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"Believe it or not, all those hours playing Super Mario Bros. or Sonic the Hedgehog really meant something. Andrew Ervin takes a brilliant look at the effects of those games--which did not, in fact, rot our brains."
"A fun and insightful analysis of the cultural, educational, and historical value of video games. Ervin deftly traces the evolution of our most interactive art form from Adventure to Minecraft, while offering riveting first-hand accounts from many of the men and women who made it all happen. Bit by Bit
is an essential addition to every video game lover's library."—Ernest Cline, author of Ready Player One and Armada
"Not many books about video games allow Denis Johnson to rub shoulders with Monkey Island or Vladimir Nabokov with Peter Molyneux. Ervin's taste in games is excellent, his points are thought-provoking, and his cultural omnivorousness (take note, aspiring game journalists) is thrilling. A terrific book."
—Tom Bissell, author of Extra Lives and Apostle
"Ervin brings a literary sensibility to his study... [he] makes an affable guide through the history of the medium... For me, the book's key statement is this: 'Today, if there is in fact a distinction between mass entertainment and the fine arts, it gets complicated more effectively by video games than any other medium.' Bit by Bit
plumbs these complications with welcomed intelligence."—Washington Post
"Andrew Ervin slaloms through their cultural and technological history, from physicist William Higinbotham's 1958 analog simulation Tennis for Two to Atari classics, arcade stalwart Pac-Man and the Warcraft franchise. Ervin even plays the original games, research that involves the installation of vintage computer drives and an 'obscenely loud' Donkey Kong machine. A vivid foray into alternative worlds."
"An engrossing and necessary read."
"Literary and playful... Bit by Bit provides a fascinating exploration of the world of video games, their history and importance to modern culture."
—Winnipeg Free Press
"[Bit by Bit
] is a contemplative ode to electronic entertainment...It's a personal journey that speaks volumes on how video games have grown, evolved, and multiplied to fill myriad roles over the years."—Publishers Weekly
"An urbane, witty, passionate, and eminently literate history of video games from their infancy in the 1950s to today... Ervin, who gives equally satisfying treatment to game sounds, special effects, and music, is a terrific storyteller, and he provides profiles of dozens of game developers and fanatics."
"A brisk, thoughtful tour of video game history. Ervin is an ideal guide... Bit by Bit
might persuade holdouts just how awesome video games are."—Games World of Puzzles
"It's unusual for a history of video games to feature multiple quotes from Rilke, references to philosophy and Zen Buddhism, and comparisons to great works of art. But that's exactly what Ervin serves up to support his compelling argument: video games can be art."
"Bit by Bit
is the perfect video game book: it's part gamers' history, part history of games, and by a writer inclined to philosophical insight and literary reference. Extra hearts for a history that actually includes the contributions of women, too!"—Amber Sparks, author of The Unfinished World: And Other Stories and May We Shed These Human Bodies
"Like spaceships or skyscrapers, video games are a collaboration of humans and machines, of art and commerce. One part flesh, one part metal, one part markets, one part truth. Andrew Ervin composes a winsome but measured portrait of games from all these pieces, bit by bit."
—Ian Bogost, author of Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games