The story of video games is often told as the successive rise of computers and consoles from famous names like Atari, Commodore, Nintendo, Sega, Sony and Microsoft. But beyond this familiar tale, there’s a whole world of weird and wonderful gaming machines that seldom get talked about.

Curious Video Game Machines reveals the fascinating stories behind a bevy of rare and unusual consoles, computers and coin-ops – like Kimtanktics, a 1970s wargame computer made out of calculator parts, or the suite of Korea-exclusive consoles made by car manufacturer Daewoo. Then there’s the Casio Loopy, a 1990s console that doubled up as a sticker printer, the RDI Halcyon, a 1985 LaserDisc-based machine that could recognise your voice, and the Interton VC 4000, a German console made by a hearing-aid company, as well as a range of bizarre arcade machines, from early attempts at virtual reality to pedal-powered flying contraptions.

There are tales of missed opportunities, like the astonishingly powerful Enterprise 64 computer, which got caught in development hell and arrived too late to make an impact on the British microcomputer market. And there are tales of little-known triumphs, like the Galaksija DIY computer kit that introduced a whole generation of Yugoslavians to computing before the country became engulfed by war.

Pen & Sword Book Cover / Jacket artwork

Featuring exclusive interviews with creators, developers and collectors, Curious Video Game Machines finally shines a light on the forgotten corners of video-game history.

About the Author

Lewis Packwood has been writing about video games professionally since 2013, and his work has appeared in The Guardian, Retro Gamer, EDGE, Eurogamer, Wireframe, Rock Paper Shotgun, Kotaku, PC Gamer and Gamesradar+, among others. He contributed to the AR-enabled book Convergence: How the World Will be Painted with Data by VR evangelist and Forbes columnist Charlie Fink, and he is chief editor of the video-game website A Most Agreeable Pastime.

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