9th November 2020
With the Christmas season approaching, we are bringing you a series of guides to help find ideal gifts for the gamers in your life. First up, we have a guide to some great video game books!
If reading isn't your thing, don't click away just yet - you can always just look at the pictures! There are plenty of video game art books available, including Dark Horse's "The Art Of" series, which has spawned beautiful art books for games such as The Last Of Us, Cuphead, BioShock, Overwatch and more in recent years. They also have new editions hitting the market for 2020 games such as Cyberpunk 2077, Ghost of Tsushima and Assassin's Creed Valhalla. Dark Horse are also responsible for the popular encyclopedias for Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda.
When it comes to art books for specific video games, there are too many available for us to list them all here. So, if we haven't listed a game you're interested in, such as The Witcher, Final Fantasy or Skyrim, have a search on some of the online shops and local shops in our directories!
Beyond the traditional art books around video games, we have a couple more recommendations for you. If you have ever enjoyed comics then you might want to check out The Comic Book Story of Video Games: The Incredible History of the Electronic Gaming Revolution, written by Jonathan Hennessey and illustrated by Jack McGowan. This 192-page paperback provides an illustrated history of video games in comic book form.
If you need a Christmas gift for a gamer with an eye for design, this could be right up your street; Arcade Game Typography: The Art of Pixel Type by Toshi Omagari. Across 272 pages, Omagari takes us through several decades of pixel typefaces used in arcade games. A truly blissful experience for any designer with a passion for video games!
While most video game books focus on the success and glory of video games, Frank Gasking's The Games That Weren't comes from a completely different angle, taking us through four decades of games that failed to make it to release and revealing the fascinating stories behind them.
While "The Games That Weren't" provides insight into the difficulties behind games not making release, our next recommendation gives us a fascinating look at the difficulties in ensuring that games do make it to release. Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made, by Jason Schreier, takes us behind the scenes in the development process of a variety of popular games, revealing the many challenges and tribulations that threaten to derail games before release.
First released in 2004, Masters Of Doom: How two guys created an empire and transformed pop culture remains a classic among video game books. Written by David Kushner, the book follows the story of John Carmack and John Romero, creators of two of the most significant games in video game history in Doom and Quake.
If you need a gift for someone who thinks video games are a bad influence, perhaps you should educate them with a copy of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Written by game designer Jane McGonigal, this thought-provoking book explains the idea that video games can improve our lives and the world as a whole.
Hardcore Gaming 101 have amassed an impressive catalogue of video game books in recent years. If you're looking for a book for a gamer, you're almost certain to find something on their website. Their titles include "Japanese Video Game Obscurities", "The Guide to Shoot-em-Ups" and "Taito Arcade Classics". Check out the full range on the Hardcore Gaming 101 website.
For the retro gamers among us, you can find a wide range of books covering the history of video games. We'll start with Britsoft: An Oral History. This 420-page hardcover tells the story of the early British games industry and features interviews with numerous significant figures in British video game history. It is the companion to the 2014 documentary From Bedrooms to Billions and is available to purchase from Read-Only Memory.
If you're interested in video game history from a Japanese perspective, take a look at Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation. Blake J. Harris breaks down the infamous battle between Japanese video game titans Sega and Nintendo in this 576-page paperback.
Depending on whose side you took in the aforementioned battle, you might be interested in either the NES/Famicom or Sega Master System entry in Bitmap Books' brilliant Visual Compendium series. Books in the Visual Compendium series feature beautiful artwork, articles, interviews and more. A number of other consoles feature in the series and you can find them all on the Bitmap Books website.
Another book in Bitmap Books's excellent range is Artcade, of which a new extended edition is being released in early December. Five years on from its original release, this new edition expands with newly restored artwork and exclusively written content. Spanning 356 pages, Artcade would make a great gift for a retro gamer and can be pre-ordered now from the Bitmap Books website.
If your eyes are sore from all that reading, don't worry - you can soon rest them while someone plays some soothing tunes from a video game music book you've bought them for Christmas.
Publishers Alfred and Hal Leonard each offer a range of video game music books, with Alfred's range including The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros, Minecraft and Cuphead, while Hal Leonard's music books include Final Fantasy and Fallout.
The books in this article can be found at a range of online and offline retailers. You can find links within the article but we recommend that you check with your local independent retailers to see what they have in stock. You can find a range of online and offline retailers in our directories.