The Best Books For Understanding The Video Game Industry

The Books I Picked & Why

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made

By Jason Schreier

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made

Why this book?

Longtime games journalist, Jason Schreier, takes readers within the bowels of gaming’s most celebrated studios to reveal the fascinating, yet often cringe-inducing conditions in which modern games are made. Well-researched and fascinating to read, with individual chapters devoted to many of gaming’s most recent bestsellers.


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Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter

By Tom Bissell

Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter

Why this book?

This smart and at-times hilarious book takes serious, analytical, video game criticism and runs it through the meatgrinder of the gaming- and drug-addicted mind of an adult player. It is a memoir, a love story, and a guide to understanding why, as the title suggests, video games absolutely matter.


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Kansai Cool: A Journey Into the Cultural Heartland of Japan

By Christal Whelan

Kansai Cool: A Journey Into the Cultural Heartland of Japan

Why this book?

It is impossible to talk about gaming without mentioning the influence Japanese culture has had on the pastime. Specifically, Nintendo. This collection of essays and photos offers an anthropologist’s view to the Kansai region of Western Japan, and helps gamers (and travelers) understand the complex culture in which Nintendo is based.


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Arcade Perfect: How Pac-Man, Mortal Kombat, and Other Coin-Op Classics Invaded the Living Room

By Milan Jaram, David L. Craddock

Arcade Perfect: How Pac-Man, Mortal Kombat, and Other Coin-Op Classics Invaded the Living Room

Why this book?

The efforts made in the 1980s and 1990s to replicate the arcade experience at home were nothing short of Herculean. This book details, with astounding technical detail and surprising interviews, the monumental challenges that were overcome to port the top coin-op hits onto the very consoles that would render arcades obsolete.


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The Official Nintendo Player's Guide NES 1987

By Nintendo

The Official Nintendo Player's Guide NES 1987

Why this book?

Arguably, the very first strategy guide for the North American market. This compendium covered 90 titles for the N.E.S., including maps and mini-guides for 30 of the most popular games. As a twelve-year-old boy, this book was one of my prized possessions … and continues to be a source of fond memories and inspiration.


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