Generation Xbox: How Videogames Invaded Hollywood

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Yellow Ant, April 2012

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People arenʹt going to the movies. Theyʹre playing videogames.

In 2011, cinema attendance nosedived. Meanwhile, a single game was making a billion dollars – in just 16 days. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was the fastest‐selling entertainment property in any medium, ever.

By the end of its launch day over 7 million multiplayer hours had been logged as gamers blasted their pals in online combat. The prime movie‐going demographic of 18‐24 year old men were thinking: why watch a movie, when you can live inside one?

Generation Xbox: How Videogames Invaded Hollywood uncovers the love/hate relationship between gaming and Hollywood ‐ and asks what it means for the future of entertainment.

It’s a wild, creative story that begins with Steven Spielberg choking on dope fumes in the offices of Atari in the 80s, before hurtling through a story of disaster, triumph and Angelina Jolie in hotpants.

Along the way, weʹll hear how the Dragonʹs Lair coin‐op pissed off Disney; the untold story of how Don Simpson and Stanley Kubrick reacted to Full Motion Video; the rise and fall of Sonyʹs Interfilm experiment; the culture clash over the aborted Halo movie; and how companies like Microsoft, Rockstar and Ubisoft are changing the entertainment landscape for everyone, forever.

Based on over 100 interviews with leaders in both camps ‐ from Nolan Bushnell to Gabe Newell; Paul W.S. Anderson to Neill Blomkamp ‐ Generation Xbox is the Easy Riders, Raging Bulls of videogames.

Generation Xbox is ready to play. Are you?



“From Atari’s Superman game in the 1970s to Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft and beyond, the relationship between films and videogames has been one of false starts, cul-de-sacs, envy and dramatic bitching. Russell’s perky history uses the word ‘incredible’ too much, but is a fascinatingly detailed account. It provides revealing analyses of failed revolutions, such as the laserdisc game Dragon’s Lair (made by ex-Disney animators), and the genesis of modern globe-spanning genres: Steven Spielberg was heavily involved in the creation of the first Medal of Honor second-world-war shooter, hoping it would be educational.” Steven Poole, The Guardian

“It’s pretty damn good,” Tony Ponce, Destructoid

“A superb and often elegantly written book about the convergence of two industries that, even now, eye each other warily across the table and worry about what the other is doing. This is only part of the history of videogames, but Generation Xbox offers a fascinating and definitive account that’s expertly researched.” Rich Stanton, Eurogamer

“It’s the one book gamers should read this year,” Paul Nyhart, The Jace Hall Show

“Generation Xbox is the most interesting and illuminating game-related book I’ve read in years. Gathering first-hand testimonies from so many leading creatives across games and Hollywood is no small achievement, but it’s Jamie’s skill in crafting engaging and insightful narrative that makes this book a fascinating read for any follower of today’s fast-moving entertainment landscape,” Tony Mott, Editor of EDGE magazine.

“A fine work that makes an important point, bringing light to an era of history that has had a vast impact and gone largely unappreciated. Nice job!” Howard Scott Warshaw, Atari VCS programmer Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T.

“I had flashbacks reading it,” Peter Hirschmann, writer/producer Medal of Honor



On the failure of the Halo movie, published by Wired

On the making of Night Trap, published by Gamasutra

An interview with Jamie about the book is on Gaming as a Dad