Untold History
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Long-time readers of this site will be aware of the name John Szczepaniak. He's been a regular contributor to Time Extension since it launched almost a year ago, delivering some amazing long-form features on a wide range of topics, including 'Golden Ticket' competitions held by Nintendo and the story behind Street Fighter's oddest comic adventures.

Szczepaniak recently wrote a piece on his quest to document the history of Japanese game developers, a crowdfunded epic which raised $75,000 and produced three utterly invaluable books (and a fourth 'volume' which is made up of video footage).

He's back with The Untold History of Game Developers: Volume 5, an enormous treasure trove of information which isn't just focused on Japan, but instead pulls together a lot of investigative journalism Szczepaniak has produced over the past decade and more – a lot of which has remained unpublished until now.

John Szczepaniak and Yuzo Koshiro
Yuzo Koshiro (left) with John Szczepaniak (right) — Image: John Szczepaniak

The range of topics covered within is truly staggering; freed from the stipulation that only Japan's history gets represented, Szczepaniak spreads his wings; he talks about classic video game commercials, the rise of CD-ROM gaming, Panzer Dragoon Saga, the dawn of the internet and the birth of the stealth genre – as well as speaking to industry legends like Ryan Payton (ex-Kojima Productions), Jeremy Blaustein (Metal Gear Solid and Castlevania: SotN localiser), Victor Ireland (Working Designs) and many more.

Szczepaniak admits that much of the book is merely a place for him to put into print much of the online work he has written during his career, but this is very much in the book's favour; you get such an eclectic mix of topics that turning each page is a thrill.

Especially interesting is the 'fictionalised' account of one man's journey through the world of British video game journalism; it's equal parts hilarious and deeply uncomfortable, mainly because it's clearly based on fact and actually happened.

Untold History Of Game Developers: Volume 5 is available to order on Amazon now.

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