RDI Halcyon
Image: Ben Heck

We all know about the Game Boy, Mega Drive, PlayStation and Atari 2600, but a new book aims to head off the beaten track and celebrate the more mysterious side of the video game hardware industry – and it's up for pre-order now.

Penned by Time Extension contributor Lewis Packwood, Curious Video Game Machines not only discusses obscure platforms like the Casio Loopy and Atari's many home versions of Pong, but it also digs into systems like the Kimtanktics – a '70s wargame computer made out of calculator parts – and Daewoo's Zemmix range of consoles.

Here's some PR:

The story of video games is often told as the successive rise of computers and consoles from famous names like Atari, Commodore, Nintendo, Sega, Sony and Microsoft. But beyond this familiar tale, there’s a whole world of weird and wonderful gaming machines that seldom get talked about.

Curious Video Game Machines reveals the fascinating stories behind a bevy of rare and unusual consoles, computers and coin-ops – like Kimtanktics, a 1970s wargame computer made out of calculator parts, or the suite of Korea-exclusive consoles made by car manufacturer Daewoo. Then there’s the Casio Loopy, a 1990s console that doubled up as a sticker printer, the RDI Halcyon, a 1985 LaserDisc-based machine that could recognise your voice, and the Interton VC 4000, a German console made by a hearing-aid company, as well as a range of bizarre arcade machines, from early attempts at virtual reality to pedal-powered flying contraptions.

There are tales of missed opportunities, like the astonishingly powerful Enterprise 64 computer, which got caught in development hell and arrived too late to make an impact on the British microcomputer market. And there are tales of little-known triumphs, like the Galaksija DIY computer kit that introduced a whole generation of Yugoslavians to computing before the country became engulfed by war.

Featuring exclusive interviews with creators, developers and collectors, Curious Video Game Machines finally shines a light on the forgotten corners of video-game history.

The book arrives on November 30th, 2023, and can be pre-ordered directly from the publisher now.

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