bit-tech.net

Archive for the ‘books you should own’ tag

Books You Should Own: Trigger Happy

Posted on 3rd Apr 2009 at 13:32 by Alex Watson with 16 comments

Alex Watson
Trigger Happy, by Steven Poole
Fourth Estate, 2000

The importance of criticism in relation to the actual art or products it discusses is matter of debate and criticism itself. Elvis Costello was neatly and completely dismissive of the very idea of music journalism, declaring that ‘writing about music is like dancing about architecture.’

Still, it was, in part, the traditions of music writing – and Rolling Stone in the 60s and 70s – that video games writers turned to when they wanted to redefine the point and purpose of games criticism. New Games Journalism was a reasonably successful attempt to widen games writing’s remit and claim a role for it that was bigger than just slapping 9/10 scores on run-of-the-mill sequels and churning out breathlessly keen previews (and it’s also what we here at Bit-Tech practise, at least if you believe Wikipedia).

Before the debate over New Games Journalism, though, was another of my favourite books about computers: Steven Poole’s Trigger Happy. Originally published in 2000, Trigger Happy isn’t subtitled ‘The Inner Life of Videogames’ for nothing. It’s a conscious attempt to push writing about games beyond identikit phrases ‘good graphics’ and ‘great playability’ ‘interesting gameplay’ – and if anything, to think about what words like ‘gameplay’ really, actually refer to.

Read more

Books You Should Own: Core Memory

Posted on 10th Mar 2009 at 10:09 by Alex Watson with 15 comments

Alex Watson
A few years ago, I was helping a friend build a PC with a selection of left-over, scavenged and second hand bits, including a fairly crusty Epox motherboard. We’d spread all the components over the kitchen table and work surfaces and were just about to start the build when his Dad returned from work. My friend's father spent almost his whole career working for BT, beginning as an apprentice engineer tinkering around with old call exchanges, before progressing onwards and upwards into projects, paperwork and management.

Rather than being upset with the fact we’d covered the kitchen with PC kit, he was fascinated by it - particularly the motherboard. Having cut his teeth as an engineer on analogue exchanges, a six-layer PCB bristling with capacitors, ICs and silver circuit traces was, to him, a slice of pure future (even though neither my friend nor I had given it much consideration, beyond hoping it would still POST and get us into Battlefield 1942).

Read more

Mionix Nash 20 Review

Mionix Nash 20 Review

We take a look at the £85 Nash 20, an analogue stereo headset with huge...
Mod of the Month June 2014 in association with Corsair

Mod of the Month June 2014 in association with Corsair

We've got six of the best mods and scratchbuilds for you to drool over

Browse articles by company