Upcoming Books: Shareware Heroes, Video Games that saved my life, The Games that Weren’t

Here are three upcoming books that may be of interest to retro gamers – two of them are being funded by crowdfunding, so take action if they interest you.

Shareware Heroes​

Shareware Heroes: Independent Games at the Dawn of the Internet takes readers on a journey, from the beginnings of the shareware model in the early 1980s, the origins of the concept, even the name itself, and the rise of shareware’s major players – the likes of id Software, Apogee, and Epic MegaGames – through to the significance of shareware for the ‘forgotten’ systems – the Mac, Atari ST, Amiga – when commercial game publishers turned away from them.

This book also charts the emergence of commercial shareware distributors like Educorp and the BBS/newsgroup sharing culture. And it explores how shareware developers plugged gaps in the video gaming market by creating games in niche and neglected genres like vertically-scrolling shoot-’em-ups (e.g. Raptor and Tyrian) or racing games (e.g. Wacky Wheels and Skunny Kart) or RPGs (God of Thunderand Realmz), until finally, as the video game market again grew and shifted, and major publishers took control, how the shareware system faded into the background and fell from memory.

Shareware Heroes is being funded via Kickstarter and is authored by Richard Moss. It will feature numerous interviews with creators, developers and early shareware heroes

Video Games that Saved My Life​

Levelling up is hard. Every day presents a new challenge, and if you’re not in the right frame of mind for whatever reason, it’s less of a challenge and more of an intensive slog. The most difficult thing in the world could be something as mundane as getting out of bed in the morning. Showing up to work can be an obstacle course, and social interactions can be so exhausting that they warrant a short nap immediately afterwards – preferably away from said interaction. We don’t want people thinking we are weird. Sometimes, solace can be found in unreal places. Places like films, comics, books – or the wild and wonderful lands which open up when pressing the “on” button on an SNES.

If life is a video game, it’s the best one you will ever play. This book is for anyone who has dark days, anyone who feels lost, and anyone who loves to pick up a controller (not a rubbish, knock-off one, though). Packed with gaming facts and relatable experiences, this is the story of how the Konami code unlocked the biggest secret of all – staying alive.

Video Games that Saved My Life is currently being funded on Unbound. The book is written by Octavius King who has a YouTube channel focused on retro gaming

The Games That Weren’t​

Giving an illustrated snapshot of a wide range of unreleased games from 1975 to 2015, The Games That Weren’t includes titles across a variety of arcade, home computer, console, handheld and mobile platforms. Many games are expanded upon in detail, with those involved sharing their untold stories and recollections, as well as attempting to solve some mysteries along the way. Assets and screenshots are shown for most titles, some never seen until now. In the case of games that don’t have anything to show, there are specially created artist’s impressions, giving a unique visual interpretation of what could have been.

Covering more than 80 games, five specially created ‘Hardware That Weren’t’ blueprint pieces, and interviews on titles such as Star Fox 2, The Games That Weren’t showcases and pays tribute to well-known and not so well-known unreleased titles (with new details and information), as well as titles never heard of until now.

The Games that Weren’t is written by Frank Gasking, webmaster of gamesthatwerent.com. The book is available for pre-order at bitmapbooks.com

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