Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

A series of books on the history of video games has been causing quite a stir in the Japanese retro community in recent weeks (as spotted by @gosokkyu).

The publisher Kodansha released the book series called "ゲームの歴史 1-3" (loosely translated to "The History of Games 1-3") from the author Natsumi Iwasaki back in November of last year. However, over the last couple of weeks, many Japanese video game fans have taken to criticizing the series of books in blogs and on Twitter, with the purpose of highlighting a number of frustrating inaccuracies and myths within its pages.

In a blog post, for instance, a Twitter user named @snapwith points out that the series of books erroneously claims that the Brookhaven National Laboratory (where "Tennis For Two" was developed) was a site used for developing nuclear weapons, when in fact, it was for research on nuclear power and particle physics. The mistake likely comes about due to confusion about Tennis For Two creator William Higinbotham's earlier work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where his team helped develop the electronics for the first Atomic Bomb.

Another Twitter user named @oroti_famicom also drew attention to the appearance of a popular Famicom myth within the series. This myth alleges that the Famicom's colours were red and white due to the plastic being cheaper to produce. This is a famous myth that the Nintendo hardware designer Masayuki Uemura himself debunked in a 2013 interview with the Japanese publication Weekly Playboy (as covered at the time by Kotaku). In that interview, Uemura stated that the real reason for the colours was because of a red scarf that former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi was known to wear.

The author has since promised on Twitter to correct some of these errors in an upcoming reprint, but that hasn't stopped fans from commenting on their research methods.

As gosokkyu points out in their original thread, what's so interesting about this controversy is how in the West, there are countless inaccurate books about video game history published almost fortnightly, but they're mostly ignored in favour of more quality efforts. Here, however, it seems to have struck a nerve with the Japanese retro community, who are doing what they can to fight back against this misinformation.

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[source amazon.co.jp, via twitter.com]