An Observer Magazine cover story from September 1982 sees the novelist, 33, turn his attention to a ‘global addiction’

Martin Amis discovered Space Invaders at a bar near the railway station in Toulon. It was 1979. The console had been installed in the corner and resembled a fridge, and as soon as Amis slotted in his first coin he fell head over heels. ‘I knew instantly that this was something different, something special,’ he explains. ‘The bar closed at 11 o’clock that night. I was the last to leave.’

Amis is recounting this three years later, in the Observer Magazine’s 19 September 1982 cover story. He’s 33 now, a three-book novelist, though a few years off publishing Money. He might have written it sooner had he not found the arcades so enticing. ‘I was very good yesterday, and hardly played at all,’ he writes, describing, like a 10-year-old Fortnite fanatic, the early anguish of addiction. ‘So I had a long session this morning.’

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