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Dec
18
2013

The Best Books About Gaming

The Best Books About Gaming

Want to learn more about the history of video games, but don’t know where to start? Maybe you’re interested in some fiction that expands the universe of some of your favorite games. A number of awesome books about gaming exist, and we’ve hand selected five of the very best for you. Take a look at our list of the best books about gaming below.

5. Masters of Doom

David Kushner’s Masters of Doom provides and interesting insight into the new frontier that was gaming in the early ‘90s. Kushner’s book retells the story of John Carmack and John Romero, founds of id Software, and their tumultuous ascent into the annals of gaming. In this book, you’ll learn about the history of the company, its most popular games (Doom, Wolfenstein, and Quake), and how the ride from teen hackers to industry pioneers ruined the once close friendship between Carmack and Romero. Who knew gaming history was so dramatic?

4. Halo Series

This is the only fiction series to make it into the list, and deservedly so. Just like their video game counter part, the Halo books are full of fast-paced action. While the Halo games feature excellent storylines, the books really do a fantastic job of going deeper into the lore and bringing the Halo world to life. Check out the book The Fall of Reach if you want to learn more about the backstory of some of your favorite characters from the series, such as Master Chief, Cortana, and Captain Keyes, while First Strike covers the events between the first and second entries in the series. This series of books is a no-brainer for any Halo fan.

3. Power-Up: How Japanese Games Gave the World an Extra Life

By the mid ‘80s, the gaming industry seemed to be approaching the end of its life. Just when the situation appeared to be at its bleakest moment, Nintendo unleashed the NES, and revitalized an entire industry. Chris Kohler’s book delves into the major impact Japanese culture had on the development of titles that became staples in gaming, such as Final Fantasy, Super Mario Bros., and The Legend of Zelda. Kohler interviewed a number of people in the industry, and details the stories behind the creation of various blockbuster video games. If you’re interested in learning about how Japan’s approach to storytelling and design saved the video game industry, this book is a must-read!

2. Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter

Critics of video games often describe them as a mind-numbing waste of time, or cite their (unproven) connection with violence. Video games always seem receive so much negative attention in the media, and that’s exactly why Tom Bissell’s book is such a breath of fresh air. In Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter, Bissell describes what exactly makes video games so appealing to consumers. He explores how video games work, why they matter, and how they are an emerging art form in the 21st century. If you’re looking for a somewhat different view of video games, check out Bissell’s enjoyable offering.

1. Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World

Who knew that Nintendo manufactured playing cards and owned a line of hotels before breaking into the gaming world? In his book, David Sheff describes the years before Nintendo became a video gaming juggernaut in great detail. While learning the backstory of the company is quite interesting, it’s not until Sheff discusses Nintendo’s breakthrough into the video gaming world, and the heated console rivalry with Sega in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Sheff explores the company’s roots, its internal structure, and how it became such a successful, household name. If you’re into the history of gaming, this one is a must-have for your collection.

Whether you’re looking for information on the industry, or just want to see some of your favorite characters continue their stories beyond the games, there are a number of excellent choices when it comes to books about gaming. These are just a few of the best available, but, of course, there are many more out there. Do you have any great gaming book suggestions? Let us know in the comments section!

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