74 books like Atari Age

By Michael Z. Newman,

Here are 74 books that Atari Age fans have personally recommended if you like Atari Age. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age 1971-1984

John Wills Author Of Gamer Nation: Video Games and American Culture

From my list on video games and popular culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a university academic who writes and teaches on American popular culture. I’ve played video games all my life—I remember first playing Breakout and Boot Hill at the local arcade back in the late 1970s as a young child, and yes, I had an Atari VCS. Today, I write, teach, and exhibit work on the history of video games, especially how games depict and connect with the USA. I still play video games, probably too much, and my favorite console is the Sega Dreamcast.

John's book list on video games and popular culture

John Wills Why did John love this book?

I love this book. It’s an exquisite and beautiful coffee table title by Van Burnham, but that description really doesn’t do it justice. You can dip in and out of some wonderful features that chart the history of video games written by academics and other experts in the field. It is totally accessible and fun and the artwork is fantastic. Rejoice in old pixel video games you remember or have never heard of. The second volume is due out imminently and is totally brilliant. Buy both and enjoy!

By Van Burnham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Supercade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A gloriously illustrated history of the videogame and its legacy for both our mindscapes and video technology.

It was a time when technology was king, status was determined by your high score, and videogames were blitzing the world... From Pong to Pac-Man, Asteroids to Zaxxon—more than fifty million people around the world have come of age within the electronic flux of videogames, their subconscious forever etched with images projected from arcade and home videogame systems.

From the first interactive blips of electronic light at Brookhaven National Labs and the creation of Spacewar! at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; to the…


Book cover of Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames

John Wills Author Of Gamer Nation: Video Games and American Culture

From my list on video games and popular culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a university academic who writes and teaches on American popular culture. I’ve played video games all my life—I remember first playing Breakout and Boot Hill at the local arcade back in the late 1970s as a young child, and yes, I had an Atari VCS. Today, I write, teach, and exhibit work on the history of video games, especially how games depict and connect with the USA. I still play video games, probably too much, and my favorite console is the Sega Dreamcast.

John's book list on video games and popular culture

John Wills Why did John love this book?

Persuasive Games is about how games persuade you, of ideas, what to buy, how to vote, how to live and more. It is a brilliantly inventive title from an established Game Studies scholar with a knack for original thought. Bogost brings in all kinds of little-known games to highlight his themes, and for me, it is just one of those books that you come back to for ideas and inspiration.

By Ian Bogost,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Persuasive Games as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An exploration of the way videogames mount arguments and make expressive statements about the world that analyzes their unique persuasive power in terms of their computational properties.

Videogames are an expressive medium, and a persuasive medium; they represent how real and imagined systems work, and they invite players to interact with those systems and form judgments about them. In this innovative analysis, Ian Bogost examines the way videogames mount arguments and influence players. Drawing on the 2,500-year history of rhetoric, the study of persuasive expression, Bogost analyzes rhetoric's unique function in software in general and videogames in particular. The field…


Book cover of Rockstar Games and American History: Promotional Materials and the Construction of Authenticity

John Wills Author Of Gamer Nation: Video Games and American Culture

From my list on video games and popular culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a university academic who writes and teaches on American popular culture. I’ve played video games all my life—I remember first playing Breakout and Boot Hill at the local arcade back in the late 1970s as a young child, and yes, I had an Atari VCS. Today, I write, teach, and exhibit work on the history of video games, especially how games depict and connect with the USA. I still play video games, probably too much, and my favorite console is the Sega Dreamcast.

John's book list on video games and popular culture

John Wills Why did John love this book?

This book is just out and reflects the latest scholarship in historical game studies by a new leading academic. Wright’s book tackles one of the biggest players in the video game industry, Rockstar Games, and seeks to understand how Rockstar plays with American history, culture, and our notions of authenticity. Essential reading. 

By Esther Wright,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rockstar Games and American History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For two decades, Rockstar Games have been making games that interrogate and represent the idea of America, past and present. Commercially successful, fan-beloved, and a frequent source of media attention, Rockstar's franchises are positioned as not only game-changing, ground-breaking interventions in the games industry, but also as critical, cultural histories on America and its excesses.



But what does Rockstar's version of American history look like, and how is it communicated through critically acclaimed titles like Red Dead Redemption (2010) and L.A. Noire (2011)? By combining analysis of Rockstar's games and a range of official communications and promotional materials, this book…


Book cover of Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture

John Wills Author Of Gamer Nation: Video Games and American Culture

From my list on video games and popular culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a university academic who writes and teaches on American popular culture. I’ve played video games all my life—I remember first playing Breakout and Boot Hill at the local arcade back in the late 1970s as a young child, and yes, I had an Atari VCS. Today, I write, teach, and exhibit work on the history of video games, especially how games depict and connect with the USA. I still play video games, probably too much, and my favorite console is the Sega Dreamcast.

John's book list on video games and popular culture

John Wills Why did John love this book?

Originally written in 1938 in Dutch (Huizinga was a Dutch cultural theorist), Homo Ludens contemplates the meaning and function of play in society. It’s a seminal text, widely cited by anyone who researches games (including video games), and really gets you thinking about what we mean by ‘play’. It also predates the commercial video game industry by some 30-40 years but still speaks to the mechanics and appeal of gaming.

By Johan Huizinga,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Homo Ludens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1998. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.


Book cover of The Ultimate History of Video Games, Vol. 1

Harold Goldberg Author Of All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture

From my list on video game narrative histories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author/journalist Harold Goldberg has written about video games since the 1990s. He is the author of All Your Base Are Belong to Us (How 50 Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture) and The League of Legends Experience. He is the founder of the non-profit New York Videogame Critics Circle and The New York Game Awards, both of which raise funds for essential classes and scholarships in New York City's underserved communities. As editor in chief of Sony Online Entertainment, he worked on Star Wars Galaxies and EverQuest. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Wired, and elsewhere. Goldberg also co-wrote My Life Among The Serial Killers with Dr. Helen Morrison. 

Harold's book list on video game narrative histories

Harold Goldberg Why did Harold love this book?

Steve's sprawlingly wonderful book is not only an essential (and the first) oral history of video games' early years. The author takes you inside the minds of the (mainly) white men who pioneered a form of entertainment media that's now bigger than all forms of popular art combined. Just as it makes you think of the brilliance of these slick hucksters and brainy engineers who created a new form of culture, it makes you think that games would have benefitted greatly from more diversity back then - and now.

By Steven L. Kent,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ultimate History of Video Games, Vol. 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The definitive behind-the-scenes history of the dawn of video games and their rise into a multibillion-dollar business
 
“For industry insiders and game players alike, this book is a must-have.”—Mark Turmell, designer for Midway Games and creator of NBA Jam, NFL Blitz, and WrestleMania
 
With all the whiz, bang, pop, and shimmer of a glowing arcade, volume 1 of The Ultimate History of Video Games reveals everything you ever wanted to know and more about the unforgettable games that changed the world, the visionaries who made them, and the fanatics who played them. Starting in arcades then moving to televisions and…


Book cover of Space Invaders

Steven Arntson Author Of The Wikkeling

From my list on short contemporary novels in translation.

Why am I passionate about this?

My writing career has been in middle grade and YA, but as a reader I’m always trying to branch out. When I was a kid, literature opened the door to the whole world, and as an adult, I’m still exploring. When I read work in translation I can feel the literary connection to other writers and thinkers and simultaneously appreciate the differences that arise through geographic and cultural heritage. I hope my selections here might help readers like myself who enjoy reaching out to new voices and places.

Steven's book list on short contemporary novels in translation

Steven Arntson Why did Steven love this book?

Translated from Spanish and a mere 70 pages in length, you may be hungry for more (as I was) when you've finished this bracingly brief story. Fortunately, you can pick up this author's The Twilight Zone (as I did) to read a longer exploration by this author of the events and themes introduced here. Fernández writes from the perspective of a young person living during the Pinochet regime in Chile, evoking the time with an extended metaphor about the ‘80s video game Space Invaders. The concerns of the young are strangely pushed and pulled by the terrible realities of that regime, which, like an invader from another world, descends upon their lives.

By Nona Fernández, Natasha Wimmer (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Space Invaders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Longlisted for the National Book Award for Translated Literature

A dreamlike evocation of a generation that grew up in the shadow of a dictatorship in 1980s Chile

Space Invaders is the story of a group of childhood friends who, in adulthood, are preoccupied by uneasy memories and visions of their classmate Estrella González Jepsen. In their dreams, they catch glimpses of Estrella’s braids, hear echoes of her voice, and read old letters that eventually, mysteriously, stopped arriving. They recall regimented school assemblies, nationalistic class performances, and a trip to the beach. Soon it becomes clear that Estrella’s father was a…


Book cover of How to Do Things with Videogames

Caleb J. Ross Author Of Suddenly I was a Shark! My Time with What Remains of Edith Finch

From my list on to defend your video game obsession to non-gamers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong video game obsessive. I think about video game worlds and my relationship with them in the ways most people think about family vacations to the beach or a trip with friends to Las Vegas. Every game I play is an opportunity to experience a new world, and a new culture, and to change myself along the way. Video games are a younger industry than either the music industry or the movie industry, but it’s more than 2.5x bigger than those two industries combined! There are reasons humans are so enamored by video games. The books on my list explore those reasons.

Caleb's book list on to defend your video game obsession to non-gamers

Caleb J. Ross Why did Caleb love this book?

Despite the implications of the title, this book is not a how-to book about repurposing Nintendo game cartridges as drink coasters. It’s even better than that (and this is coming from someone who actually does use old, non-functioning game cartridges as drink coasters). 

How to Do Things with Videogames is a plea to non-gaming industries to embrace video games as tools to advance their own products and services. While video game mechanics and visuals have certainly matured since their introduction in the 1970s—and that is all quite interesting—Ian Bogost’s book isn’t interested in how humans have advanced video games but instead in how video games could advance humans.

I’ll give a specific example that has stuck with me since my first read of this book. Humans are great with spatial awareness. Video games have an amazing ability to leverage this capability for fun. But why not leverage this capability to…

By Ian Bogost,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Do Things with Videogames as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In recent years, computer games have moved from the margins of popular culture to its center. Reviews of new games and profiles of game designers now regularly appear in the New York Times and the New Yorker, and sales figures for games are reported alongside those of books, music, and movies. They are increasingly used for purposes other than entertainment, yet debates about videogames still fork along one of two paths: accusations of debasement through violence and isolation or defensive paeans to their potential as serious cultural works. In How to Do Things with Videogames, Ian Bogost contends that such…


Book cover of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Abraham Chang Author Of 888 Love and the Divine Burden of Numbers

From my list on incorporating pop culture in unexpected ways.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a publishing professional for over 20 years, I’ve worked in a variety of jobs and positions with some of the biggest pop culture creators and brands. Just before the pandemic, I finally took time to invest in myself as a writer and set out to combine my lifelong passions for film, TV, music, video games, and books–with my skills as an award-winning poet–to write my debut novel, from my “certain point of view” as a first-generation Asian American. The books on my list here are from some of the authors that I admire–who are also “one of us”: the bookworms, the pop culture geeks, the hopeless romantics. 

Abraham's book list on incorporating pop culture in unexpected ways

Abraham Chang Why did Abraham love this book?

I came to this book late. My wife is the real reader in the family, but she’s also a sports fan and a quiet indie rock fan. Suffice it to say, our tastes vary widely and wildly–with me being the more gothmetalcomicbooknerd of the pair. But she told me that this might be a book for me, and it reminded her of my writing.

I was hooked within the first ten pages. You had me at that first Oregon Trail reference! And video games and Shakespeare and Dickinson? The serotonin triggers were firing in rapid succession. There is enough praise and recommendations out in the world for Zevin’s book–I’m just raising my hand and waving to a kindred spirit that I imagine I might see across the way at Hall H one day. 

By Gabrielle Zevin,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* AMAZON'S #1 BOOK OF 2022 *

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow takes us on a dazzling imaginative quest, examining identity, creativity and our need to connect.

This is not a romance, but it is about love.

'I just love this book and I hope you love it too' JOHN GREEN, TikTok

Sam and Sadie meet in a hospital in 1987. Sadie is visiting her sister, Sam is recovering from a car crash. The days and months are long there, but playing together brings joy, escape, fierce competition -- and a special friendship. Then all too soon that time is…


Book cover of Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld

Caleb J. Ross Author Of Suddenly I was a Shark! My Time with What Remains of Edith Finch

From my list on to defend your video game obsession to non-gamers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong video game obsessive. I think about video game worlds and my relationship with them in the ways most people think about family vacations to the beach or a trip with friends to Las Vegas. Every game I play is an opportunity to experience a new world, and a new culture, and to change myself along the way. Video games are a younger industry than either the music industry or the movie industry, but it’s more than 2.5x bigger than those two industries combined! There are reasons humans are so enamored by video games. The books on my list explore those reasons.

Caleb's book list on to defend your video game obsession to non-gamers

Caleb J. Ross Why did Caleb love this book?

David Sudnow’s Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld is perhaps the earliest account of a person’s obsession with a video game.

Sudnow’s diary-like approach to his relationship with the 1976 arcade game Breakout is captivating. It reads like improv jazz (which isn’t surprising considering Sudnow himself was an accomplished jazz pianist).

For example, here’s Sudnow describing the moments before starting the final phase of his longest game so far: “I feel the attempted seduction of the long lobbing interim, a calm before the storm, the action so laid back that I’m consciously elaborating a rhythm to be ready, set, go for a slam.”

Sudnow shows us that what might seem like simple bleeps and bloops to most people can instead be a life-affirming awakening to others. And how can something so powerful not warrant respect?

Tell your non-gaming friends: video games are poetry!

By David Sudnow,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Breakout as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Just as the video game console market was about to crash into the New Mexico desert in 1983, musician and sociologist David Sudnow was unearthing the secrets of “eye, mind, and the essence of video skill” through an exploration of Atari's Breakout, one of the earliest hits of the arcade world.

Originally released under the title Pilgrim in the Microworld, Sudnow's groundbreaking longform criticism of a single game predates the rise of serious game studies by decades. While its earliest critics often scorned the idea of a serious book about an object of play, the book's modern readers remain fascinated…


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

Doug Walsh Author Of The Walkthrough: Insider Tales from a Life in Strategy Guides

From my list on the video game industry.

Why am I passionate about this?

Doug Walsh is the author of over one hundred officially licensed video game strategy guides for BradyGames and Prima Games. From Diablo to Zelda, his work covered nearly every major gaming franchise for two decades.

Doug's book list on the video game industry

Doug Walsh Why did Doug love 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.

By Jason Schreier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blood, Sweat, and Pixels as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You've got your dream job--making video games. You have a great project, great designs, and clever controls. One morning, you get a call from your producer. Turns out that wall-jumping trick won't work because the artists don't have time to design a separate animation just for the plumber to move that way. Also, your lead designer keeps micromanaging the programmers, which is driving them crazy. Your E3 demo is due in two weeks, and you know there's no way you can get it done in less than four. You'll have to cut out some of the game's biggest features just…


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