10 books like Game Over

By David Sheff,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Game Over. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Ultimate History of Video Games

By Steven L. Kent,

Book cover of The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon and Beyond . . . the Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World

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.

The Ultimate History of Video Games

By Steven L. Kent,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ultimate History of Video Games 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…


Fun, Taste, & Games

By David Thomas, John Sharp,

Book cover of Fun, Taste, & Games: An Aesthetics of the Idle, Unproductive, and Otherwise Playful

This under-appreciated book by two professors revolves around theories of play, why we play games, how we play them, and what it all means to the world. As they look at everything from Meow Wolf's exhibitions to Monopoly to Myst to Portal, they see that as beauty was to art, fun is to play and games. The work begins as they quote Gombrich, who says "The idea of fun is even more unpopular among us than the notion of beauty." Each of these chapters, as they roll together as one, magically juggle the varied theories of games as art and games as purely play.

Fun, Taste, & Games

By David Thomas, John Sharp,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Reclaiming fun as a meaningful concept for understanding games and play.

“Fun” is somewhat ambiguous. If something is fun, is it pleasant? Entertaining? Silly? A way to trick students into learning? Fun also has baggage—it seems inconsequential, embarrassing, child's play. In Fun, Taste, & Games, John Sharp and David Thomas reclaim fun as a productive and meaningful tool for understanding and appreciating play and games. They position fun at the heart of the aesthetics of games. As beauty was to art, they argue, fun is to play and games—the aesthetic goal that we measure our experiences and interpretations against.

Sharp…


The Game Believes in You

By Greg Toppo,

Book cover of The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter

Of the small subgenre books that deal with the way games aid education, Toppo's shows how games can make a difference in the way students learn by looking at first at a Washington, D.C. school's success with improving math scores through game playing. From there, he visits professors and visionaries, all of whom have helped kids learn through games. One thing becomes clear: if there were a games class in every school, especially in underserved communities, student grades would go up.

The Game Believes in You

By Greg Toppo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Game Believes in You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if schools, from the wealthiest suburban nursery school to the grittiest urban high school, thrummed with the sounds of deep immersion? More and more people believe that can happen - with the aid of video games. From Greg Toppo, USA Today's national K-12 education and demographics reporter, The Game Believes in You presents the story of a small group of visionaries who, for the past 40 years, have been pushing to get game controllers into the hands of learners. Among the game revolutionaries you'll meet in this book:

*A game designer at the University of Southern California leading a…


Playstation Anthology

By Mathieu Manent,

Book cover of Playstation Anthology

No one's written the perfect history of the PlayStation. But this illustration-rife, Kickstarted book for fans details the secrets of Sony's history with consoles, including rare photos of collectibles and decent interviews of 26 of the key developers, like PaRappa The Rapper co-creator Rodney Alan Greenblatt and Crash Bandicoot co-creator Jason Rubin. Yes, they could have included interviews with key U.S execs like Andrew House and Mark Cerny. Still, it works. Dimension-wise, the book's not large enough to be a coffee table book. But that's what it feels like, and an indispensable one at that.

Playstation Anthology

By Mathieu Manent,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To celebrate a console that brought wonder into the lives of so many, and a brand that reshaped the whole entertainment industry, the authors retrace Sony's incredible journey, from the company's creation following World War II, to the machine's retirement in the early 2000's. Throughout the 26 interviews, important figures of the period recount their experiences with unabashed honesty, painting a detailed picture of the great venture led by Ken Kutaragi. Much like the Nintendo 64 Anthology, the PlayStation Anthology is unique in both form and content. To fully appreciate the scale of the PlayStation phenomenon, you first have to…


The Official Nintendo Player's Guide NES 1987

By Nintendo,

Book cover of The Official Nintendo Player's Guide NES 1987

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.

The Official Nintendo Player's Guide NES 1987

By Nintendo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Official Nintendo Player's Guide NES 1987 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Sunday Times top 10 bestseller

With a foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales.

'A stunningly moving book about the power of hope and love to overcome the very worst of mankind' - Piers Morgan

When Holocaust survivor Lily Ebert was liberated in 1945, a Jewish-American soldier gave her a banknote on which he'd written 'Good luck and happiness'. And when her great-grandson, Dov, decided to use social media to track down the family of the GI, 96-year-old Lily found herself making headlines round the world. Lily had promised herself that if she survived Auschwitz she would tell everyone…


Treasure Hunt

By Stephanie Wildman, Estefanía Razo (illustrator),

Book cover of Treasure Hunt

Often, the magic of three is not so obvious. In the newly-published picture book, Treasure Hunt by Stephanie Wildman, three children play a new game. Older brother Luis turns his two younger siblings away from video games by creating a scavenger hunt in which they must use riddles as clues to gather ordinary household objects. And yes, they get three clues and so three chances to gather all the objects, which then become the materials to create a puppet show using a discarded cardboard box the new stove came in as the stage. The use of three here, as in all stories, produces a feeling of a satisfying completion. This is a mystery story for children 3-8 with a surprise ending and guidance for kids on how to make simple puppets.

Treasure Hunt

By Stephanie Wildman, Estefanía Razo (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this light-hearted story, twins Flor and Roberto scamper through their house, hunting for treasure hidden by big brother, Luis. Can these everyday objects really be treasures that offer more fun than video games or TV? Join Flor and Roberto on their search and discover why Luis saved a gigantic cardboard box. Bonus content provides direction for creating your own at-home fun!


Game Over, Pete Watson

By Joe Schreiber, Andy Rash (illustrator),

Book cover of Game Over, Pete Watson

This zany story about a gamer is packed full of laughs. Pete is looking forward to the release of a new game, but when he sells his dad’s old gaming console to afford the new game, things go really wrong, really fast. Let’s just say that was no gaming console he sold and now his dad is trapped in a video game. Pete has to save his dad, (and the world) by entering the game and winning! 

While I usually don’t like the whole getting-sucked-into-the-game trope, it totally works for this silly style of humor. Illustrations along the way don’t just break up the text, they add to the laughs.

Game Over, Pete Watson

By Joe Schreiber, Andy Rash (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Game Over, Pete Watson as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stormbreaker meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid in this hysterically funny, fast-paced novel that follows video game obsessed Pete Watson as he discovers the only thing scarier than espionage is the girl of his dreams. Mega-gamer Pete Watson needs just twenty dollars more to buy the all-new Brawl-A-Thon 3000 XL. So he sells a beat-up CommandRoid 85 arcade game containing top-secret government intel! owned by his boring old dad super-spy trapped inside the CommandRoid!, to an exterminator evil mastermind bent on global destruction!!! Pete's gaming skills are put to the test as he fights evil villains, giant mechanical bugs, and…


Rockstar Games and American History

By Esther Wright,

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

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. 

Rockstar Games and American History

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…


Atari Age

By Michael Z. Newman,

Book cover of Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America

Atari Age is a wonderful title with possibly the best book cover ever (for any retro games aficionado anyhow!). Newman researches with skill the advent of video games in the United States, looking at how people became gamers, and exploring life in the arcades, and playing Atari VCSs for the first time at home. It’s a seriously good history book.  

Atari Age

By Michael Z. Newman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The cultural contradictions of early video games: a medium for family fun (but mainly for middle-class boys), an improvement over pinball and television (but possibly harmful).

Beginning with the release of the Magnavox Odyssey and Pong in 1972, video games, whether played in arcades and taverns or in family rec rooms, became part of popular culture, like television. In fact, video games were sometimes seen as an improvement on television because they spurred participation rather than passivity. These “space-age pinball machines” gave coin-operated games a high-tech and more respectable profile. In Atari Age, Michael Newman charts the emergence of video…


Persuasive Games

By Ian Bogost,

Book cover of Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames

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.

Persuasive Games

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…


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