ve listened to several “history of video games” books and I have to say I really enjoyed “All Your Base Are Belong To Us”. It’s well written and does a thorough job of covering the major events of gaming history. Similar books often either overlook or only selectively cover PC gaming, choosing to focus primarily on consoles. This book, however, discussed the beginnings of Everquest and World of Warcraft and many others. The only major game development I feel they missed was the story of Minecraft. That was pretty disappointing.
I didn’t care for the narrator. He had a stilted, over-the-top, James T Kirk-style of delivery that always made me feel as if he was trying to perform the prose rather than simply reading it.

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  • MrTtype
  • 12-02-20

Great book

Well worth a listen. You can tell a lot of research went into this, like tidbits of information only a conversation with the people mentioned can bring forth. Covers enough ground that you're sure to learn something interesting no matter how much you already know. Hints & Tips - I sped it up to 1.25 speed. Caveat - Spoiler alerts. If like me you haven't yet played Final Fantasy 7, you might want to skip that part. There were others.

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  • Joshua Curry
  • 16-01-20

Factually incorrect and poorly written

I almost didn't finish this book. It has errors in pretty much every chapter and never provides any backing for its main point about games and pop culture the addition seems to be that dozens of disjointed pop culture references are enough. The author spends a lot of time telling you how games make you feel, when he's really just speaking for himself. This book is not insightful it's just a poorly written fan letter to his favorite games. Skip it and read one of the dozens of other books which cover the same information better.

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  • pc
  • 02-09-17

okay

okay overview of some games that helped build the industry up through 2012 or so.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • J. Quinn
  • 17-04-17

All your base are belong to us is awwsome

A very well thought out book. Foes into sextreme detail of the motives and key players of gaming history.

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  • John
  • 09-02-17

Terribly written

While I enjoyed parts of the history, the writing is atrocious. I'm not sure how to judge the narration, was it bad because of the material or the narrator's voice, not really sure.