So who is Emily Prager? It appears that she is the Emily Prager described here:
While the book itself contains no author information, the New York Times book review of Prager's short story collection A Visit From the Footbinder notes that Frank Morris did the dust jacket illustration for the book. In addition, A Visit From the Footbinder was published by Simon and Schuster, the parent company of Pocket Books. So, while this may not be the same Emily Prager, it seems likely that it is.
If, she's had a rather interesting career: she was an actress on the soap opera The Edge of Night for four years, a writer and (briefly) a cast member on Saturday Night Live, a writer and performer in the cult film Mr. Mike's Mondo Video and a voice actor in the cartoon Shame of the Jungle, a contributing editor to National Lampoon and Penthouse, a columnist for the Village Voice, and is currently teaching English in Islamabad.
|Emily Prager in 1971 from The Edge of Night
I haven't read any of Prager's other work, but I'm guessing I Hate Video Games isn't one of her finer efforts. It starts with a brief history of video games.
Then comes the longest section "Know Your Enemy" - about 30 pages describing various satirical video games.
Next up is a photo essay "The Tragic Lie of a Video Game Addict".
Then we have a look at the physical effects of video game addiction, the real words to "Punk Man Fever", and a section of video game withdrawal camps.
Chapter 9, "If Video Games Are Not Stopped, This Will Be Our Future" consists entirely of the following drawing:
Hmm - looks kind of like a Virtual Boy to me. Life imitating comedic art?
The book ends with a look at the "final video game" - limited nuclear war.
This one was not really one of my favorites.
In a similar vein was I Hate Videots: Today the Arcade, Tomorrow the World by Mark Baker, published by Fireside in 1982. Again, it was aimed at more mature audiences (it has a little T&A).
This one starts with "Electronic Apocalypse Now: An Introduction to the Video Threat". Then, like Prager's book, offers up a tongue-in-cheek view of the origins of video games.
By the way, an official Golden Age Historian No Prize to the first person to identify the video game player in this picture (not Ronnie - the other guy).
Again, we have a "Know Your Enemy" section, but this one is about "how to spot a videot".
Next Baker offers psychological profiles of the videot, based on their favorite game. The Battlezone Video, for instance is "... a sneak, and a ruthless sneak at that - he'll blindside you every time he gets a chance. He seems like any other insignificant, fawning worm in horn-rimmed glasses...until he gets behind you with a brick bat. The POW! A direct hit, the wimp scores". Famous Battlezone Videos include David Stockman, Willard, Stephen King, and Muammar el-Qaddafi.
Next Baker looks at "invalid videots" (home video game players), the love life of the videot and two more sections similar to those found in the Prager book, a section on the effects of video game addiction and one on deprogramming the videot.
Finally Baker discusses dealing with the "terminal videot" and ends with a manifesto for the "Video Liberation Army".
Once again, not my cup of tea.
Next time, we'll look at some kiddie video game fiction.