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Sources & Citations from VERSUS

Hey y’all. Nick Nelson here. I wrote VERSUS. This page is for people who’ve bought the book, and are interested in learning about the sources of direct citations shared within. I guess you can also peruse them if you didn’t buy the book, but it’ll feel a little aimless and random. Really, you should buy the book.




The stories in this book are mostly informed by our own (verified) memories and information that is readily available via multiple independent sources. As for the more specific details, stats, and quotes, I’ve pulled together a list of references below. Took the notes, might as well share 'em! If you find the stories we've touched on in the pages of VERSUS intriguing, you’ll be able to explore them in much greater depth by clicking through the links.


Before I get down to the nitty-gritty, I want to specially recognize these six books, each of which I read front-to-back during my research and thoroughly enjoyed:


Key Sources and Recommended Reading:


Stat and Quote Citations


Chapter 1: Pong vs. The Pretenders


Atari sold more than 35,000 Pong units (via Center for Computer History)


Estimated sales total for Computer Space was around 1,500 units (via Alexander Smith, Video Game Historian)


Ralph Baer dubbed the Father of the Video Game (via National Museum of American History)


Story of Magnavox suing Atari over Pong rights: "Ralph H. Baer, Inventor of First System for Home Video Games, Is Dead at 92," by Douglas Martin for The New York Times, 12/7/14)


"Most of the games that we did in those days were really dictated by the hardware we can have. We didn't think that a square ball was cool, but that's all we could do." (Nolan Bushnell quote via NPR)


Chapter 2: Space Invaders vs. Asteroids


"Space Invaders sold an unprecedented hundred thousand machines in Japan; Bally Midway, the game’s U.S. distributor, sold around sixty thousand units in 1979 alone. Today, with its jagged shapes and sine-wave squeals, the game is an icon of the industry’s formative days and the medium’s ongoing appeal: a simplistic rendering of fears that can be overcome with determination and a steady focus." (via "The Space Invader," by Simon Parkin in The New Yorker, 10/17/13)


"Space Invaders helped everybody in the industry. Its popularity opened new outlets to coin-operated games. Soon they could be found in movie theaters and restaurants." (via page 44 of "The Medium of the Video Game," by Mark J.P. Wolf)


"Before I saw it, I was never particularly interested in video games and certainly never thought I would make video games." (Shigeru Miyamoto quote via "10 Questions for Shigeru Miyamoto," by Carolyn Sayre for TIME Magazine, 7/19/07)


Asteroids is "the coolest game planet Earth has ever seen!" (John Romero quote via page 3 of "Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture" by David Kushner)


Carl Sagan's letter (via Library of Congress)


"Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars." (via "Cosmos," by Carl Sagan)


Asteroids 7th-highest selling arcade game of all-time with 100,000; Space Invaders 2nd all-time with 360,000 cabinets sold (via "Top 10 Highest-Grossing Arcade Games of All Time," by Jaz Rignall at USgamer, 1/1/16)


Space Invader was the first game to let you save your high score (via page 12 of "Game On!: Video Game History from Pong and Pac-Man to Mario, Minecraft, and More," by Dustin Hansen)

Chapter 3: Pac-Man vs. Ms. Pac-Man 


"The image of arcades was that they were darkly lit and their restrooms were dirty ... “I wanted to change that by introducing game machines in which cute characters appeared with simpler controls that would not be intimidating to female customers and couples to try out … and couples visiting arcades would increase.” (Toru Iwatani quote via "This Is What Pac-Man's Creator Thinks 35 Years Later," by Matt Peckham for TIME Magazine, 5/22/15)

"In the early eighties, the Pac-Man arcade game was twice as popular as oxygen." (via "I Can Make You Hate," by Charlie Brooker)


Namco sold more than 100,000 Pac-Man arcade units within 15 months of its U.S. release, while fans spent more than $1 billion in quarters. (via "Chomp! Pac-Man, the arcade classic, turns 30," by Larry Frum for CNN, 5/21/10)


Story of General Computer Corporation, with quotes from founders: "The MIT Dropouts Who Created Ms. Pac-Man: A 35th-Anniversary Oral History," by Benj Edwards for Fast Company, 2/3/17)


Ms. Pac-Man holds all-time sales record for standalone arcade video game in the U.S. (via same as above)


LA Times newspaper clipping from February 4, 1982 (as seen in Akron Beacon Journal)


"Pac-Man was the first commercial video game to involve large numbers of women as players. It expanded our customer base and made Pac-Man a hit. Now, we’re producing this new game, Ms. Pac-Man, as our way of thanking all those lady arcaders who have played and enjoyed Pac-Man.” (Stan Jarocki quote via page 63 of Electronic Games Magazine, May 1982 edition)


“When you think about things women like, you think about fashion, or fortune-telling, or food or dating boyfriends. So I decided to theme the game around ‘eat- ing’ – after eating dinner, women like to have dessert.” (Toru Iwatani quote via "Q&A: Pac-Man Creator Reflects on 30 Years of Dot-Eating," by Chris Kohler on, 5/21/10)


Darlene "was stacked and had the tiniest waist." (Nolan Bushnell quote via "Sex Drugs and Video Games," by David Kushner for Playboy, 7/19/12, as seen on Kushner's website)


"To give you an example, when I arrived there on the first day, I was dressed in a business suit and a tie and I met Nolan Bushnell. He had a T-shirt on. The T-shirt said: "I love to fuck." That was my introduction to Atari." (Ray Kassar quote via "The Replay Interviews: Ray Kassar," by Tristan Donovan for Gamasutra, 4/29/11)

Chapter 4: Coin-Op vs. Console


Arcade industry worth $8 billion in 1981. (via "Can Lasers Save Video Arcades?" in The Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/3/84)


Number of arcades in U.S. more than doubled from 1980 to 1982. (via page 105 of "The Video Game Explosion: A History from PONG to Playstation and Beyond," By Mark J. P. Wolf )


“It was the social environment that many be- lieve cemented the language of arcade gaming in the conscious of so many; a primitive rite-of- passage played out in front of one’s peers,” wrote Kevin Williams in his foreword for Adam Pratt’s book The Arcade Experience. “A play- er’s abilities were scrutinized and categorized, ultimately immortalized on a high-score chart, but only if you were skilled enough.” (via Kevin Williams' foreword in "The Arcade Experience: A Look At Modern Arcades and Why They Still Matter," by Adam Pratt)


"The VCS was not doing that well -- there were only a few million in the field, and it looked like it was dying -- then Space Invaders came out, and bam! It exploded." (Larry Kaplan quote via "Design case history: the Atari Video Computer System," by Tekla E. Perry and Paul Wallich for IEEE Spectrum, March 1983, as seen on Atari Museum)


162 million Americans in households with televisions owned a video game console in 2018. (via Nielsen data featured in "How Many People Own Video Game Consoles?" on Marketing Charts)


Dana Wessel quotes via first-hand interview.


Story and quotes on the origins of barcade concept: "Drink and Revive: The Rise of the Barcade," by Simon Parkin for Polygon, 2/26/13

Chapter 5: Atari vs. Activision


Atari was labeled in 1980 as the fastest-growing company in U.S. history, grossing proceeds of  $512.7 million for the year (via "Atari: The Golden Years -- A History, 1978-1981," by Steve Fulton for Gamasutra)


"Ray Kassar wouldn't be caught dead in an arcade." (Howard Delman quote via page 73 of "Zap! The Rise and Fall of Atari," by Scott Cohen)


"The truth of the matter is, there were no rewards per se for the success of Pac-Man. I was just an employee. There was no change in my salary, no bonus, no official citation of any kind." (Tori Iwatani quote via "Exclusive: Pac-Man Creator Speaks!" by Helen Pfeffer for VH1 Game Break, 6/6/07)


"When I saw a memo that the games for which I was 100 percent responsible had generated over $20 million in revenues, I was one of the people wondering why I was working in com- plete anonymity for a $20,000 salary." (David Crane quote via "The History of Activision," by Jeffrey Fleming for Gamasutra, 7/30/07)


"High-strung prima donnas." (Ray Kassar quote via "Atari's Kassar: Calling Programmers 'High-Strung Prima Donnas' Was A Mistake," by Staff for Gamasutra, 4/29/11)


"“Kassar called us towel designers. He said, ‘I’ve dealt with your kind before. You’re a dime a dozen. You’re not unique. Anybody can do what you do.’ ” (Larry Kaplan quote via “What went wrong at Atari?” by John Hubner and William F. Kistner Jr. for InfoWorld Magazine, 11/28/83, page)


"Basically, I just ripped off Avalanche." (Larry Kaplan quote via "...Larry Kaplin," by Scott Stilphen for Digital Press Interviews) 


Top-selling video games for Atari 2600. (via VGChartz)


"The end result was the single worst coin-op conversion of all time." (This + Frankie Ballouz quote via page 41 of Next Generation Magazine, April 1998 issue)


E.T. review excerpt via “Review Roundup: Was E.T. Really the Worst Game Ever?” by John Harris for Video Game History Foundation, 11/3/17


"These companies all failed, but not until they had built 1-2 million copies of the worst games you can imagine. Those awful games flooded the market at huge discounts, and ruined the video game business." (David Crane quote via "David Crane (Atari) – Interview" on Arcade Attack)


Story of E.T. game excavation: “Excavating the Video-game Industry’s Past,” by Ted Trautman, 4/29/14)

Chapter 6: Shigeru Miyamoto vs. Convention


"I was not an engineer. I was not a programmer. All I was doing was making the designs, and I asked the programmer to cooperate with me to make the game." (Shigeru Miyamoto quote via "The father of Mario and Zelda," by Moira Muldoon for Salon, December 1998)


"At a time where most games were small white spaceships in black star-filled space scenes, Miyamoto brought bright colors, cute characters, and blue skies.” (via page 53 of "Game On!: Video Game History from Pong and Pac-Man to Mario, Minecraft, and More," by Dustin Hansen)


Original Super Mario Bros. was best-selling video game of all time until Wii Sports surpassed it in 2008. (via “Master of Play: The many worlds of a video-game artist,” by Nick Paumgarten for The New Yorker, 12/13/10)

"What it does not say is that he is Nintendo’s guiding spirit, its meal ticket, and its playful public face ... He has never been the company’s (or his own) boss, but it is not unreasonable to imagine that Nintendo might not exist without him." (via same as above)


“He approaches the games playfully, which seems kind of obvious, but most people don’t. And he approaches things from the players’ point of view, which is part of his magic.” (Will Wright quote via same as above)


"Early designs of Zelda had Link beginning the game with a sword. Some at Nintendo were worried players would forgo the cave altogether and plod to the first dungeon without a means of defending themselves. But Miya- moto resisted this nod toward traditional linear gameplay, maintaining that players should find their own way.” (via page 195 of "A History of Video Games in 64 Objects," by The World Video Game Hall of Fame)


“It’s always been our belief that simply asking peo- ple what they want – or analyzing them to achieve the same end – is inherently self-restricting." (via "Nintendo CMO: Digital channels mean nothing without creativity," by Scott Moffitt for Hot Topics)


"When the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences began giving out awards in 1998, Miyamoto-san received the first life- time achievement award. It was presented to him by one of his dear friends in the U.S. industry, a man named Will Wright." (via page 84 of "Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution," by Heather Chaplin and Aaron Ruby)

Chapter 7: Console vs. PC


In 1983 revenue sales were roughly $3.2 billion. By 1985, the revenue for video games would drop to $100 million, roughly 97% less than it was two years prior." (via "Game Changers - Super Mario Bros.," by Robert Grosso for TechRaptor)


Nintendo sold 1.1 million units in 1986 according to Ron Judy, Vice President of marketing at Nintendo of America (via “Zap! Video Games Make a Comeback!” by Scripps Howard News Service, 2/28/87) 


"Atari collapsed because they gave too much freedom to third-party developers and the market was swamped with rubbish games." (Hiroshi Yamauchi quote via “Video games gain in Japan, are due for assault on U.S.,” by Jonathan Takiff for Knight-Ridder Newspapers)


Nearly 30 million NES game consoles had found their way into U.S. homes by 1991. (via “Video Games Power Up: New 16-bit game systems are twice as good,” by James K. Willcox for Popular Mechanic, December 1991)


Chapter 8: Tetris vs. Pokémon


Mobile gaming comprised 45% of the global gaming market in 2019. (via "The Global Games Market Will Generate $152.1 Billion in 2019 as the U.S. Overtakes China as the Biggest Market," by Tom Wijman for Newzoo, 6/18/19)


"Tetris made Game Boy and Game Boy made Tetris." (Henk Rogers quote via "Tetris: how we made the addictive computer game," by Phil Hoad for The Guardian, 7/2/14)


"It's so intriguing to play that once you've started you'll be spending many hours in front of the computer screen, so many that you'll begin to wonder if Tetris isn't really part of a diabolical plot hatched in the Evil Empire to lower worker productivity in the United States." (via “Glasnost Reaches Computer Games, and Tetris is Terrific,” by Dennis Lynch for the Chicago Tribune, 6/10/88)


"Tetris is proof positive that the best sources for innovative games, from America to Japan to the farthest reaches of Russia, are the play and life experiences that most move and fascinate us." (via page 181 of "A History of Video Games in 64 Objects," by The World Video Game Hall of Fame)


"It’s difficult now to overstate just how great a sensation Pokémon caused upon its 1998 U.S. debut. By the end of 1999, Pokémon products had grossed $7 billion worldwide.” (via "The ‘Pokémon’ Invasion, 20 Years Later," by Claire McNear for The Ringer)


Pokémon is the highest-grossing media franchise of all time. (via "The World’s 25 Most Successful Media Franchises, and How They Stay Relevant," by Katie Jones for Market Insider, 11/22/19)


"Since its debut in 2016, more than 1 billion people have downloaded Pokémon Go, which is significantly more than have played every previous entry in the series combined." (via "Pokémon Go spurred an amazing era that continues with Sword and Shield," by Andrew Webster for The Verge, 2/28/19)


Tetris was (probably) surpassed by Minecraft in 2019 for top-selling game of all time. (via "Minecraft Has Sold 176 Million Copies Worldwide," by Elise Favis for Game Informer, 5/19/19)


“The Game Boy version is the Tetris people know and love from childhood, and three decades after its birth, Tetris lives on in tablets, laptops, smartphones, game consoles, and more. It’s estimated that the dozens of of- ficial versions of Tetris have generated more than $1 billion in lifetime sales, and the game’s legacy has directly influenced time-sucking moneymakers from Bejeweled to Candy Crush Saga.” (via page 7 of "The Tetris Effect: The Game that Hypnotized the World," by Dan Ackerman)


"There was one point where I thought if I showed her Tetris, she might like Tetris." (Shigeru Miyamoto quote via "How to Get Your Girlfriend Into Video Games, According to the Creator of Mario," by Joshua Rivera for GQ, 12/16/16)


Story of Alexey Pajitnov and Henk Rogers: "Meet the men who built the only perfect video game: Tetris," by Adam Rosenberg for Digital Trends, 2/12/2015

Chapter 9: Will Wright vs. The Ending


"As part of making that game, I had to create this landscape with islands, little roads and buildings for you to bomb. I found out that I was having a lot more fun with that part of it than flying around and bombing it." (Will Wright quote via "PROFILE: Will Wright Unsimulated success SimCity creator's video games are about building cities, not blowing them up," by Matthew Yi for the San Francisco Chronicle, 11/3/03)


"I used to tell people I was going to do a game about city planning. They'd just look at me, roll their eyes, and say, somewhat dubiously, 'Oh good Will, you go do that.' " (Will Wright quote via "SIMply Divine: The Story of Maxis Software," by Geoff Keighley for Gamespot)


"When I started working on SimCity, I showed it to Brøderbund and they said, ‘Sure, let’s do it.’ But they kept wanting to change it. I’d kind of programmed it to the point where I thought it was done, and they didn’t think it was nearly done. They kept wanting a win/lose. They were expecting more of a traditional game out of it." (Will Wright quote via "The Replay Interviews: Will Wright," by Tristan Donovan for Gamasutra. 5/23/11)


“People call me a game designer, but I really think of these things more as toys." (Will Wright quote via Will's TED Talk in March 2007, "Spore, birth of a game")


Paul Charchian quotes via first-hand interview.


SimCity sold slowly at first, but by late 1992 had moved 1 million copies, with roughly half those sales coming from the Super NES version. (via "Only a Game?," by Roy Rivenburg for the Los Angeles Times, 10/2/92)


"The board looked at The Sims and said, ‘What is this? He wants to do an interactive doll house? The guy is out of his mind.’ ” (Jeff Braun quote via "Game Master," by John Seabrook for The New Yorker, 10/30/06)


SimCity is "one of the most important art works of the 20th century ... It completely reinvented the whole notion of games. And then it transcended the game world to become a cultural phenomenon.” (Matteo Bittanti quote via "Is That Just Some Game? No, It’s a Cultural Artifact," by Heather Chaplin for the New York Times, 3/12/07)

Chapter 10: Nintendo vs. Sega


Nintendo accounted for 80% of worldwide video game sales in 1980. (via "Can Nintendo Keep Winning?" by Susan Moffat for Fortune, 11/5/90) 


Story of Nintendo recalling faulty Famicon units: "Nintendo Gets Into the Game," by Jeremy Parish for USgamer, 6/26/13


Story of Sonic's (aka "Mr. Needlemouse's") origins: "Birth of an Icon" chapter, page 72 of "Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation," by Blake J. Harris


Sonic the Hedgehog reportedly sold 15 million copies. (via "Twenty years of Sonic the Hedgehog," by Dave Lee for BBC, 6/23/11)

Story of Sega's "Sixteen Weeks of Summer": "The Underdog Days of Summer" chapter, page 141 of "Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation," by Blake J. Harris 

Speed of Sonic calculations: "How Fast Is the New Sonic? | Because Science Live!"


Sonic 2 is the second-best selling game in the series – and on the Genesis – with 6 million copies sold (via "SEGA Reveals 'Sonic Boom' Is The Worst-Selling Sonic Game Ever," by Paul Tassi for Forbes, 2/12/15)


Sega pulled ahead of Nintendo in sales in late 1993. (via page 481 of "Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation," by Blake J. Harris)


"When you’re involved with such a big disaster, the stench of it sort of stays with everybody.” (Richard Edson quote via "'The stench of it stays with everybody': inside the Super Mario Bros movie," by Keith Stuart for The Guardian, 3/21/18)

Chapter 11: Street Fighter vs. Mortal Kombat


Capcom was founded in 1983, after originally being being founded as I.R.M. Corporation "with objectives of developing and selling electric applied game machines." (via Company History on Capcom's website)


"I think it was the first game to make people seriously compete against each other. Of course there were many games before SF2 where you could compete against friends, but it must have been the first game that had the depth that was worth investing time and effort into.” (Junya Christopher Motomura quote via "The 25-year legacy of Street Fighter II, in the words of the experts," by Chris Baker for Gamasutra, 2/5/16)


Top 10 Highest-selling SNES Games via VGChart


“The game sold well. It didn’t sell as well as we anticipated, because we re- leased it head to head against Mortal Kombat.” (Joe Morici quote via Chapter 4 of "Street Fighter 2: An Oral History," by Matt Leone for Polygon, 2/3/13)


"Mortal Kombat's development was the result of one of the most famous partnerships this side of John Romero and John Carmack." (Quote via "The History of Mortal Kombat," by Travis Fahs for IGN, 2/14/12)


"I wanted to have characters larger on the screen, as large as possible, and Williams kind of had been known for utilizing a digitizing technique where you would videotape live actors and use the digitized animations in the game ... This realistic western world with this supernatural eastern world.” (John Tobias quote via "John Tobias, Mortal Kombat co-creator | Interview | The Gameological Society" - Gameological Society website now dead)


Tekken is the top-selling fighting game franchise of all time. (via "Here’s How Tekken’s Sales Compare to Other Fighting Game Franchises," byAlex Gibson for Twinfinite, 10/22/18)


Sega overtook video game market shortly after Mortal Monday. (via page 481 of "Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation," by Blake J. Harris)

Chapter 12: Pixels vs. Polygons


Story of Yuji Naka developing an algorithm for Sonic: "Sonic the Hedgehog Was Almost Sonic the Rabbit," by Arjan Terpstra for VICE, 6/9/17


"Computers rule toon town: 3-D successes flattening traditionally animated pix," by Carl DiOrio for Variety)


"There was a very painful period that was like someone dying, just to see what happened. I mean, it had to do with so many, many people losing their jobs. But even more than that ... just a sort of an art form that had been built up over a period of decades was just abandoned, I think, because it was not the hot ticket at the moment." (Ron Clements quote via "The Pixar Story" on Netflix)


Story and quotes about Virtua Fighter inspiring PlayStation's 3D graphics: "How Virtua Fighter Saved PlayStation's Bacon," by Daniel Feit for Wired, 9/5/12)


PlayStation outsold Saturn more than 10-to-1 globally, 102.5 million to 9.5 million. (via "Here's who won each console war," by Mike Minotti for VentureBeat, 8/20/14)


"It’s coarse enough that you can examine its visual structure directly — there’s no pretense of optical illusion, and therefore no illusion that can become compromised over the years." (Jason Rohrer quote via "Pixel art games aren't retro, they're the future," by Sam Byford for The Verge, 7/3/14)

Chapter 13: Doom vs. Quake


“While Carmack was exceptionally talented in programming, Romero was multitalented in art, sound, and design. And while Carmack had played video games as a kid, no one had played as many as Romero. The ultimate coder and the ultimate gamer – together they were a perfect fit.” (via page 40 of "Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture," by David Kushner)


"In 1993, we fully expect to be the number one cause of decreased productivity in businesses around the world." (DOOM Press Release)


"Quake is largely responsible for the esports scene we enjoy today. The game pioneered competitive gaming events with the Red Annihilation Quake multiplayer event which was held in May 1997. This is widely considered to be the first national-level gaming event in North America.” (via "How ‘Quake’ Changed Video Games Forever," by John Davison for Rolling Stone, 6/22/16)


"When Doom came out, I gave up on programming for a year, because this was some unimaginable witchcraft." (Tim Sweeney quote via "'Doom' at 20: John Carmack's hellspawn changed gaming forever," by Andrew Webster for The Verge, 12/10/13)


id Software's profits were $1.5 million in 1993. (via "COMPANY NEWS; Virtual Mayhem and Real Profits," by By Peter H. Lewis for The New York Times, 9/3/94) 


id Software's profits were $7.7 million in 1994, and $15.6 million in 1995. "If Doom is the most popular computer game of all time, Quake must be the most anticipated." (via "The Egos at Id," by March Laidlaw for Wired, 8/1/96)


"I really believe that Quake was more influential for video games than Doom." (Tim Willits quote via "How ‘Quake’ Changed Video Games Forever," by John Davison for Rolling Stone, 6/22/16)


Call of Duty: Ghosts was the second-highest selling video game in 2013, moving more than 12 million units. (via "Top 10 Best Selling Video Games in 2013" on WholesGame)


Top-Selling Video Games by Year, via IGN


Paul Charchian quote via first-hand interview.

Chapter 14: Final Fantasy vs. Legend of Zelda 


"The biggest game in the first set of N64 titles--the “Star Wars"-based Shadows of the Empire--uses only 12 megabytes of data, while a CD-ROM can hold about 660 megabytes. But Nintendo's strategy is to appeal to game players who want the kind of continuous, fast-paced action CD-ROMs simply cannot deliver." (via "New Nintendo 64 Is a Technical Wonder," by Aaron Curtiss for the Los Angeles Times, 9/30/96)


"It was very clear in my head what I wanted to make, but that would have been difficult on Nintendo’s hardware. The biggest problem was, of course, memory. Based on our calculations there was no way it could all fit on a ROM cartridge. So our main reason for choosing the PlayStation was really just because it was the only console which would allow us to use CD-ROM media ... Politically it was a drastic change and a huge decision, but for me it was more of a natural decision because that was the hardware we needed to make the game.” (Hironobu Sakaguchi quote via "Final Fantasy 7: An oral history," by Matt Leone for Polygon, 1/9/2017)


“Someone please get the guys who make cartridge games a cigarette and a blindfold" magazine ad viewable on Kotaku


"It may sound like an excuse, but it is not because the N64 doesn't have access to a CD-ROM that we incorporated real-time movie processing. Quite the contrary, to the greatest extent possible we were able to make use of truly cinematic methods with our camera work without relying on the kind of data typically used to make cinema scenes." (Shigeru Miyamoto quote via "GDC: Miyamoto Keynote Speech" on IGN)


"Ocarina has topped at least 20 best-games-ever rankings, and any list that doesn’t at least have the game in the top 10 is immediately suspect. Everything from Grand Theft Auto to God of War can be evaluated on a yardstick that measures it against Nintendo’s first 3D Zelda." (via "Why ‘The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’ Will Always Be the “Best Game Ever”," by Victor Luckerson for The Ringer, 10/23/18)


Sources suggesting both Ocarina of Time and Final Fantasy 7 had sold ~11 million copies around 2014-15.


Barret in Final Fantasy 7 was "a walking stereotype." (via "Final Fantasy VII Retrospective: Great Because It's Weird," by Jason Schreier for Kotaku, 8/4/17) 


"The new benchmark for interactive entertainment has arrived." (via "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Review," by Peer Schneider for IGN, 11/25/98)


Ocarina of Time was the first game to score 10.0 on IGN's scale. (via "Why ‘The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’ Will Always Be the “Best Game Ever”," by Victor Luckerson for The Ringer, 10/23/18)


PlayStation outsold Nintendo 64, 102 million units to 33 million (via "Here's who won each console war," by Mike Minotti for VentureBeat, 8/20/14)


Kat Bailey quote via first-hand interview.

Chapter 15: Resident Evil vs. Silent Hill


Resident Evil sold 2.75 million copies (via Capcom)


"If the player isn’t tricked into believing that the world is real, then there’s no point in making the game." (Hideo Kojima quote via "More News From Metal Gear Solid Creator," from IGN, 5/21/12)


"Combining the shocking, visceral horror of Resident Evil with a bleak, foreboding, and mysterious atmosphere that echoed some of Steven King's work (particularly The Mist), it elevated the quality of writing in the genre to new heights, and created something genuinely disturbing beyond cheap scares." (via "IGN Presents the History of Survival Horror," by Travis Fahs for IGN, 10/30/09)


"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." (H.P. Lovecraft quote via "Supernatural Horror in Literature")


"I have friends who sometimes joke that we live in a post-Resident Evil 4 world. It can feel tongue in cheek to say that a single title impacted the medium so much but it is true. Games can’t be removed from their context and RE4 made a major impact on game design after its release. During the time Resident Evil 4 was released, the action genre had yet to completely find a way to fully integrate navigation of a game space and action within that space." (via "Resident Evil 4 Changed Action Games Forever," by Heather Alexandra for Kotaku, 9/21/16)


"Resident Evil 6 is a Michael Bay movie. There's really no more polite a way to put it. Stuffed to the gills with bombastic action segments, car chases, and relentless chaos, Capcom has abandoned any pretense of the survival horror genre and embraced a world of skin-deep Hollywood audacity." (via "Review: Resident Evil 6," by Jim Sterling for Destructoid, 10/1/12)


Chapter 16: Half-Life vs. Counter-Strike


"Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie; it's expected to be there but it's not that important." (John Carmack quote via page 128 of "Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture," by David Kushner)


"From the outset, Valve was intent on building a game around a story and not vice-versa,” per a GameSpot retrospective. “It wanted to make a dense environment that provided for some- thing new around every corner. Valve wanted living and breathing characters. A plot. Puz- zles. And a lot of action." (via "The Final Hours of Half-Life: Behind Closed Doors at Valve Software," for GameSpot)


"When you look at the history of first-person shooters, it all breaks down pretty cleanly into pre-Half-Life and post-Half-Life eras." (via "Top 100 First-Person Shooters" on IGN)


"We didn't actually make any of the levels for Counter-Strike, all of the levels were made by the community. They would make levels and submit them to us, and we would review them. We would choose which ones we liked and include those in the next version we released. So basically that is how the game was developed. It was me, my partner Cliffe, and the community. It was kind of like crowd development." (Minh Le quote via "Dust to Dust: The History of Counter-Strike," by Zorine Te for GameSpot, 5/26/14) 


Counter-Strike surpassed Half-Life in number of players online in its fifth beta, becoming the most-played online game in the world in 1999. (via page 172 of "Game On!: Video Game History from Pong and Pac-Man to Mario, Minecraft, and More," by Dustin Hansen)


"The CPL World Championship 2001 had a total of US$150 000 prize pool, primarily provided by Intel. The event’s main title in team competition was Counter-Strike, a game that was slowly replacing Quake III in competitive FPS."  (via "The CPL Heritage" on the Cyberathlete Professional League website) 


Ninjas in Pyjamas won the 2001 CPL Championship.


Call of Duty has had best-selling game in 8 of the past 10 years, as of 2020. (via "Here are the best selling video games of the past 25 years," by Chris Morris for Fortune, 1/17/20)


"We started to see more games that emulated that style of gameplay. They focused on realistic, slower paced fighting. After Counter-Strike became a hit, we saw games like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor. Games that were steeped in realism started to become more popular." (Minh Le quote via "Dust to Dust: The History of Counter-Strike," by Zorine Te for GameSpot, 5/26/14) 


"The wall went down last month. From now on in computer gaming, there were to be no real barriers between creator and audience, or producer and consumer. They would be collaborators in the same imaginative space, and working as equals, they’d create a new medium, together." (via "Triumph of the mod: Player-created additions to computer games aren't a hobby anymore -- they're the lifeblood of the industry," by James Wagner Au for Salon, 4/16/02)


"It will create a smoother transition between the amateur world and the professional world." (Gabe Newell quote via same as above)


In 2019, Steam had more than 1 billion registered accounts and 90 million active users. (via "Steam Now Has One Billion Accounts (And 90 Million Active Users)," by Liz Lanier for Variety 4/30/19)


Original Half-Life team has left Valve. (via "Valve has no more 'Half-Life' writers left," by Aaron Souppouris for Engadget, 5/2/17)

Chapter 17: Dreamcast vs. Destiny


Nintendo 64 outsold Sega Saturn roughly 3-to-1, 32.93 million units to 9.5 million (via "Here's who won each console war," by Mike Minotti for VentureBeat, 8/20/14)


"The Saturn is not our future ... The company was bleeding cash, and I wanted to build a new team." (quotes via "IGN Presents the History of SEGA," via Travis Fahs for IGN, 6/14/12)


Sega's U.S. market share had fallen to less than 1 percent in 1999. (via "Who's Got Game?" for Newsweek, 6/6/99)


Dreamcast sold 372,000 units in the first four days of sales. (via "Why former Sega president Bernie Stolar is still proud of the Dreamcast," by Patrick Stafford for Polygon, 7/10/17)


Global internet users rose from 44 million in 1995 to 412 million in 2000. (via "Internet," by Max Roser, Hannah Ritchie and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina for Our World in Data)


Crazy Taxi was second-highest selling game on Dreamcast. (via "Dreamcast Turns 19, Top 10 Best-Selling Games on the Console - Sales," by William D'Angelo for VGChartz, 11/27/17)


""In September of 2000, one year after the North America launch, Sega's American executives came to a realization. Despite initial great sales in North America, Sega lacked the marketing dollars to compete with Sony and Nintendo, and it was witnessing Sony's arrival even before it had arrived, with decreased sales going into the fall season. Additionally, Sega heard rumors that Microsoft, which had partnered with Sega to make its Windows CE platform work on Dreamcast, planned on entering the business ... In a meeting that shocked even those who suspected Sega was in trouble, on January 31, 2001, Sega announced it would end manufacturing Dreamcast by March 2001, and transition into a third-party software publisher." (via "The Rise And Fall Of The Dreamcast," by Douglass C. Perry for Gamasutra, 9/9/09)


PlayStation 2 is the #1 selling video game console of all time, at around 150 million sold. (via "Here's who won each console war," by Mike Minotti for VentureBeat, 8/20/14)


"The Dreamcast was arguably the first casualty of a major shift in the gaming industry, one with even greater scope than the '90s-era transition from bitmaps to polygons. When the Dreamcast died, so too did the concept of videogames as the exclusive province of the hardcore. On January 31, 2001, the industry changed forever." (via "9.9.99, A Dreamcast Memorial," by Jeremy Parish for


Kat Bailey quote via first-hand interview.

Chapter 18: Madden vs. NFL 2K


Trip Hawkins was employee No. 68 at Apple Computer. They called him "junior Steve Jobs." (via "The Franchise: The inside story of how “Madden NFL” became a video game dynasty,” by Patrick Hruby for ESPN)


"If it's not 11-on-11, it's not real football. That was a deal breaker. If it was going to be me, and going to be pro football, it had to have 22 guys on the screen. If we couldn't have that, we couldn't have a game." (John Madden quote via same as above)


“While we did not end up completing the game for legal reasons, the work we did under contract with EA, using Gridiron’s underlying engine and game-system technology, heavily influenced the early Madden series and paved the way for what it is today." (Christopher Weaver quote via "Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play," by Morgan Ramsay)


Story of Bethesda helping build Madden engine: "This forgotten video game helped pave the way for Madden NFL," by Rick Maese for the Washington Post, 8/9/18)


Story of EA reverse-engineering Genesis to gain advantage in Madden negotiations: Chapter 9 (Tripped Up) starting page 40 of "Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation," by Blake J. Harris


Backstory of Visual Concepts and involvement with EA: "IGN Presents the History of Madden," by Travis Fahs for IGN, 6/4/12


"Dreamcast can’t succeed without EA." (Bing Gordon quote via page 228 of "Playing at the Next Level: A History of American Sega Games," by Ken Horowitz)


"And if you looked at the sports titles on Dreamcast, they far surpassed EA's sports titles. Our football game at the time, NFL 2K, was far superior to Madden. Everybody agreed to that once they came out ... This is what happened, very clearly. Larry came to me and said, 'Bernie, we'll support Dreamcast, but this is what I want.' And I thought, 'Great, I know Larry, I know the company real well, I can negotiate this,' I thought he was going to ask for smaller royalties. I would have given him smaller royalties, no question about that." (Bernie Stolar quotes via "The Rise And Fall Of The Dreamcast," by Douglass C. Perry for Gamasutra, 9/9/09)


"After a few seasons of madness, I can honestly say that, regardless of what you may read on the newsgroups or in other "publications," NFL2K is the most impressive gridiron effort ever created in every sense imaginable." (via "NFL 2K," by Brandon Justice for IGN, 9/24/99)


"NFL 2K is a truly amazing football game that is nearly flawless in every regard." (via "NFL 2K Review," by Ryan Mac Donald for GameSpot, 4/28/00)


"The NFL 2K series pulled off one of the greatest, most insidious guerrilla-warfare moves in the history of video game competition when, in 2004, it released ESPN NFL 2K5 at the ridiculously enticing price of $19.99 and carved a serious gouge in Madden‘s domination of the football space ... One of the Madden devs I spoke to still remembers 2K5‘s day of sneak-attack infamy: “It scared the hell out of us.”" (via "Kickoff: Madden NFL and the Future of Video Game Sports," by Tom Bissell for Grantland, 1/26/12)


"We believe that the decisions of the National Football League and PLAYERS INC to grant an exclusive license for videogames do a tremendous disservice to the consumers and sports fans whose funds ultimately support the NFL, by limiting their choices, curbing creativity and almost certainly leading to higher game prices.” (Take Two statement via "Big Deal: EA and NFL ink exclusive licensing agreement," by Curt Feldman and Tim Surette for GameSpot, 1/24/05)


Madden NFL 2004 was top-selling game in '03


Grand Theft Auto San Andreas was top-selling game in '04


"EA’s new ‘Star Wars’ game is so unpopular a developer is apparently getting death threats." (via headline in story by Sara Salinas for CNBC, 11/3/17)


"When we live in an era marked by massive oil spills, faulty foreclosures by bad banks, and rampant consolidation in the airline and telecom industry, what does it say about EA’s business practices that so many people have — for the second year in a row — come out to hand it the title of Worst Company In America?" (via "EA Makes Worst Company In America History, Wins Title For Second Year In A Row!" by Chris Morran for Consumerist, 4/9/13)


Madden has sold 130 million copies lifetime. (via "Madden NFL 19 Has "Strong" First Weekend, Franchise Hits 130 Million Copies Sold," by Eddie Makuch on 8/5/18 -


NBA 2K series has sold nearly 90 million copies lifetime. (via "Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Reports Strong Results for Fiscal Third Quarter 2019," Take Two Interactive)

Chapter 19: Sony vs. Microsoft


"PlayStation 2, though, is claiming to be able to handle 50 times more 3-D image data than the Dreamcast, allowing it to create characters similar in appearance to those in the Walt Disney film "Toy Story." " (via "Sony to unveil PlayStation 2," on CNNMoney, 3/1/99)


"This will be the ideal home server. Did you see the movie 'The Matrix'? Same interface. Same concept. Starting from next year, you can jack into 'The Matrix'!" " (Ken Kutaragi quote via "Here Comes Playstation 2," by Steven Levy for Newsweek, 3/5/00)


"Powerful and traditionally inexpensive, game consoles and their processors haven't had anywhere near the power of even a low-end PC. The Emotion Engine and its accompanying processing chip change all that by excelling at a processing function called floating-point performance, which can help it handle graphics ... The company says that by the end of 1999, almost 72 million of the original PlayStation consoles had been sold." (via "The Sony Emotion Engine: Will PlayStation2 replace your PC?" by Tom Mainelli for CNN, 2/1/00)


Sony announced first-day sales of $250 million for PlayStation 2, surpassing Sega's $97 million for Dreamcast. (via "Sony Pulls in Over $250 Million at Launch," by IGN Staff for IGN, 6/17/12)


Wii sold 101.15 million units. (via "Here's who won each console war," by Mike Minotti for VentureBeat, 8/20/14)


Story of legal action against Microsoft for monopolistic practices: "Microsoft's Illegal Monopoly," in the New York Times, 4/4/00)


Microsoft was selling Xbox for $299 but spending $425 to manufacture it, for a loss of $126 per system. (via "The making of the Xbox: How Microsoft unleashed a video game revolution," by Dean Takahashi for VentureBeat, 11/13/11)


"What started out as something that had potential for 100,000 units turned into a console that will go to tens of millions of users and grow into a business that'll be worth billions." (J Allard quote via "The Making of the Xbox," by Jeffrey M. O'Brien for Wired, 11/1/01) 

"Microsoft has a ton of money, but if they had to build factories, they wouldn't have done this project. If guys like us didn't exist, guys like Microsoft wouldn't do a hardware product. The risk would be too high." (Michael Marks quote via same as above)


"The Japanese were not too worried, but I knew Microsoft had five times more money than Sony. They could do anything they wanted if they put their mind to it. So from day one, I assumed Microsoft was going to be a horrific competitor." (Chris Deering quote via "PS2: The Insiders' Story," by Ellie Gibson for Eurogamer, November 2010)


"We're approaching the level of detail seen in Toy Story 2." (Bill Gates quote via "Gates Gives An Electric Intro," by Andy Patrizio for Wired, 1/6/01)


Xbox sold 1.5 million from its launch on November 15th, 2001, to the end of the year. (via Xbox "Launch One of Most Successful in Video Game History," from Microsoft, 1/8/02)


"In fact, when is the last time you needed a tutorial (much less a manual) to play a console first-person shooter? This is because Halo defined the default control scheme for the console shooter." (via "The Halo Effect," by Levi Buchanan for IGN, 9/21/10)


Halo 2 made $125 million in sales on its first day. (via "Halo 2 Marks the Biggest 24 Hours in Entertainment Retail History with $125 Million in Sales," by GamesIndustry International on, 11/12/04)


In November 2001, PlayStation 2 had sold over 20 million units, while PlayStation had sold more than 80 million. (via Sony)


Kinect became the fastest-selling consumer electronic in history when it sold 8 million in its first 60 days. (via "Game Over: Fastest Selling Tech Device In History to End Console War," by Jeff Macke for Yahoo! Finance, 11/14/13)


Sam Charchian quotes via first-hand interview.


PlayStation 4 was out-selling Xbox One, 108.9 million to 46.9 million as of mid-2020. (via "Just How Badly Did The PS4 And Switch Outsell The Xbox One This Generation?" by Paul Tassi for Forbes, 5/5/20)


Microsoft is the 13th-largest company in the world, as mid-2020, with a market valuation of $1.3 trillion. (via "GLOBAL 2000, The World's Largest Public Companies," by Andrea Murphy, Hank Tucker, Marley Coyne and Halah Touryalai for Forbes)

Chapter 20: Grand Theft Auto vs. Authority


"Open-world games leave players to their own devices, free to explore what amounts to an enormous sandbox with no boundaries and few rules. They date to the 1980s, but 2001's Grand Theft Auto III set the standard, one that has been expanded upon by games ranging from Assassin's Creed to Minecraft." (via "Open-World Games Are Changing the Way We Play," by Julie Muncy for Wired, 2/3/15)


Take Two Interactive's Manhattan headquarters were only 15 blocks from the World Trade Center. They made late changes to GTA3 after 9/11. (via "Take-Two Examines, Changes Fall Games," by IGN Staff for IGN, 9/19/01)


"A FEW words about head-bashing, carjacking, looting, drug-dealing, drive-by shooting and running over innocent bystanders with a taxi: these activities have crossed the line into bad taste." GTA3 was banned in Australia. (via "BACKSLASH; Mayhem, and Far From the Nicest Kind," by Matt Richtel for the New York Times, 2/10/02)


Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show are the top two highest-selling single rap albums of all time, at 10.6 million and 10.1 million sold. (via "The Best Selling Hip Hop Albums Ever," by Makumim for Ranker, 6/13/19)


The video game industry grew to be worth $9.4 million in 2001, when GTA3 was the top-selling title. (via "NPD REPORTS ANNUAL 2001 U.S. INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT SALES SHATTER INDUSTRY RECORD," by The NPD Group, 2/7/02)


GTA4 sold more than 25 million copies. (via "GTA 5 Has Already Beaten GTA 4's Lifetime Sales," by James Vincent for Independent, 10/7/13) 


GTA5 made a record-setting $1 billion within 3 days of its release. (via "Grand Theft Auto 5 hits $1 billion in three days, sets new record," by Brian Crecente for IGN, 9/20/13 -


"Anyone who makes 3-D games who says they’ve not borrowed something from Mario or Zelda is lying — from the games on Nintendo 64, not necessarily the ones from today." (Dan Houser quote via "Americana at Its Most Felonious," by By Chris Suellentrop for the New York Times, 9/9/12)


"Nancy, there are three cops that are dead in Alabama because of Grand Theft Auto by City, two cops and a dispatcher. So we know that these cop-killing games are leading to these killings because that`s what they are, they`re murder simulators." (Jack Thompson quote via 6/21/05 airing of Nancy Grace on CNN, featured on Jack Thompson's website


"GTA revolutionized an industry, defined one generation, and pissed off another, transforming a medium long thought of kids’ stuff into something culturally relevant, darkly funny, and wildly free.” (via page 2 of "Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto," by David Kushner) 

Chapter 21: The People vs. Video Game Violence


American families need to be "a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons.” (George H.W. Bush quote via "‘The Simpsons’ Showrunner Gets Back At George H.W. Bush," by Denise Petski for Deadline, 10/27/17)


"We need to treat violent video games the way we treat tobacco, alcohol, and pornography." (Hillary Clinton quote via "Hillary Clinton’s history with video games and the rise of political geek cred," by Andrea Peterson for the Washington Post, 4/21/15) 


"We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace." (Donald Trump quote via "Trump condemns role of video games in ‘glorification of violence’," by Dean Takahashi for VentureBeat, 8/5/19)


“I like video games, but they’re really violent. I’d like to play a video game where you help the people who were shot in all the other games. It’d be called Really Busy Hospital.” (Demetri Martin quote via "Demetri Martin. Person." special on Comedy Central


"On TV, violence is passive. In this game a player takes the first step to creating violence. The player is no longer just a spectator. He's an actor in the process ... And I shudder to think what will come next if this is encouraged. It'll be pretty gory." (Gerald Driessen quote via “‘Death Race’ Game Gains Favor, But Not With the Safety Council,” by Ralph Blumenthal for the New York Times, 12/28/76)


“Every time a story comes out, we get more and more orders.” (Phil Brooks quote via same as above)


"It seemed like the more controversy ... the more our sales increased.” (Pete Kauffman quote via "How Protests Against Games Cause Them To Sell More Copies," by Chris Kohler for Wired, 10/30/07)


"Absent the combination of extremely violent video games and these boys' incredibly deep involvement, use of and addiction to these games and the boys' basic personalities, these murders and this massacre would not have occurred." (Lawsuit statement via "Columbine families sue computer game makers," on BBC, 5/1/01)


"Setting aside any personal distaste, as I must, it is manifest that there is social utility in expressive and imaginative forms of entertainment, even if they contain violence." (Judge Luis Babcock quote via "Columbine Suit Against Game Dismissed," by Nick Wadhams for Associated Press, 3/3/02)


"These are not ordinary kids who were bullied into retaliation. These are not ordinary kids who played too many video games. These are not ordinary kids who just wanted to be famous. These are simply not ordinary kids. These are kids with serious psychological problems." (via "Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters," by Peter Langman)


""Manhunt" is easily the most violent game ever made." (via "`Manhunt' a solid game, but do you want the gore?" by Levi Buchanan for the Chicago Tribune, 11/24/03) 


"If you demonstrate to a child that you can do these things, it becomes part of their repertoire for dealing with anger." (Leland Yee quote via "Lawmaker defends law banning sale of violent video games to minors," by Ben Fritz for the Los Angeles Times, 4/29/10) 


Anthony Scalia SCOTUS opinion on Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Assn. (via U.S. Supreme Court website)


Chapter 22: World of Warcraft vs. League of Legends


"The grandfather of modern MMOs, Richard Garriott’s quest to take his popular Ultima series online was initially met with disinterest by publishers." (via "A brief history of MMO games," by Steven Messner for PC Gamer, 7/28/17)


World of Warcraft peaked at 12 million users in October of 2010. (via "The Inexorable Decline of World of Warcraft," by Matt Peckham for Time, 5/9/13)


World of Warcraft had earned nearly $10 billion in revenue as of 2017. (via "World of Warcraft Leads Industry With Nearly $10 Billion In Revenue," by Jonathan Leack for GameRevolution, 1/26/17) 


We didn’t plan to build a whole publishing business. As we started to meet with publishers, we realized, ‘Wow, we can’t hand the keys to the kingdom to these guys." (Marc Merrill quote via “The Past, Present and Future of League of Legends Studio Riot Games,” by Phil Kollar for Polygon, Issue 22)


"We didn’t set out to build a game that we thought a lot of people would be pumped on playing. It’s super competitive and uncompromising on that deep mastery curve." (Brandon Beck quote via same as above)


League of Legends had 100,000 concurrent players within two months, and 67 million monthly players in 2104. (via same as above)


League of Legends had 100 million players in 2016. (via "Riot Games Reveals 'League of Legends' Has 100 Million Monthly Players," by Paul Tassi for Forbes, 9/13/16)


2018 Mid-Season Invitational Grand Final drew 127 million viewers, 126 million of them in China. (via "The 2018 MSI Grand Final Was the Most Watched Esports Event in History," by Nicholas Barth for Twins Galaxies, 5/22/18)


660 billion minutes streamed on Twitch in 2019 (via TwitchTracker)


World of Warcraft had more than 5 million subscribers in 2015 when Blizzard last shared numbers publicly. (via "World of Warcraft monthly subscribers fall slightly to 5.5M — and Blizzard will no longer report player numbers," by Mike Minotti for VentureBeat, 11/3/15)


"Imagine writing an essay and accidentally pressing the D key instead of the F key. Now imagine that instead of being able to hit backspace and start again, a lynch-mob appears at your door and hurls insults and threats at you. Welcome to the League of Legends; where the praise is scarce and the hatred bountiful." (via "The Difference in World of Warcraft and League of Legends Communities," by Dougie for, 10/8/16)


Story of Overwatch and League of Legends implementing measures to reduce abuse: "Foul play: tackling toxicity and abuse in online video games," by Jay Castello for The Guardian, 8/17/18


"Verbal abuse has dropped by more than 40 percent, and 91.6 percent of negative players change their act and never commit another offense after just one reported penalty." (via "Doing Something About the 'Impossible Problem' of Abuse in Online Games," by Jeffrey Lin for Vox, 7/7/15)

Chapter 23: Minecraft vs. the Machine


"It’s not a movie or a TV series. It’s Star Wars: The Old Republic, the most expensive, ambitious and riskiest video game ever produced." Production involved more than 800 people and cost nearly $200 million. (via "Star Wars: The Old Republic — the story behind a galactic gamble," by Ben Fritz and Alex Pham for the Los Angeles Times, 1/20/12)


Star Wars: The Old Republic took a $205 million net loss in the first quarter of its release. (via "EA reveals SWTOR subscription and sales numbers, beats financial predictions," by Matt Daniel for Engadget, 2/1/12)


""One my earliest gaming memories is playing Raid on Bungling Bay on a black and white TV in our living room." (Markus Persson quote via "Interview: Markus 'Notch' Persson Talks Making Minecraft," by Alex Handy for Gamasutra, 3/23/10)


Backstory of BioWare: Chapter 6 of "Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made," by Jason Schreier


Minecraft reached 1 million registered accounts in January of 2011, then hit 10 million six months later. (via "The history of Minecraft – the best selling PC game ever," by Alex Cox for TechRadar, 9/4/20)


Markus Persson left two of Sweden’s most successful game companies before creating Minecraft. (via "The Amazingly Unlikely Story of How Minecraft Was Born," by Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson for Wired, 11/5/13)


"I think I'm more interested in doing new development of new games, rather than maintaining a game." (Markus Persson quote via "Blockbuster - The Making of Minecraft," by Marsh Davies for PC Gamer, 11/10/12)


"Anyone want to buy my share of Mojang so I can move on with my life? Getting hate for trying to do the right thing is not my gig." (Markus Perrson quote via @notch on Twitter, 6/17/14)


Microsoft bought Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014. (via "Microsoft officially owns Minecraft and developer Mojang now," by Samit Sarkar for Polygon, 11/6/14) 


Minecraft became the best-selling game of all-time (probably) in 2019 when Microsoft announced it had sold 176 million copies. (via "Minecraft (likely) becomes the best-selling game of all time on its 10th birthday," by Asher Madan for Windows Central, 5/18/19)


“Minecraft sits among the very best of games, just because you can play so many games inside it. It’s a philosophy taken to its natural conclusion in glorious software. It’s a primal urge – to build a goddamn hill fort – in gaming form." (via "Minecraft - PC Gamer UK's Game Of The Year," by Jaz McDougall for PC Gamer, 12/31/10)


"He’s well and truly gone; the Gabriel we knew is dead.  He delved too deep and was remade in the hot veins of the Earth.  I have heard him suggest that the game is crack, but it’s more like all of the ingredients and equipment that you need to make crack, which I’d say is worse." (via "Mine All Mine, Part One," by Tycho for Penny Arcade, 9/17/10)


"This is a very early test of an Infiniminer clone I’m working on. It will have more resource management and ma- terials, if I ever get around to finishing it." (via "Cave game tech test," by Nizzotch on YouTube, 5/13/09; available via Internet Video Archive)


"The act of borrowing ideas is integral to the creative process. There are games that came before Infiniminer and there are games that will come after Minecraft. That’s how it works.” (Zachary Barth quote via "The Amazingly Unlikely Story of How Minecraft Was Born," by Daniel Goldberg and Linus Larsson for Wired, 11/5/13)


"In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it's belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change." (Markus Persson quote via "The creator of 'Minecraft' is leaving the studio he created; read his goodbye letter," by Chris Plante for The Verge, 9/15/14)

Chapter 24: Hideo Kojima vs. Konami 


"I desperately wanted to make films professionally. It was so difficult though. There were no film schools near where I lived and, beyond that, the budgets for Japanese films at that time were very low, so I didn't think I'd be able to make the kind of films I was interested in. That's pretty much how I came to work in games, I guess." (Hideo Kojima quote via "Hideo Kojima: video game drop-out – interview part 1," by Simon Parkin for The Guardian, 5/23/12) 


"I guess it was a status thing, but I thought working for a company like that might help people to view my vocation in a more positive light." (Hideo Kojima quote via same as above)


"It's like playing a big budget action blockbuster - only better." (via "Metal Gear Solid" review by Alex C. for Computer and Video Games)


Metal Gear Solid sold around 6 million copies, 1 million in Japan an nearly 5 million in the U.S. (via "The Final Hours of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty," by Geoff Keighley for GameSpot, 5/16/12) 


"33 years ago in Game Industry, the game dev team was formed only 5-6 ppl. Creating the concept ideas, writing the story & specs, drawing the mapon the graph paper, helping dot draw, inputting the data directly, managing the flag, constructing simplified language by logic, ... compressing binary number image, conducting all the directions and even writing the manual script. 

And then I had to do business management, producing, & promoting. Even when the team got bigger and the task was subdivided my way of making game didn’t change, an indies style. ... I get involved myself with the game creation from upstream to downstream. That’s A HIDEO KOJIMA GAME。" (Hideo Kojima tweets via @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN string on Twitter, 6/15/19) 


"Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, a tactical stealth simulation wrapped in a colossal resource management puzzle inside a love letter to theatrical inscrutability, comes the closest of any game I’ve yet played to realizing that ideal." (via "Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Is the Best Metal Gear Ever," by Matt Peckham for TIME, 8/27/15)


"Originally, we [Guillermo del Toro and I] were aiming to make a game that will make you pee your pants. But we changed our mind. Now, we're making a game that will make you shit your pants." (Hideo Kojima quote via "The new Silent Hill is designed to 'make you shit your pants,' Kojima says," by Michael McWhertor for Polygon, 8/13/14) 


"What must be two hundred different TV and computer monitors all glow with images from different parts of an epic game that is part high-tech hide-and-seek, part Jerry Bruckheimer-esque action movie, and 100 percent a Hideo Kojima game ... Today, Kojima has said that Metal Gear Solid 2's budget is around what it costs to make a Japanese Godzilla film, approximately US$10 million." (via "The Final Hours of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty," by Geoff Keighley for GameSpot, 5/16/12)


Metal Gear Solid 2 sold 7 million units worldwide. (via "The Legacy of Metal Gear Solid: A look back at a decade of Kojima's iconic franchise," by James Lee for, 6/12/08) 


Story of The Phantom Pain's unveiling at Spike Video Game Awards in 2012: "The Phantom Pain revealed," by Eddie Makuch for GameSpot, 12/7/12) 


Joakim Mogren bandaged-face interview with Geoff Keighley of GT.TV on YouTube


Hideo Kojima expressed concerns that gamers would find The Phantom Pain too big to finish. (via "Kojima Worried The Phantom Pain Is 'Too Big' to Finish," by Mitch Dyer for IGN, 3/5/14)


GameSpot reports of "fallout" between Kojima and Konami, due to "power struggles." (via "Kojima Expected to Leave Konami After MGS5, Inside Source Confirms," by Peter Brown and Rob Crossley for GameSpot, 3/20/15)


"It's not gonna happen and that breaks my greasy heart." (Guillermo Del Toro quote via "Major figures mourn Silent Hills as cancellation appears likely," by Owen S. Good for Polygon, 4/6/15) 


"When you ask about how things operate, that makes no fucking sense at all that that game is not happening." (Guillermo Del Toro quote via "Guillermo Del Toro Thinks Silent Hills' Cancellation "Makes No Fucking Sense," by Brian Ashcraft for Kotaku, 10/15/15) 


Phantom Pain cost more than $80 million to make. (via “Metal Gear Solid V cost over $80 million to develop, says Nikkei report,” by Ernest Lin for PlayStation Universe, 8/3/15)


"Mobile is where the future of gaming lies." (Hideki Hayakawa quote via "Konami CEO: 'Mobile is where the future of gaming lies'," by Brian Crecente for Polygon, 5/14/15)

Chapter 25: VR vs. The Future


"It's a moral imperative that we must create this." (John Carmack quote via page 178 of 

"Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture," by David Kushner)


Oculus Rift rased $2,437,429 against $250,000 goal on Kickstarter. (via Kickstarter)


Oculus was acquired by Facebook for around $2 billion. (via Facebook press release, "Facebook to Acquire Oculus," 3/25/14)


Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemo suggested PS5's generation may be last with physical hardware. (via "PS5 May Be the Last Console Before Streaming Takes Over, Says Ubisoft Boss," by Robert Ramsey for Push Square, 5/14/19)


Story of exploring CES 2019: "Welcome to the strange, awkward future of video games," by Mark Serrels for CNET, 1/10/19)


“VR doesn't make sense — or add much — to many game genres. And because the appeal of being immersed in an alternate world isn't the primary gaming motivation for many gamers, these gamers would be unlikely to invest in expensive VR equipment." (Nick Yee quote via "What will the game industry look like in five years?" by Patrick Stafford for Polygon, 11/4/17)


"Virtual reality may yet become a massive mainstream hit, but it's not going to happen with this generation of tech." (via "It's time to break up with VR," by Dan Ackerman for CNET, 4/3/18) 


Fortnite made nearly $5 billion in 2018-19, $3 billion in 2018 and $1.8 billion in 2019. (via "Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, banked a $3 billion profit in 2018," by Jon Russell for TechCrunch, 12/28/18, and "How Does Fortnite Make Money?" by Akhilesh Ganti for Investopedia 9/10/20) 

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