Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Book cover: "How to Master the Video Games"

  • Title: How to Master the Video Games
  • Additional cover text: "The first complete guide to the 30 most popular games" and "Simple strategies to improve your scores"
  • Author: Tom Hirschfeld
  • Originated by: Roberta Grossman and Walter Zacharius
  • Cover photo: Bill Cadge
  • Publisher: Bantam Books
  • Year: 1981
  • Pages: 177
  • Format: Paperback
  • Cover price: $2.95
  • Sales trivia: According to Wikipedia, the book sold about 650,000 copies and appeared on the The New York Times mass-market paperback best-seller list.
  • Back cover claims: "A revolutionary 7-step method for learning each game better and faster" and "Unique exercises to flexibility, strength and timing."
  • Dedication: "My thanks to Leo Daniels, Greg Davies, John Epstein, Sydney Gruson, Bill Heinman, Julie Herman, Alan Hirschfeld, John Hirschfeld, Leonard Hirschfeld, Phyllis Hirschfeld, Stan McEntire, Wayne McLemore, Al Michaels, Ben Roberts, Rick Scott, and Ray Tilley, and to Walter and Roberta, without whom this book could never have appeared on the screen."
  • First sentence (penned 40 years ago): Video games are not a fad.
  • Last paragraph (penned 40 years ago): All in all, if you like video games, you should definitely take home video into consideration. Once you make the initial investment for equipment, new cartridges are available at low prices. You or your friends or family can play exciting, challenging, imaginative games.
  • Random sentence from the middle #1: Once you are conscious of the spider's location, you can move to the other side of it and know that you are safe, since it cannot reverse its lateral motion.1
  • Random sentence from the middle #2: Once the hall monster has actually entered the dungeon, the best policy is to flee in the opposite direction.
  • Amazon rating: 4.6 stars (out of 5)
  • Amazon review excerpt: There are a lot of interesting reviews, but I'll go with this one: In 2016, Angie's Shandy wrote: "On emulators, hand-held devices, or original arcade hardware, people are still playing every game Hirschfield dissects. Great video games don't die. Hirschfield's strategies are just as relevant today as they ever were, possibly more so."
  • Goodreads rating: 4.14 stars (out of 5)
  • Goodreads review excerpt: In 2012, D.M. Dutcher wrote: "It's fun if you can find it, and know about old games. 5 stars from me mostly because this book keeps following me around all my life. I always seem to discover it again ever few years."
  • My memories: I discovered this book at one of the public libraries in Pinellas County, Florida, and checked it out multiple times, even though (1) I didn't spend much time at arcades in the early 1980s, (2) I stink, stank, stunk at arcade games. My video game playing consisted primarily of Intellivision in the early 1980s. So maybe I should have sought out Hirschfeld's sequel, How to Master Home Video Games.
A peek at inside pages

1. Speaking of spiders, yesterday I had to wade into the deepest end of my pool to investigate and try to eradicate a spider situation that alarmingly turned out to be a nest of black widows and their egg sacs. Insert flamethrower/nuke it from orbit reference here.

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