Video games consume a good portion of my free time. If I’m not playing video games I’m watching someone else play them on twitch.tv, or watching/listening to a podcast. I also read about them. Magazines and gaming websites are a great way to keep up with the video game news, but a lot of times these forms of media do not get to the details that my gaming obsessed mind craves. Therefore, I look to other avenues to satiate my gaming needs. So, I turn to video game books. Books focused on gaming have been able to answer a lot of questions, or questions I did not know I had until I started reading these books. I love reading, and I love video games. It would only make sense I start reading books based on games. After reading a couple of books on gaming I thought I’d share some of my favorite books with others.
3. Console Wars by Blake J. Harris
This is a book that befits the atmosphere of this website (or at least the System Wars forum). After years of debating, posting inflammatory pics, and trolling on System Wars I took a break from it. I still visit the site every once in a while. I yearn to hear about what my fellow gamers were arguing about by lurking on the System wars forum. But, what I really craved was concrete facts and information to help me decide on what is my favorite console. I did some research and found a book called Console Wars. It doesn’t really answer my question of today as to what the best system there is out there, but it did give an entertaining story while learning about the history of the early 90’s console wars.
As I was reading this book I was expecting to get a two sided view of Nintendo and Sega. The book focuses more on the underdog, Sega, in this book. Although the book does focus on Nintendo’s side of the battlefield I would suggest taking a look at the book called “Super Mario” if you want to learn more about Nintendo.
Since I was a kid in the 90’s and have actually lived through the Nintendo vs. Sega console war, and was admittedly a Nintendo fanboy, I thought I knew much about it. This book taught me a lot about how Sega’s marketing team strategized cleverly to outdo Nintendo in the gaming industry back then. What also made this book such an entertaining read was how the Nintendo and Sega execs got really dirty in their tactics to outdo each other. If you’re the least bit curious about the background of the 90’s console war this is a must read. There is a movie based on this book coming out too.
2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This is most definitely my favorite fictional video game book. I don’t think there are too many out there since video games are still such a nascent medium which is finally starting to become mainstream. What caught my attention the most about this book is how relatable it is to life in the web space. There are a lot of 80’s references in this book, and some of them I did not get or had to look up to understand, but everything else such as the online gaming community really kept me interested in this book.
The author of this book knows his audience very well, and knew how to target it to. Even if you’re not into video games it has a story that just about anyone can relate to. The story focuses mainly on online relationships. It also has many surprises you can look forward to. If you’re into dystopian science-fiction, video games, and 80’s pop culture do yourself a favor and give this book a read.
1. Masters of Doom by David Kushner
I’m more into reading fiction than reading non-fiction. I thought Ready Player One would have been my favorite video game centric book. After actually dwelling on what my favorite video game books are I came to the conclusion that Masters of Doom is the best video game book I’ve ever read.
Last generation of video games (X Box 360, Wii, PlayStation 3) was dominated by first person shooters (FPS). I can understand the fascination with FPS myself since I was obsessed with Goldeneye 007 in my childhood. JRPGs abated my obsession with FPS, but never entirely. I love the Halo’s, Killzones, and Battlefields. I wanted to know where and how FPS became so popular amongst gaming culture especially here in the United States. Curious about the history of the FPS I did some research, and came up with the book called Masters of Doom.
I’ve known about Doom, but I never knew how much of an affect it had on video game media, and how it pioneered FPS. The book focuses mainly on the two Johns: John Carmack, and John Romero. What made the read so interesting was how the John’s were polar opposites. One was an impulsive troublemaker, and the other was what you’d expect working for in a video game company, a highly intelligent obsessed geek. Read the book to find out which description belongs to which John.
The book also details how Doom, and other games such as Wolfenstein changed the way the world looks at video games. If you’re into first persons, or just video games you owe it to yourself to learn about two of the greatest video game developers in gaming history.
Honorable Mentions: Jacked, Super Mario, Reality Is Broken