#1 Posted by beepmachine (618 posts) -

I just watched Indie Game: The Movie, and read Patrick's article on Phil Fish, and I was thinking that there must be some great stories and opinions about this industry, and its importance, out there. I thought to myself, "I'd love to read a great book about games." Not one about game design, or one of those licensed novels set in a game's universe, but one that's a commentary and exploration of the medium and/or culture, something important that would actually raise discussion. Honestly I was probably thinking "I wish Jeff Gerstmann would write a book about games." Imagine one of his jar videos but longer and in even more depth, on paper.

I don't know of any books about games, and yeah there's millions of articles online about them, but there's something more permanent about a book. Unfortunately, anything more than a few years old would probably be really out of context by now because of how quickly gaming changes, but people still publish books about sports, politics, and technology, and those change just as fast.

If anyone has read any great books about games I'd love to hear about them. I've searched but I just seem to find books from 1998 about "why video games will be important" or books about how to design an MMO. Hell, maybe the great video game novel has yet to be written.

#2 Edited by JohnnyAutoFire (353 posts) -

There's a lot of good books about video game history, but I'm not really sure if that's what you're looking for.

Game Over by David Sheff is a book that goes over the origins of Nintendo. It's been rereleased a bunch of times under different titles. The version I read was "Game Over: How Nintendo Zapped an American Industry, Captured Your Dollars, and Enslaved Your Children" and was released in 1993. Despite it's title, it's actually a really cool book about the beginnings of the modern video game industry.

The Ultimate History of Video Games by Steven L. Kent is exactly what the title discribes. It's a 600+ page book that documents just about every major event in the video game industry up until the turn of the century. If you have any interest in video game history, this is a really good book to read.

#3 Posted by Arbie (1449 posts) -

@super_mario_john said:

The Ultimate History of Video Games by Steven L. Kent is exactly what the title discribes. It's a 600+ page book that documents just about every major even in the video game industry up until the turn of the century. If you have any interest in video game history, this is a really good book to read.

Game Over sounds good but this one sounds awesome! Is there any humour in either of these or are they mostly just factual (or in Game Over's case I'm guessing opinionated) books?

#4 Posted by JohnnyAutoFire (353 posts) -

@Erzs: The Ultimate History of Video Games is mostly factual, but there's some good stuff in there. The author interviewed a lot of the people he talks about in the book, and the snippets written by them add a lot. Neither book is really funny, though.

#5 Posted by Absolute_Zero (242 posts) -

@super_mario_john: Good thing you replied to this first. I thought the OP was referring to books based on video games. :P

But on the topic of books on video games, here's several I'd recommend:

Opening the Xbox by Dean Takahashi is about the development of the original Xbox. Takahashi also wrote a similar book about the 360 titled The Xbox 360 Uncloaked, but I never read it.

Masters of Doom by David Kushner covers "The biographies of John Carmack and John Romero, and of their company, id Software. The development and marketing of all major id games." Kushner also wrote a book about Grand Theft Auto, but like The Xbox 360 Uncloaked, I havent read it.

This Gaming Life by John Walker - In the author's own words: "It’s a book about the relationship between gamers and the games they play, and it’s a book dominated by experiences with PC games."

I'm sure more could be found under the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" section on Amazon, so good luck with that!

#6 Posted by RPGee (759 posts) -

Extra Lives by Tom Bissell. It's probably not for everyone, but it's pretty amazing in my books.

#7 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -

I believe there's one about the professional Counterstrike scene that is meant to be surprisingly enjoyable, but I'm fucked if I can remember the name!

TO THE INTERWEBZ!

#8 Posted by FakeKisser (313 posts) -

@RPGee said:

Extra Lives by Tom Bissell. It's probably not for everyone, but it's pretty amazing in my books.

I just finished that book. I think it's worth a read for any gamer interested in narrative in games.

I own several others that I am about to start such as The Ultimate History of Video Games, mentioned in a previous post.

#9 Posted by HarlechQuinn (444 posts) -

I just leave this here...

#10 Posted by Apathylad (3066 posts) -

The last one I read was Dan Amrich's Critical Path: How to Review Videogames for a Living, and I wrote a blog about it. If you want to learn about the components of running a game review and news site, you should check that out.

#11 Posted by psylah (2162 posts) -

Jeff Green spoke about a "book" he was "writing" called The Cudgel of Xanthor.

Green is in the process of writing his first novel, The Cudgel of Xanthor. The book is based on a column he once wrote which was a parody of videogame previews. In the book, a videogame development company is working on the third installment of the Xanthor series of games - the first two being the Blade of Xanthor, and the Sword of Xanthor. Green has stated in podcasts that his inspiration for the book derived from his two years working for Electronic Arts where he saw, first-hand, how games are developed. The book cuts back and forth between the company and Xanthor himself, living in the world the developers are creating. Xanthor must deal in his own world with the myriad and arbitrary changes the developers make. The book has reached full first-draft stage, but does not yet have a publisher.

#12 Posted by beepmachine (618 posts) -

@RPGee: That sounds like what I had in mind. I'll probably pick it up whenever I finish the stuff I'm reading now.

The historical books don't interest me as much though, but thanks for the suggestions. It's nice to know the details but I think someone actually saying something about games is more interesting.

@HarlechQuinn: Huh...I searched for similar threads but never found that. Is there a way to search the forums by topic title? I always just get a big fucking list of posts.