Book Review: The 8-BIT Book 1981 to 199X

Yet another good book we have, thanks to Fusion Books, capable to take us on “a trip down memory lane”. This time, brought to us by Jerry Ellis, we celebrate the best of the best of gaming from 1981 to 199X. As you can see by comparing the featured image and the following picture, the book looks appealing right from the start, with a cover that clearly reminds the reader of a certain 7-segments display that equipped the DeLorean of Back to the Future. Nice touch, this is, and nice intro for a document that really is a time machine for people like me. The 8-Bit Book 1981 to 199x is one of the few books that doesn’t follow the latest fashion of focusing on only a fistful of old computers, but retrieves memories of products that fell into oblivion: not only Commodore and Sinclair machines are here remembered, but also Oric, Dragon Data, Acorn, TRS-80, TI-99/4A, Amstrad and MSX computers have a place in the sun, without forgetting the Atari 400/800 and the 8-bit era of Apple Computers with their Apple ][.

The book is here rendered with outstanding writing quality and bears an incredible amount of details, thus giving justice to things that are long forgotten by most people out there but that we shall not forget since they indeed are the pillars of our past. Most of those brands don’t even exist anymore, but a lot of the professionals that are still in the computer and/or gaming industry did cut their teeth on those 8-bit jewels.

It is not that common to find a book depicting Jeff Minter‘s VIC-20 title GridRunner, or a book that demonstrated that my most beloved C-128 did have some games published for it in “pure C-128 Mode”, like the splendid A Mind Forever Voyaging by Steve Meretzky at Infocom (full review due soon). Loads and loads of other meaningful titles (for the time) for every possible 8-bit computer are mentioned in this book, each one with peculiar trivia and insights that will take you back to the old good times and, possibly, will “force” you to take out of your basement those precious jewels (I know you have one, since I do!) and spend some time with them.

In the end, the 8-Bit Book 1981 to 199x is really a must-have, one of those books that shoudn’t miss in your personal library regardless the fact that you are a retro fan or not. The softback edition is rather well done, although I would have preferred a different kind of binding (a mix of glue and stitches that hopefully won’t tend to lose pages as time goes by) and a bigger font since the combination of background colors and small fonts put ones eyes at strain. Nonetheless, Fusion Retro Books succeeded in making another real good one. Grab a copy while you can.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: The 8-BIT Book 1981 to 199X

  1. not my first pick of the mill as my 8bit time was very biased towards the C64 even though I did have an +4 and a Vic20 at a time too.

    but… there is one thing that attracts me with this book and that is all the precious info and that alone will make me get the book for sure as it is these things i live and breathe for in the gaming world.

    Thanks for the headsup 😀

    • That’s exactly the point: loads of info!

      • indeed but hehe, what do we really want to know about anything else than Commodores :p

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