Three 80s Editions

I’ve been planning on writing an ebook about all the stuff I had as a kid. I’ll call it “All The Stuff I Had As Kid” (catchy, right?). Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), a couple of guys beat me to it.

The first guy is Mark Bellomo. His book is called Totally Tubular Toys of the 80s. It comes in both hardcover and ebook format. It is very picture-heavy, which makes it hard to read as an ebook but awesome to look through as a hardcover, and seems more like an encyclopedia, covering most of the major toys of that time in a year-by-year format.

The second guys are Matthew Robinson and Jensen Karp. Their book is called Just Cant’ Get Enough (taken from the Depeche Mode song). It is also picture heavy but it reads more like what my book will (or would); instead of documenting every toy that existed in this time, Robinson and Karp just talk about the stuff they had. Adding to the awesomeness is the fact that the book is designed like a Trapper Keeper complete with velcro flap.

In addition to these, Loren Halek has written a short ebook called Growing Up 8-Bit in which he discusses his memory of arcade, Nintendo, and Sega games of the 80s. It’s a first draft but an enjoyable read nonetheless. If you like walking through the arcade and seeing all the games you loved, you’ll probably like this book.

All three can be purchased at If you’ve caught up on your Retroist reading, I suggest giving one of these three a look.


Doug is a child of the 80s who was raised in Ohio and is now living the life of oblivion in the bay area of California.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. I have the first two books (and, coincidentally, posted an overly verbose review of Totally Tubular 80s Toys yesterday to my other blog), and they’re well worth adding to your pop culture bookshelf. I loved the year-by-year layout and the comprehensiveness of Totally Tubular. The pictures are incredible. I enjoyed Just Can’t Get Enough (especially the cool Trapper Keeper cover), but .. I guess since I’m a girl (who played with both boys and girls toys), I felt it was a little boy-centric (though, obviously, you write what you know about!).

    There’s ALWAYS room for more pop culture books out there! I hope to see your book(s) someday.. and, admittedly, I dream of writing one of my own someday, too!

  2. I realize there’s probably a lot more to the concept of “Growing up 8 Bit” than just 8-bit games, but it kills me that almost half the games right on the cover are very obviously anything but 8-bit.

  3. Yeah, I think he’s using 8-bit just to refer to the 80s era of games, same as I used “80s” to cover 1984-1992 (the year I graduated hs).

  4. I’m only finding 4 not using 8-bit hardware

  5. Retroist thanks so much for posting about these books. I just ordered them myself. I am especially looking forward to Just Cant Get Enough because of the Trapper Keep cover. I just tried to explain what a Trapper Keeper was to my daughter. She cannot understand why anyone would keep paper copies when everything is digital! Of the hubris of youth!

    You are right about the wanting to tell stories Retroist. Just cataloging the 80’s wouldn’t make for the most interesting book. It is the stories that make the great things of the 80’s personal for you that makes for the best reading.

    For example, some friends and I used to get together on Fridays and spend the night outside in a tent for the evening. We would take board games outside with us along with a ton of food and a tape recorder. We would turn the tape recorder on and just tape our gaming sessions. It was amazing to listen to them later and hear how many times we accused each other of cheating! I don’t think we ever finished a game of Monopoly because people would get tired of playing before we were actually finished! We would spends hours playing Dark Tower though which was a huge hit in the 80’s, and a game I wish I still had.

    I would love to put together a book walking through my childhood in the 80’s as well. Telling stories about the music of the time and why it was important. I remember hearing Journey’s Open Arms during the movie Last American Virgin and I still think of that movie today when I hear that song. Talking about the arcade experience and how awful it was the day they closed my arcade.

    I think you have inspired me to get that project underway!

  6. @The Doc – Glad you liked the post…just wanna point out this was posted by Doug McCoy (and if you like these books you should check out his ANESthetized)

  7. Thanks much for the shoutout Doug. And he is correct above, the book is called Growing Up 8-Bit because a majority of it has to do with my gaming in the early Arcade days, Atari 2600 and NES. The book covers my experiences from my birth in 1976 to the games that released in 1990.

    The reason I did that was twofold. I wanted to keep it mostly about the 8-Bit games and when I started writing down games to talk about I found that the ones between 1991-2000 (my hopeful next book) almost doubled the amount of games talked about in this book.

    As for the cover, all of them are games I consider Gaming Milestones. I didn’t want to hone in on one specific system for the cover and the 4 that don’t constitute “8-bit” are games that really blew me away (TMNT Arcade, KQ V, Phantasy Star II, Wing Commander) and were on systems that weren’t Atari or NES.

    In other news, at some point I will be going back to re-write this book. I’ll announce when version 2.0 is available. I got some really good feedback from some friends. It will be under the same title, so those that have purchased it will get the new version free of any extra charge. The plan is to eliminate a lot of the “little known fact” spewing I do and talk more about my experiences as well as possibly changing the outlay.

    The big reason for this is most of the book was written over 3 years ago and people saw stuff that I wasn’t seeing. I also hope to translate this into the second book I’m working on covering the 90s and the third book covering up until last year. Ambitious, but first I want to work on making this book even better.

  8. The Doc,

    My grand plan with these books was to cover everything (video games, comic books, television shows, movies, etc.) and how it affected me. I first sat down and wrote down games I played over the years. Finding hundreds and hundreds of games to talk about I made the decision to focus only on that along with relaying stuff happening in my life around those times.

    So, my advice would be sit down and make a list of things you want to write about and see how long it is. From there you can figure out how ambitious you want to be.

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