Books For The Non-Fiction Gamerby Daniel “nfgDan” Ryan
Being a gamer I don’t get time for too many books with my pile of shame looming a little high at the moment. While books like John Dies at the End, REAMDE and even the Discworld series are great, sometimes I’m in the mood for something more than just a story.
Below are some Non-Fiction books on the subject of gaming. This isn’t a definitive list by any means, but if you’re interested in how the industry works, what impact do games have on society or maybe you’re just after some fun trivia for future discussion, then take a look at these titles.
1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die (AUD$21.78)
In fewer than fifty years video games have become one of the most popular forms of entertainment, but which are the best games, the ones you must play? If you ask the Internet, (which we do most weeks) gamers are playing a huge range of video games from the latest big titles and indie games all the way through to old retro games from their childhood.
Video game expert Tony Mott presents 1001 of the best video games from around the world and on all formats, from primitive pioneering consoles like Atari’s VCS to modern-day home entertainment platforms such as Sony’s PlayStation 3.
Each entry includes an illustrated screenshot of the game in action, along with details of its original release date and platform, with informative text outlining its play mechanics, artistic qualities, contributions to its respective genre, and more.
The Ultimate History of Video Games (AUD$21.78)
If you loved the Game Masters Exhibition, full of interviews with industry luminaries and legends of gaming like Warren Spector and Tim Shaefer then you will want to get your hands on this book. The author Steven Kent has been recording gaming history through the arcade years and continues up until the current generation of consoles.
Some of the great stories when it comes to video game history; The video game that saved Nintendo from bankruptcy -The serendipitous story of Pac-Man’s design -The misstep that helped topple Atari’s $2 billion-a-year empire -The coin shortage caused by “Space Invaders” and reasons behind the rise, fall, and rebirth of Sega.
Gaming is changing the landscape of business. As we’ve known for a long time video games are awesome and it turns out big companies are starting to figure that out. This means using video games to encourage or train staff among other things.
Google is using video games to turn its visitors into a giant, voluntary labor force–encouraging them to manually label the millions of images found on the Web that Google’s computers cannot identify on their own.
Break into the Game Industry: How to Get a Job Making Video Games (AUD$26.76)
Pretty much what the title says, if you are looking to get into the video game industry, this could help you get started. Find out what you need to do to become a game designer, tester, artist, producer, programmer, writer, soundtrack composer, videographer, or sales/marketing professional.
When you’re a big time game developer, be sure to send some exclusive goodies to Non-Fiction Gaming. If you’re looking to become a video game journalist, you could always send us some of your work to have a look at.
Guinness World Records 2013 Gamer’s Edition (AUD$14.98)
Get all the gaming world records in a book thick enough to cause some damage. Perhaps after reading you’ll be inspired to dust off your Donkey Kong arcade cabinet and compete to be the King of Kong.
Check out the latest videogame news and achievements, see top characters face-off against each other and meet the newest gaming record-breakers, all illustrated with the best images from the year’s top titles.
Philosophy Through Video Games (AUD$114.76 Hardback, AUD$33.41 Paperback)
Two hundred and 16 pages dedicated to explaining that video games are the meaning of life? Not quite, but Wii Sports could teach us something about metaphysics.
Jon and Mark investigate the aesthetic appeal of video games, their effect on our morals, the insights they give us into our understanding of perceptual knowledge, personal identity, artificial intelligence, and the very meaning of life itself, arguing that video games are popular precisely because they engage with longstanding philosophical problems.
The topics covered include: The Problem of the External World; Dualism and Personal Identity; Artificial and Human Intelligence in the Philosophy of Mind; The Idea of Interactive Art and The Moral Effects of Video Games.
Games discussed include: Madden Football, Wii Sports, Guitar Hero, World of Warcraft, Sims Online, Second Life, Baldur’s Gate, Knights of the Old Republic, Elder Scrolls, Zork, EverQuest Doom, Halo 2, Grand Theft Auto, Civilization, Mortal Kombat, Rome: Total War, Black and White, and Aidyn Chronicles.
Are there any publications you’ve been reading on the subject of gaming you would love to share? Let us know in the comments below.