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dsheinem
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Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was Here"

by dsheinem Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:21 pm

The first book for the Game Book Reading/Discussion Group will be:

Jimmy Maher's "The Future Was Here: The Commodore Amiga."

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Reading/Discussion Schedule:

September 1-30: Chapters 1, 2, and 3 discussion* in this thread
--September 30, 8:30pm EST: Group IRC Chat (in Racketboy IRC channel)
October 1-28: Chapters 4, 5, and 6 discussion* in this thread
--October 28, 8:30pm EST: Group IRC Chat (in Racketboy IRC channel)
October 28-November 30: Chapters 7, 8, and 9 discussion* in this thread
--November 25, 8:30pm EST: Group IRC Chat (in Racketboy IRC channel)
--Late November (hopefully): Skype chat/podcast recording with the group members...and hopefully the author 8)

*PLEASE use SPOILER tags for any in-thread discussion of parts of the book that haven't yet been read in the scheduled time.

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Book Details

I chose this book for two basic reasons.

1) I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the "Platform Studies" series, Racing the Beam. After reading that book and learning the planned focus and writing style of future books in the series, I very much wanted to read another entry. There's also a book about the Wii, for folks looking to check out the whole series.

2) I know little to nothing about the Amiga, and it has been my experience that this is true for most of the board. It's a blind spot in my retro-gaming knowledge. This book should be an excellent way to bring us up to speed and give us a new appreciation for an under-appreciated platform.

Description (from Amazon):

Long ago, in 1985, personal computers came in two general categories: the friendly, childish game machine used for fun (exemplified by Atari and Commodore products); and the boring, beige adult box used for business (exemplified by products from IBM). The game machines became fascinating technical and artistic platforms that were of limited real-world utility. The IBM products were all utility, with little emphasis on aesthetics and no emphasis on fun. Into this bifurcated computing environment came the Commodore Amiga 1000. This personal computer featured a palette of 4,096 colors, unprecedented animation capabilities, four-channel stereo sound, the capacity to run multiple applications simultaneously, a graphical user interface, and powerful processing potential. It was, Jimmy Maher writes in The Future Was Here, the world's first true multimedia personal computer. Maher argues that the Amiga's capacity to store and display color photographs, manipulate video (giving amateurs access to professional tools), and use recordings of real-world sound were the seeds of the digital media future: digital cameras, Photoshop, MP3 players, and even YouTube, Flickr, and the blogosphere. He examines different facets of the platform--from Deluxe Paint to AmigaOS to Cinemaware--in each chapter, creating a portrait of the platform and the communities of practice that surrounded it. Of course, Maher acknowledges, the Amiga was not perfect: the DOS component of the operating systems was clunky and ill-matched, for example, and crashes often accompanied multitasking attempts. And Commodore went bankrupt in 1994. But for a few years, the Amiga's technical qualities were harnessed by engineers, programmers, artists, and others to push back boundaries and transform the culture of computing.


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Want to Play Along?

If you want to try out some Amiga games while you read the book (you most likely will), check out this excellent primer and guide, which includes suggestions for hardware purchasing, games to play, and links to legal emulation: viewtopic.php?f=52&t=36399

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Places to order the book:

-Amazon (hardcover and Kindle editions)
-Barnes and Noble (hardcover and Nook editions)
-Play.com (hardcover, Europe)
-please submit any more!

---------------------------------
Other interesting links:

Author's Materials to Accompany Book

MIT Press Podcast interview with Jimmy Maher

History of the Amiga(this has five parts, none of which are linked to one another as best I can tell - you will have to search to find parts 2-5...)
-please submit more!
Last edited by dsheinem on Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:52 am, edited 5 times in total.
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noiseredux
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by noiseredux Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:59 pm

awesome. This is the book I wanted. Will order as soon as I have the $ to do so. Looking forward to learning something. Racing The Beam was amazing.
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by Erik_Twice Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:55 am

You can buy the book from Play.com if you live in Europe, and thanks to free shipping it should be pretty cheap. It's listed as "The future was here", so looking for Commodore Amiga doesn't turn up anything:

http://www.play.com/Books/Books/4-/3482 ... fer=search

I will order it as soon as I can :)
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by Menegrothx Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:02 am

http://amiga.filfre.net/?page_id=5
Pretty cool, they provide the original source code with notes, so if you're into programming, you can probably learn a thing or two from it.
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dsheinem
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by dsheinem Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:08 am

General_Norris wrote:You can buy the book from Play.com if you live in Europe, and thanks to free shipping it should be pretty cheap. It's listed as "The future was here", so looking for Commodore Amiga doesn't turn up anything:

http://www.play.com/Books/Books/4-/3482 ... fer=search

I will order it as soon as I can :)


Added!

Menegrothx wrote:http://amiga.filfre.net/?page_id=5
Pretty cool, they provide the original source code with notes, so if you're into programming, you can probably learn a thing or two from it.


This is awesome, thanks! Added to the OP.
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by Nemoide Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:02 pm

This sounds like a fun pick. I used an Amiga in my high school communications class and I thought it was pretty cool.

(But I'm reserving the right to flake out.)
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by MrPopo Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:25 pm

Nemoide wrote:(But I'm reserving the right to flake out.)

Is that where you get Flake to give you a cliff's notes summary?
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by CFFJR Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:31 am

Awesome, this is going to be fun.

The Amiga is a system I've poking my nose into off and on for the past year or so. It'll be interesting to really learn more about it.

Hopefully I can get a copy this week so I can read it over my vacation. It seems my local B&N's are all out of stock, but there are copies at every Tattered Cover location, so its just a matter of getting myself down there. :lol:

Looking forward to this.
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dsheinem
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by dsheinem Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:32 am

So this just dropped to $17.79 on Amazon, and it was closer to $25 or so a few days ago. I ordered it from the marketplace for $20.48 on Friday, and now wish I had waited another few days :lol:

Go get it!
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Re: Sep-Nov '12 Game Book Discussion Group:"The Future Was H

by brunoafh Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:03 am

Ordered.
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