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MSNBC and Access Magazine video game columnist Steven L. Kent announced the
release of "The First Quarter: A 25-year History of Video Games", his long-
awaited book featuring stories about the birth, near death, and metamorpho-
sis of the video game industry.
Kent, who is has written about video games for such divers publications
as American Heritage and The Japan Times, invested over seven years to
interview industry executives and game designers for this 476-page book.
"The way I have constructed this book, it is almost half quotes and half
narrative," says Kent.  "Anybody can write a history of video games, and it
may be accurate or it may be full of holes.  My goal was to let readers
learn this history through the eyes of the people who lived it."

Kent conducted over 500 interviews with such people as Steven "Slug" Russell,
designer of the first interactive computer game; Ralph Baer, designer of the
Magnavox Odyssey; Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese;
Al Alcorn, Atari's first engineer and builder of Pong; Ed Logg, creator of
Asteroids, Centipede, and Gauntlet; Tom Kalinske, former chairman of Sega of
America; and Trip Hawkins, founder of Electronic Arts and 3DO.

Granted unprecedented access throughout the industry, Kent logged more than
20 hours of interviews with Howard Lincoln and Minoru Arakawa, chairman
and president of Nintendo of America. Ray Kassar, the chairman of Atari
during its 1982 collapse, granted Kent his first interview since leaving
Atari in 1983, and Namco chairman Masaya Nakamura met with Kent twice.

Having worked as a mediating voice with Senator Joseph Lieberman on his
annual Video Game Report Card, Kent was able to conduct candid interviews
with both Lieberman and Senator Sam Brownback about their hearings on
video game violence.

The result of all of these interviews is a high-speed, sprawling study of
how video games emerged from unimportant novelty entertainment status to
become one of the driving forces shaping the information age. With so many
first-hand perspectives, "The First Quarter" sometimes becomes a forum for
multiple designers and executives giving conflicting memories of how events
occurred. Nolan Bushnell, Al Alcorn, Steve Wozniac, and Masaya Nakamura,
for instance, all had different stories  about the history of Breakout, and
all four versions are included in the book.

"The First Quarter" also includes in-depth studies of the five most
influential court cases in the history of video games, complete with excerpts
from court documents and interviews with lawyers.
"Toward the end of the project, my biggest problem was trying to decide
what stories to leave out. I had great stories about games like Aladdin,
Crash Bandicoot, and Yoshi's Island; but I needed to draw the line. The
book was getting too big. Two days after I handed the book in for layout,
Nintendo announced that its new console would be named Gamecube, not
Dolphin, and drawing that line became a really painful task."

Kent's book, which will be available exclusively through and
Select gaming outlets, retails for $21.95.

For more information, contact Steven Kent at

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