If you are a fan of gaming in all its forms, there are actually a surprising number of engrossing and informative books that delve into a range of niches and aspects of this pastime.
So if you’ve got a desire to put down the controller and pick up a paper publication, get stuck into the e-book equivalent, or even investigate the fast-growing audiobook market, you won’t go wrong if you choose one of the following tomes.
Casino Royale – Ian Fleming
Undoubtedly one of the best gambling books of all time in terms of the way it catches and conveys the glitz and glamour of the land-based casino scene, as well as being a rip-roaring tale involving international super-spy James Bond, anyone with even a passing interest in gaming should snap up Casino Royale.
There is a certain old-school charm to the way that Bond is characterized, and of course it is appealing to find out what life was like inside high class gambling houses in the middle of the 20th century, long before the era of digital slot machines. And for anyone who gets daunted by longer reads, Casino Royale is mercifully compact in terms of page count, which is another point in its favour.
Blood, Sweat and Pixels – Jason Schreier
When you fire up a game, whether that be a modern blockbuster like the latest Call of Duty or a low budget indie labour of love, you might not appreciate just how much time and effort has been poured into its creation. This book aims to give readers a much better idea about the uphill struggle that most development teams face when working on their latest projects, and it really is eye-opening for the average gamer.
Part of the motivation behind doing this is to show that critics of the so-called ‘crunch’ that developers often initiate to get games finished to a deadline are right to raise concerns about the toll this takes on their employees. And raising awareness about this issue is definitely a good thing if you want working practices in the industry to change for the better.
Masters of Doom – David Kushner
Anyone who played video games in the 1990s would have inevitably stumbled across and fallen in love with Doom, Id Software’s seminal first person shooter that inspired an arm of clones and helped gaming become a mainstream pastime.
Masters of Doom turns back the clock and explains how a handful of dedicated development mavericks achieved such incredible things at a time when gaming was very much seen as a pastime for kids, as well as exploring the legacy of what they built.
Console Wars – Blake J Harris
Another nostalgia trip to the 1990s, Console Wars is a surprisingly pulse-racing read, giving a page-turning overview of the major rivalry between Japanese gaming giants Sega and Nintendo that dominated the decade.
While we obviously know today how that battle turned out in the end, with Nintendo still selling millions of consoles while Sega has been out of the hardware market for more than 20 years. Even so, it is still a joy to revisit the era when Genesis and the SNES reigned supreme.
Mass Effect: Revelation – Drew Karpyshyn
The Mass Effect franchise is known for its richly detailed characters, galaxy-spanning conflicts and deep lore, so it should be no surprise that the novelizations of the world that Bioware built are just as carefully put together and rewarding to immerse yourself in.
There are actually a number of novels in the Mass Effect canon today, but as a starting point it is probably best to opt for Revelation, which is full of intrigue, action and entertaining repartee between its humanoid and alien personalities.
The Player of Games – Iain M Banks
Whatever type of gaming you are into, few books have been able to capture the complexities of being engrossed in and fascinated by competitive experiences as well as The Player of Games from acclaimed sci-fi stalwart Iain M Banks.
Originally published back in 1988, it remains relevant to this day because of the incredible breadth of Bank’s imagination, and tribute to it has even been paid by billionaire Elon Musk in the naming of drone ships developed by his company SpaceX.
The plot of the book features a master games player who is drafted in to attempt to win an incredibly intricate and obscure game called Azad, the outcome of which determines how players are ranked in the society that invented it.
There are of course a multitude of other good reads for gamers out there, so follow your instincts and choose titles that match your preferences.