Soft & Cuddly by Jarett Kobek
Release Date: January 24, 2017
ISBN 13: 978-1-940535-15-9
Foreword by George Bum
A computer game so nauseatingly gory that it came with a barf bag. Bright druggy graphics that sickened scores of proper English parents. Gameplay so violent that it inspired one of Britain's most infamous killing sprees. Soft & Cuddly, released for the ZX Spectrum in 1987, wasn't quite any of these things. But in an age of manufactured moral panics, John George Jones's fluorescent punk manifesto sure pissed off a lot of people.
Featuring new interviews with the game's creator, Jarett Kobek's book dives deep into the gritty world of British yellow journalism, snarky computer fanzines, DIY home programming, and Soviet bootleg mixtapes. If Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party was right that "video nasties" like Soft & Cuddly were the epitome of 80s depravity, then this book is headed straight to Hell.
Jarett Kobek is a Turkish-American writer living in California. He's the author of four books including the novel I Hate the Internet, and the creator of an exclusive ZX Spectrum prequel of the same name.
"A fascinating read about Soft & Cuddly and Go to Hell. The tone is provocative at times (that's a compliment). [...] If you're looking for a book on video nasties, Hungerford, punk, Thatcher and 2 Speccy games you've probably never played then this is probably the book for you. - Crash
"A must-read for gamers who love a good backstory." - BioGamer Girl
"To put it simply, Soft & Cuddly is punk as fuck. [...] Kobek writes his book with the same kind of smartassed anarchism (verging on nihilism) that permeates Jones’ game. Soft & Cuddly‘s snark is darkly cynical, yet all the more entertaining for it. " - Dial H for Houston
"A love note to all things grungy and bootleg, to everyone who managed to succeed despite standing in their own way." - James Ardis in Heavy Feather Review
"A vital account of technology’s collusion with neoliberalism." - Jose Cruz Guerrero, Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies
Interview: The Millions
More Reviews: Goodreads