Coin-Ops To Table-Tops is an upcoming book about the golden age of electronic games

coin-ops to table-tops

Currently on Kickstarter, Coin-Ops To Table-Tops is a book dedicated to the tabletop electronic games that ruled the 1970s and 80s.

Before Nintendo’s Game Boy transformed the handheld video gaming landscape, one of the major ways to play games without a console or computer was via the electronic devices put out by companies like Grandstand and Tomy.

With their LCD matrix-based screens and chunky, colourful shells, these games were designed to sit on a desk or kitchen table, and roughly approximated some of the biggest arcade hits of the late 1970s and 80s. Some, like Ms Pac-Man, did a remarkably good job of re-creating some of the colour and pace of the original game, and also replicating the colourful artwork and style of its arcade cabinet.

Launched by Numskull Designs and currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, Coin-Ops To Table-Tops is an upcoming book dedicated to these bygone electronic devices. It’s written by Mike Diver, the former co-founder and senior editor of Waypoint, and it’ll be positively stuffed with photographs of the electronic games in question.

Unlike the cheaper, handheld electronic games of the day, these tabletop machines were far more advanced and deluxe in terms of their electronics and build quality, and had price tags to match; if you were growing up at the time, they were often the kinds of things you’d see in catalogues and drool over. Looking at shots from the book, and these games still have that same quasi-mythical allure.

The book covers a fascinating – and often overlooked – period in video game history: one that was largely wiped out as gamers began looking for more complex experiences towards the end of the 1980s, and the Game Boy made handheld gaming more affordable. More recently, tabletop games have made something of a comeback, with miniature coin-ops made by companies as RepliCade and Numskull surfing a wave of nostalgia.

You can check out Coin-Ops To Table-Tops campaign in more detail on Kickstarter, and a pledge of £30 will currently secure you an early bird physical copy of the hardback book. Once those run out, you’ll need to pledge £40 for a copy.

Read more: The bygone joy of bespoke arcade cabinets

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