Game Makers

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The Game Makers is the story of George S. Parker and his brother's establishment of one of the biggest gaming empires in the history of gaming. The author, Philip E. Orbanes, examines the history of Parker Brothers throughout the one hundred years of its existence. This book is an educational and informative journey through the life of the Parker Brothers. He provides a quick, but descriptive story that covers everything from their first office in Salem, to the publishing of Monopoly in 1935, then making and losing millions developing and publishing games for the Atari VCS in 1982, to the closing of the Parker Brothers Salem office in 1991, including a slightly awkward period of Orbanes' hiring in 1979 to his resignation in 1990.

What drives The Game Makers as a compelling text is George S. Parker's ability to control company management. He ran the company, continued to contribute to the product line and kept his personal ego for Parker Brothers on track. The best part of the book came when it talks about the mistakes of his successors, how their deviations from George Parker's belief, and their mistakes, would eventually cause the company to fumble and not be the dominating company it once was. This decline occurred due to the downfall of an American institution as a result of pride, ego, and power struggles. The Parker Brothers tried breaking into the market of video games by developing star wars and a version of frogger for the Atari 2600. During this downfall they were completely focused on trying to become a great video game industry. They overworked their department and mismanaged the electronics department. While doing all this they didn't think anything was wrong because they had the name the Parker Brothers and they believed that anyone would enjoy the games they came out with. It's the story of a company that grew too large too fast. They lacked the ability to look at the company and the gaming world rationally and instead rushed into to many projects at once.

George S. Parker had self imposed rules that he followed as he made his company an empire. Even though they were his rules the company should have followed them because they probably would have lasted longer. After reading Mr. Parkers' 12 tenets for running a good business, it was clear that he new how to be a leader and how to manage his company.

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