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Homebrew Game Development and The Extra Lives of Consoles (Hardback)

Hobbies & Lifestyle > Gaming

By Robin Wilde
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 168
Illustrations: 80 colour integrated
ISBN: 9781399072649
Published: 4th April 2023

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The games industry moves fast, with release schedules flying by in a blur and hardware constantly changing and updating. But outside the official world of licences and publishing deals, hundreds of games every year find a new home on consoles which have since been abandoned by their manufacturers. This is the hobbyist’s playground of homebrew gaming.

The first book by freelance journalist and game developer Robin Wilde, Homebrew Game Development and The Extra Lives of Consoles is the first comprehensive history of the unlicensed and unofficial world of homebrew video games. It explores the methods, enthusiasm and motivations behind the developers who are defying technical limitations and turning nostalgia into brand new gaming experiences for retro consoles.

Featuring exclusive interviews with developers behind homebrew hits and Kickstarter successes, as well as others working in the industry, the book dives into what makes the homebrew world tick, and explores some of the best, most innovative, and strangest titles gracing long-retired consoles.

As well as providing unique insight into obscure titles, Homebrew Game Development and The Extra Lives of Consoles explores the ongoing developments in this cottage industry, which are opening it up to more and more aspiring developers. Homebrew is an exciting new frontier for game development, and this book opens the door both for readers who were already interested but didn’t know where to start, and gamers who never knew this world existed.

I’ve been a gamer my whole life and never really understood the home brew scene. I once had an R4DS and that was it. Reading this was eye opening, and I never once felt like it was pandering or spoke down to me. I'm even tempted to hack open my own systems now!

NetGalley, Phillipe Bosher

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The title of this book, which was written by Robin Wilde and is titled Homebrew Game Development and The Extra Lives of Consoles, gives away the subject matter, which is all about the creation of games on an independent level. I am currently enrolled in a course on game development, and I found this book to be an extremely helpful resource for not only learning how to give myself an advantage when it comes to the creation of games in the future but also gaining insights into the game industry as a whole.

It is written in a manner that is both formal and inviting, which makes reading it both fun and educational. It offers a great deal of insights and information about the gaming industry that is not widely known, which is something that is not always to be expected when thinking about it on a surface level.

To other game developers as well as people who are simply interested in the creative side of the gaming industry, I wholeheartedly endorse reading this book.

5/5 Stars from me.

NetGalley, Fae k

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I appreciated the angle the author took focusing on the artistry and not the technical specifics of the game creation, as it made an easier to digest and more interesting topic. The narrative flowed and was engaging, and I think anyone interested in video game history and the future of gaming would like this book. I also liked the examples of some of the most representative games in the home brew world, I think it gave a great overview of where the hobby is at and where it came from. I also found the section on non-consoles and failed consoles interesting and was a nice addition to the topic. Overall enjoyable and interesting read good for both newbies to the home brew world and people who have been in it for a while.

NetGalley, libby rheault

About Robin Wilde

Robin Wilde is a freelance writer, graphic designer and independent game developer who has written for a range of gaming publications including Nintendojo, Wireframe and Fanbyte. He grew up as a die-hard GameCube fan in the UK, and now lives and works in the Pacific Northwest. When he's not gaming, he can be found on Twitter at @TheWildeRobin or on his portfolio at robinwilde.me.

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