It has been a while since we did a book review on the site, as books about the subject of arcades are not exactly plentiful. That changed slightly this weekend after David L. Craddock released his new book Arcade Perfect to the world.
As a disclaimer, I was given the chance to read the final copy of the book to be able to review it; nothing else was exchanged for this review post. I also don’t personally know the author.
The title and theme of the book stems from something that we used to be a topic of frequent discussion in gaming, as arcade ports used to be so common on home gaming systems that they were expected. Many consoles were judged on the quality of said ports, and how “arcade perfect” they happened to be.
Now if the book was nothing more than reviewing a bunch of ports, then I wouldn’t find it terribly interesting. Fortunately, it is not that kind of work. Instead, the author picked a number of popular arcade titles and delves into the history of how they transitioned from coin-op to home play. This is done in an engaging narrative style that combines history, interviews and dialogue. Those interviews involve the people directly involved in the chosen ports(the “unsung heroes” of the work on these ports as the author calls them), primarily from the United States and the UK, which provides a “from the horse’s mouth” perspective on the titles.
The titles that the book provides this detailed “behind-the-scenes” look on are: PONG, Space Invaders, Missile Command, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Ms. Pac-Man, Double Dragon, Tetris, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Street Fighter II, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, Mortal Kombat II, Street Fighter Alpha, and San Francisco Rush 2049. Granted, with so many games out there that