Your favourite video game books.

Talking non fiction here, anything at all from an overall history of games to specific companies or incidents in the industry. Even talk on specics of game design, narrative whatever.

Basically I want to throw some gaming related stuff on my book wish list, and I'd like some personal recommendations. Have you been reading or listening to anything good?
I'm actually reading through my old Prima guide to City of Villans. There's some rather bad advice in there (get four power pools!?), but it's fun to remember.

For other people to read, though? The one mentioned in Brian's topic is the only one I can think of that isn't massively out of date.
Its not just history I'm after though. Can be anything from the story of a studio or publisher or the evolution of a particular type of game etc. A biography of a developer, design theory text books even, anything adjacent.

I'll pick up whatever's on Audible probably but would have been nice to get some other pointers as well as Brians list which are all interesting. Midway through The Great Hunt and need a bit of a breather from WOT after that.
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A nerd that found his place
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Jan 17, 2020
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Well, I enjoyed "Empire of Imagination". It's the biography of Gary Gygax. I read a few books back when I was trying to become a game designer, but they made me cry and change my career decisions. Do you want those?

Not a book per say, but i do enjoy reading retro gamer magazine. Some interesting articles for games and various gaming events in history. My recent article read was the console wars between Sega and Nintendo across the world. Especially interesting was the strategies each company took and the tactics across the world. I did like the retro section of Games tm as welll.

As for other books? sadly nothing springs to mind. i do have masters of doom in my to read list. Assuming i ever get to finish the horus heresy book series that is.

PCG Jody

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Dec 9, 2019
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I've read some good books on the history of tabletop roleplaying. Playing At the World by Jon Peterson for its origins, and Designers & Dragons by Shannon Appelcline for a history of the industry by decade.

On videogames, I liked Replay: The History of Video Games by Tristan Donovan for a big overview. I see you've already got Masters of Doom on your list, that's an interesting read.

Though not available as a book yet, I'm enjoying 50 Years of Text Games by Aaron A. Reed a lot. Here's the website. He picks one text-based game from each year, games like Zork, Oregon Trail, King of Dragon Pass, and 80 Days, and does a deep dive on each. There's a game called Silverwolf I'd never heard of, but was fascinated to learn about.
I read "Sonic the Hedgehog and the Silicon Warriors " as a child and thought it was awesome.
Also around a similar time there was a mini-book which came with an issue of PCGamer, which I think was a dramatic write up of someone playing an F1 racing game. Not sure which game or which reviewer, but I thought it was a really clever idea and pretty well-written too.

The Halo books are also pretty decent IMO, assuming you actually liked the game and its backstory.
Mass Effect had a graphic novel book thingy set between games 1+2 which was interesting, but really it was partially advertising/marketing for ME2.
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The CRPG Book: A Guide to Computer Roleplaying Games by Felipe Pepe is a great read that goes into a number of roleplaying games. More summaries with some interesting facts than a fully blown analysis like those of Chris Davies, Lorerunner, Spoony, or Noah Caldwell-Gervais, but they have statements from the developers exclusive to the book. Strongly recommended for those who are super into RPG development and lore, but video analyses do a much better job too. It's a good supplement to other CRPG reading/listening.

Not a book, but my partner and I went to the National Video Game Museum earlier this week. Some good stuff in there, including the DOOM II master disc. Worth a look the next time you're in Sheffield.


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