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Great Gaming Books.


Kain
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What are some of your favorite reads as far as gaming goes? Not necessarily books continuing a series of games like a sequel and or a prequel, things like Deus Ex: The Icarus Effect.

One of my Favorites that i read last year is Service Games: Rise And Fall Of Sega. It was a bittersweet read. Growing up in the 1990's and playing lot of those games and consoles, and looking back on it brought back great and sad memories. For many of us SEGA will always be more than just a name, but in today's day in age, and for a long time for many it is just that.

Masters Of Doom, is another one. Having a insight into the world of two great individuals and the team at id software is one hell of a journey. The roads they took to the big time and giving us some great games, is something worthy of a read.

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i read the Ultimate History of Video Games earlier this year. it is a fantastic read, compiled by someone who has a tremendous love for the industry, and featuring interviews with DOZENS of important creators over the course of it.

My wife asked why i was reading a college textbook as a flipped through it, because it is formatted in such a fashion. but don't let that scare you off. it is definitely a fun read and chock full of awesome tidbits and interesting stories.

http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-History-Video-Games-Pokemon--/dp/0761536434/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1450076927&sr=8-2&keywords=history+of+video+games

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The ultimate history of video games and Phoenix: the fall,and rise of video games are both pretty good reads. Probably the two best general history books. Service games as mentioned above is a great read for Sega information. It is well researched. The author does throw out some of his opinions on what went wrong at Sega that are certainly debatable but he gets all the facts and it's a great read, especially for a lot of early Sega history.

My favorite recent book is Sega Mega Drive Collected Works. It is pricy but is one of the most well made books I ever read. It is like a love letter to the Mega Drive/Genesis. The cover and pages are lists outstanding quality. It contains great art. And a great interview section on the back half of the book. It was also officially sanctioned by Sega so the have a lot of interviews with people from Sega, as well as exclusive design documents for many games included, like enemy routines for Streets of rage and design docs for Gunstar heroes. It is like a coffee table book to show off the art but also has great interviews and never before seen information. Just a great book.

Any of the Harcore gaming 101 books are pretty good too. They are well put together with lots of information. I think I'll pick up their castlevanis book and Konami shooter book. They recently released their top 200 games of all time. I own their Sega arcade classics vol1 book and it's a great resource for Sega arcade games.

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Also, console wars is worth a read. Some people don't like the writing style Blake Harris chose to tell the story. But it's a great look inside the history of the 16-bit console war between Sega and Nintendo. It tells a little more of the Sega side of the story due to Nintendos secrecy about such things. It really is more Sega heavy. Though there were Nintendo people who went on the record.

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Also, console wars is worth a read. Some people don't like the writing style Blake Harris chose to tell the story. But it's a great look inside the history of the 16-bit console war between Sega and Nintendo. It tells a little more of the Sega side of the story due to Nintendos secrecy about such things. It really is more Sega heavy. Though there were Nintendo people who went on the record.

I second this. Last I heard, they were gonna make a movie out of this book in the style of The Social Network. I would also like to add Atari Inc., Buisiness is Fun

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'Console Wars' was phenomenal, and anyone who didn't enjoy it is a turd wrangling ass penguin wrong.

Another classic of the gaming age I loved since I read it back in college is "My Tiny Life" by Julian Dibbell. If you got into the whole online gaming thing with MUDs, MUCKs, MOOs and the like (think 'World of Warcraft' crossed with an Infocom text adventure and dozens, possibly even hundreds, of players all connected and talking at the same time), Dibbell's account of his time spent in the virtual halls of LambdaMOO, one of the largest online communities of the time, and the impact of the actions one player took which threw the whole place into chaos for years afterward, will take you right back to the 90s.

"Masters of Doom" is likewise a great read, for the reasons Kain listed above.

Another one from my shelves is "Power Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World An Extra Life" by Chris Kohler, which looks at the impact the Japanese had on the gaming industry as a whole. Almost a continuation of "Game Over: Press Start to Continue" by David Sheff (which is yet another great read for the video game inclined). :)

*huggles*
Areala

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The ultimate history of video games and Phoenix: the fall,and rise of video games are both pretty good reads. Probably the two best general history books. Service games as mentioned above is a great read for Sega information. It is well researched. The author does throw out some of his opinions on what went wrong at Sega that are certainly debatable but he gets all the facts and it's a great read, especially for a lot of early Sega history.

My favorite recent book is Sega Mega Drive Collected Works. It is pricy but is one of the most well made books I ever read. It is like a love letter to the Mega Drive/Genesis. The cover and pages are lists outstanding quality. It contains great art. And a great interview section on the back half of the book. It was also officially sanctioned by Sega so the have a lot of interviews with people from Sega, as well as exclusive design documents for many games included, like enemy routines for Streets of rage and design docs for Gunstar heroes. It is like a coffee table book to show off the art but also has great interviews and never before seen information. Just a great book.

Any of the Harcore gaming 101 books are pretty good too. They are well put together with lots of information. I think I'll pick up their castlevanis book and Konami shooter book. They recently released their top 200 games of all time. I own their Sega arcade classics vol1 book and it's a great resource for Sega arcade games.

I did have the The History of Sonic the Hedgehog on my list over the last year or so to add and read as well as The Making of Prince of Persia: Journals 1985 - 1993 from Amazon have been on my radar for almost two years. Hoping this christmas and going into 2016 i'll spoil myself with them.

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i read the Ultimate History of Video Games earlier this year. it is a fantastic read, compiled by someone who has a tremendous love for the industry, and featuring interviews with DOZENS of important creators over the course of it.

My wife asked why i was reading a college textbook as a flipped through it, because it is formatted in such a fashion. but don't let that scare you off. it is definitely a fun read and chock full of awesome tidbits and interesting stories.

http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-History-Video-Games-Pokemon--/dp/0761536434/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1450076927&sr=8-2&keywords=history+of+video+games

This really is a great book. Pretty light on the Japanese gaming scene, but for what it is it's great.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've read several of the books mentioned in this post, and I think most of them are indeed really good (I'm a big fan of Hardcore Gaming 101). I've been reading a lot of Jeremy Parish's stuff recently, and his new book, Good Nintentions, is amazing. I'm only about 50 pages in, but I highly recommend checking it out.

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Nintentions-Unofficial-Entertainment-GameSpite/dp/1512109746

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I remember buying the Castlevania II and Metal Gear Worlds of Power books through a book club at my school. I used to always look forward to getting those Troll Book Club / Scholastic Book Club leaflet order forms as a kid.
You're right, by the way - I remember thinking those books were awful as a child, so I KNOW they would be painful to read as an adult.

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I remember buying the Castlevania II and Metal Gear Worlds of Power books through a book club at my school. I used to always look forward to getting those Troll Book Club / Scholastic Book Club leaflet order forms as a kid.

You're right, by the way - I remember thinking those books were awful as a child, so I KNOW they would be painful to read as an adult.

Part of the reason they were so awful was that Nintendo went to great lengths to make sure nothing even remotely controversial happened in them, which is why Solid Snake doesn't kill one single person over the course of the entire "Metal Gear" book, and the gun he is holding on the game's cover was removed on the book's. Same with Ryu's swords on the cover of Ninja Gaiden.

What I don't get though is how the author got this little gem from the Castlevania II book through the censors:

"If he defeats me and gains the use of my body and remains in this dimension, he will take great pleasure in flaying every inch of your skin off."

Tim blinked.

"And after he pours salt on your raw nerves, he will dip you into a vat of acid!"

Tim gulped.

"And then, Timothy Bradley, he will start torturing you!"

But no, no guns or swords or anything like that... ;)

*huggles*

Areala

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Oh wow. I actually never noticed that about the cover art before. Solid Snake looks especially ridiculous with his two-handed grip on nothing at all. I guess my mind just filled in the blanks to create the images I was already familiar with. Now that I look at it, they removed the guns from the Bionic Commando and Mega Man 2 covers, as well.

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I'm surprised that there's no love for "Game Over" (unless I missed it). David Sheff's expose of Nintendo is a deep, rich, informative look into both the commitment to quality and the monopolistic tactics that Nintendo exerted in the 80s and 90s.

Masters of Doom was also really good. As a fan of the Ultima series, "The Official Book of Ultima" was a great (and similar) read. It's as much a celebration of the series as it is a book-length interview with Richard Garriott about creating it, describing all kinds of interesting beats of game creation as well as some of the philosophical battles that took place in the process (the story of how people reacted to one of his game's perceived "killable children" was particularly fascinating). Porn and Pong was another good one, looking specifically at the sexual history of video games, though it's an extremely short book.

For my money the absolute hands-down best book about the American gaming industry is, as mentioned several times previous, "The Ultimate History of Video Games". It's exhaustive, informative, entertaining, thick (something like 600 pages), and loaded with conversations from all manner of leaders in the gaming industry, past and present. I consider it essential reading, the authoritative bible of video game books until something manages to be even bigger and more in-depth.

If you're looking for something terrible to read just to pass the time, those old F.X. Nine "Worlds of Power" books based on NES games are absolutely awful. Just throwing that out there. :)

*huggles*
Areala

I remember buying the Castlevania II and Metal Gear Worlds of Power books through a book club at my school. I used to always look forward to getting those Troll Book Club / Scholastic Book Club leaflet order forms as a kid.
You're right, by the way - I remember thinking those books were awful as a child, so I KNOW they would be painful to read as an adult.

Lol I loved those books as a twelve year-old, even if I knew that they were kind of dumb (it would take my reaching adulthood to fully comprehend that they were REALLY dumb). Still, I get a kick out of them today. I loved Castlevania II the most - while Ninja Gaiden actually hewed pretty close to the source material, Castlevania II was the story of a goofy nerd who did nothing but play video games and eat chocolate who gets sucked into the world of Castlevania, Captain N style. There's a monster named Freddie (there's an actual conversation about how he's a good monster because it's not Freddy with a "y") and the goofy nerd defeats Dracula with bad puns. Seriously, this is the best novella put to paper in all mankind.

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Part of the reason they were so awful was that Nintendo went to great lengths to make sure nothing even remotely controversial happened in them, which is why Solid Snake doesn't kill one single person over the course of the entire "Metal Gear" book, and the gun he is holding on the game's cover was removed on the book's. Same with Ryu's swords on the cover of Ninja Gaiden.

This had the awesome side effect of changing Ryu's dangerous stance on the cover of Ninja Gaiden into Ryu offering up a bro fist.

tumblr_mui8cu4NLM1qls85ao9_500.png

"Don't leave me hangin', reader-san!"

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i have the Mega Man 2 'Worlds of Power' book and i can honestly say i never noticed that he didn't have a gun on the cover.

i mean, Mega Man's not supposed to carry a gun anyway, but i never gave it a second thought.

i'm totally going to read that book sometime this week just to see how bad it REALLY is. haven't read it since i was a kid.

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The last game related book I read was "Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America". It was pretty good. My favourite so far was Console Wars, and I loved how it was written. You were reading a story and not just a fact based book. Service Games was also great, as was the "Sega Mega Drive Collected Works" book.

On my list to read are some of the Boss Fight Books, but the paperbacks from their site are pricey, and Amazon only offers the kindle versions, which I'm not interested in, as well as both volumes of "The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers" and some of the "Hardcore Gaming 101 Presents" books.

I really like reading about games more than playing them.

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I really like reading about games more than playing them.

I think I have a similar problem. Also, I like acquiring and hoarding games more than playing them. I've got literally hundreds of games that I've never played even once. I always INTEND to get around to playing them someday, but there never seems to be enough time.

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i have the Mega Man 2 'Worlds of Power' book and i can honestly say i never noticed that he didn't have a gun on the cover.

i mean, Mega Man's not supposed to carry a gun anyway, but i never gave it a second thought.

i'm totally going to read that book sometime this week just to see how bad it REALLY is. haven't read it since i was a kid.

The Angry Video Game Nerd uploaded a couple of videos where he reads that one aloud. I never watched them but I should, that sounds like an amusing time. I picked up the Mega Man 2 book a couple of years ago as sort of a collector's thing but never read it; my understanding is that it's for even MORE of a young audience than the other books in the series.

Most of you probably already know this but for those that don't, the author of those books used "F.X. Nine" as a pseudonym, chosen because he knew that kids searching for books about Nintendo would be looking for the "NIN" along the spine. Hell, it worked for me.

Here's a great article about the creation of these things. http://www.1up.com/features/8-bit-lit

I think I have a similar problem. Also, I like acquiring and hoarding games more than playing them. I've got literally hundreds of games that I've never played even once. I always INTEND to get around to playing them someday, but there never seems to be enough time.

Strangely enough, I find that I collect too many books about video games and never get around to reading them all. I think it's out of habit: I personally see such books so infrequently that when I do, the instinct kicks in to grab each one right away. Then it winds up sitting there on my shelf for a year.

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  • 1 month later...

i am a bit behind but ultimate video game history is a classic must have as is masters of doom. service games seemed a bit dry for me even as a die hard fan i've not bought a copy or finished but might eventually i still need to get console wars

Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America was a fun one to for nintendo fans
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I recommend Dungeons and Desktops: The History of Computer Role-Playing Games. The author has a series on YouTube, where he tracks down the people who actually made roleplaying games from the early days. If you ever wondered about the sort of multiplayer mainframe games that predated Ultima Online and Everquest by 20 years, this is the book for you. Each game gets anywhere from half a page to several, and you always get a good feel for how the game played.

http://www.amazon.com/Dungeons-Desktops-History-Computer-Role-Playing/dp/1568814119

Just don't buy the Kindle version! It's ridiculously expensive (almost $40!) even compared to the hardcover book.

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Is there any good books on Jack Tramiel? I'm interested in his business practices at both Commodore and Atari.

Yes! I can recommend two for your enjoyment.

First, "The Home Computer Wars: An Insider's Account of Commodore and Jack Tramiel" © 1984 by Michael Tomczyk:

http://www.amazon.com/Home-Computer-Wars-Insiders-Commodore/dp/0942386752/

Second, "On the Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore" © 2005 by Brian Bagnall:

http://www.amazon.com/Edge-Spectacular-Rise-Fall-Commodore/dp/0973864907/

*huggles*

Areala

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