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Game on: The History and Culture of Videogames


Despite the intense rivalry between the two formats and the jokes cracked by Speccy fans about the flawed fat beige contraption, ZX heads may be interested in a new book about Commodore, which will be published later this year.

According to author Brian Bagnall, 'The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore' promises to tells the story of Commodore through first-hand accounts by the actual Commodore engineers and managers who made the company.

It will chart the company's entry into computers in 1976 right up to its demise in 1994. Most good books have good characters and this book would appears to include plenty of them.

Bagnall whets the appetite on by introducing some of these characters, which include Jack Tramiel, "once described as the scariest man alive" and Bil Herd, a man also know as 'The Animal' who "designed the ill-fated Plus/4 computer and later went on to design the Commodore 128. Known to wrestle executives in the hallways of Commodore".

Brian Bagnall has written several computer books and he is also a frequent contributor to, so this forthcoming 624-page hard backed tome promises to be a very worthy read. He says that in writing the book, he has strived to keep his own personal opinions out of equation.

"It was my goal to express the opinions of those who were there," he writes. "I also strived to be fair and balanced to those who were unable to give interviews for the book.

"When people gave damning comments about someone, I made an effort to see the other point of view and present it fairly."

The book was supposed to be available this summer but it now looks as if it's going to be autumn at least before it is released. You can keep up with the latest state of play by visiting

Alas there is no sign of any similar book about Sinclair at this time, unless anyone reading this knows different. Of course, the out of print 'The Sinclair Story' by Rodney Dale, published back in the 1985, occasionally appears on eBay and can often be sourced second hand through, but expect to pay anything upto £100 for a copy.

What may be of interest, however, is the more affordable 'Encyclopedia of Game Machines' by Winnie Forster. Originally published in Germany but now translated into English, improved and enhanced, it's a compendium of all the consoles and computers that have come out since 1972 with color photographs throughout. It's available now and can be snaffled for around £18 from Amazon UK.

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'Encyclopedia of Game Machines' by Winnie Foster

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