Game Fanatics and Budding Developers - Here are the Best Books about Gaming

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Oliver Twins

Image: The Oliver Twins via Facebook

Racking up hours of game time is one way to learn about games and become a master of playing them, another is to read. There are hundreds of books out there that detail the history of popular games such as bingo, or discuss how famous games like Doom were conceived. For gamers who want to extend their gaming knowledge beyond actually playing, here we have compiled a list of some of the best books about gaming on the market today.





Prince of Persia/Karateka Diaries by Jordan Mechner

Jordan Mechner is famous for creating Karateka and Prince of Persia, two of the most iconic games of all time. While formulating his ideas and creating the games, the American has always kept a journal from his early days in college. He created those seminal games on an Apple II computer. The developer himself said that while rereading the journals years later it occurred to him that they included a lot of information that could be useful to others wanting to get into the video game industry. In the diaries, Mechner discusses the steps and missteps which led to some of the most successful games of all time, making it essential reading for any budding developer out there.

Bingo and Social Club by Michael Hess

Bingo is one of the oldest and best-loved pastimes in the world, and although it is primarily a lottery game with cash prizes, it is also renowned for being a social event. Photographer Michael Hess delves into the social phenomenon of bingo and ventures into some of the most captivating bingo halls across the UK. Hess finds quirky places with lots of character and a hint of nostalgia. He documents how these classic buildings have led to the game being transplanted to an online setting, to the extent that there are now hundreds of different sites on the web offering online bingo. The online sites try to offer something different, with a much wider variety of games than the brick and mortar locations. But they also seek to replicate their physical predecessors by offering chat features and ways to socialise with other players. The ever-evolving game is certainly something worth reading up on.

The Story of the Oliver Twins by Chris Wilkins and Roger M. Kean

The Story of the Oliver Twins documents the history in gaming of Philip and Andrew Oliver from their early days of learning to program in their bedrooms at home, before getting jobs at Codemasters, and then finally starting their own company Blitz Games. It also talks about some of their best games and includes accounts from friends and associates who worked with the famous developers along the way. Some of the most famous games from Blitz Games include SkySaga: Infinite Isles, Puss in Boots, and SpongeBob’s Surf and Skate Roadtrip. To anyone interested in the evolution of gaming this is an interesting read, and it’s also worth a look for people who are thinking about going into a career in software and game development.

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture by David Kushner

Masters of Doom is a similar read to the book about the Oliver Twins, and is nigh on essential reading to those who fancy themselves in the development game. The creators of Doom, John Carmack and John Romero, are often referred to as the Lennon and McCartney of the video game industry. This book details the way the two developers created an empire, ruled a multi-billion dollar industry, and provoked a national controversy. The two games masters also went on to create Quake, and the games were unparalleled success stories. They did, however, end up causing a rift between the siblings which later tore them apart. The author, Kushner, is well known for covering the games industry, and has been writing about it for over ten years. Even people who have no interest in video games will find this intriguing true story hard to put down.

Along with these classics, there are plenty of other great books that offer an interesting take on the gaming world. The Legend of Zelda and Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation are both well worth checking out.