68 books like Getting Gamers

By Jamie Madigan,

Here are 68 books that Getting Gamers fans have personally recommended if you like Getting Gamers. 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 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 Gamelife: A Memoir

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?

Where David Sudnow’s Breakout: Pilgrim in the Microworld focused on the flamboyant poetry of gaming, Michael W. Clune’s Gamelife opts for minimalism.

Clune himself describes the book as a memoir about computer games, which is true, and that description alone warrants inclusion in my list. Why? Any topic that can be a lens through which to reflect on one’s own life is noteworthy.

Clune isn’t a game developer recounting a life spent developing games. Clune isn’t a games industry executive doling out business advice. Clune is a gamer with a childhood he’s able to better understand when filtered through video games.

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

By Michael W. Clune,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In telling the story of his youth through seven computer games, critically acclaimed author Michael W. Clune (White Out) captures the part of childhood we live alone.

You have been awakened.

Floppy disk inserted, computer turned on, a whirring, and then this sentence, followed by a blinking cursor. So begins Suspended, the first computer game to obsess seven-year-old Michael, to worm into his head and change his sense of reality. Thirty years later he will write: "Computer games have taught me the things you can't learn from people."

Gamelife is the memoir of a childhood transformed by technology. Afternoons spent…


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 Press Reset: Ruin and Recovery in the Video Game Industry

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?

Sometimes, defending your video game obsession means acknowledging that the video game industry is flawed. It’s best not to avoid necessary conversations about the negative impacts that video games can have on families and on personal health.

But while it would be tempting to cite flawed studies about games as a precursor to violence (a sub-recommendation for more about such flawed studies would be The Gaming Mind: A New Psychology of Videogames and the Power of Play by Alexander Kriss), Jason Schreier’s book instead digs into the “industry” part of the video games industry to explore systemic problems like overwork, the lack of unionization, and incredible wealth inequality.

The video game industry is huge (like, really huge. Like, 2.5x the size of the movie and music industry combined huge). Its enormity, combined with its lack of regulation and oversight, makes for a difficult foundation on which to build a life.…

By Jason Schreier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. From the bestselling author of Blood, Sweat, and Pixels comes the next definitive, behind-the-scenes account of the video game industry: how some of the past decade's most renowned studios fell apart-and the stories, both triumphant and tragic, of what happened next.

Jason Schreier's groundbreaking reporting has earned him a place among the preeminent investigative journalists covering the world of video games. In his eagerly anticipated, deeply researched new book, Schreier trains his investigative eye on the volatility of the video game industry and the resilience of the people who work in it.

The business…


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 Experimental Games: Critique, Play, and Design in the Age of Gamification

Virginia Rademacher Author Of Derivative Lives: Biofiction, Uncertainty, and Speculative Risk in Contemporary Spanish Narrative

From my list on combating post-truth contagions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and professor of literary studies whose work has been deeply involved in topics of truth, realism, and public policy. My recent book considers works of fiction that openly and honestly experiment with questions of uncertainty, identity, and risk in the supermodern present. This book draws from disciplinary discourses in law, finance, and economics, which similarly contend with competing claims to truth and value and dive deep into the circumstantial and speculative games that authors play when they write fiction about reality. I have my PhD in Spanish Literature (UVA), M.A. in International Affairs and Economics (Johns Hopkins Univ.), and a B.A. from Harvard University.

Virginia's book list on combating post-truth contagions

Virginia Rademacher Why did Virginia love this book?

I found this book so smart in the way that it examines and questions how we have made many parts of our worlds into winner-take-all competitions or “games.” I thought Jagoda did a great job making me think about “gamified” realities that simulate real-world situations and how we virtually experiment through gameplay.

I was also drawn to the idea that games could “safely” let us play out real-world scenarios, imagining and testing out new ways of trying out alternative futures without the risks of playing those for real.

At the same time, I am reminded that however simulatively real the game feels, the consequences are not similarly real. Win or lose, we can always “end” the game, reboot, and start again–not necessarily so in real life. 

By Patrick Jagoda,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of The Eye of Minds

Randy C. Dockens Author Of Myeem

From my list on science fiction stories of amazing worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by science fiction and by Biblical Scripture. That may seem dichotomous to some, but not to me. I have a passion for science and for Scripture because both bring understanding about our world from the microcosm to the macrocosm. My writings are a mixture of science and mystery with a science fiction feel and a Christian perspective. I like stories that show how truth arises even from the dark, confusing, and ambiguity of life to help one discover something about God they may not have considered before, and at the same time enjoy a fun, fast-paced, and exciting journey as they read.

Randy's book list on science fiction stories of amazing worlds

Randy C. Dockens Why did Randy love this book?

While not science fiction in the classical sense, it is a story of a different kind of world where virtual reality and reality blur. The main character almost lives in a virtual reality gaming program, but when he is to do something in the real world, he finds he can’t really tell the two apart and that leads to grave consequences.

By James Dashner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Eye of Minds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

From James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, comes an edge-of-your seat adventure. The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyper advanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams ...and your worst nightmares. To catch a hacker, you need a hacker. For Michael and the other gamers, the VirtNet can make your wildest fantasies become real. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Who wants to play by the rules anyway? But some rules were made for a…


Book cover of Game Feel: A Game Designer's Guide to Virtual Sensation

Jesse Schell Author Of The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses

From my list on for game designers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved game design – I love doing it, reading about it, thinking about it, and helping others do it. As you can see in the list, I’ve learned that sometimes what helps game designers most is getting inspiration from other fields. I hope these books help you as much as they helped me.

Jesse's book list on for game designers

Jesse Schell Why did Jesse love this book?

A tremendous amount of what makes a great videogame happens at the millisecond level. In this realm that is invisible to most, tiny changes make for enormous differences in the way a game feels. If you would master the secret rules that make for a game that people can’t put down because it just feels so good to play, you are wise to read this book. 

By Steve Swink,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Game Feel" exposes "feel" as a hidden language in game design that no one has fully articulated yet. The language could be compared to the building blocks of music (time signatures, chord progressions, verse) - no matter the instruments, style or time period - these building blocks come into play. Feel and sensation are similar building blocks where game design is concerned. They create the meta-sensation of involvement with a game.

The understanding of how game designers create feel, and affect feel are only partially understood by most in the field and tends to be overlooked as a method or…


Book cover of Shadow of the Minotaur

Fiona Faith Ross Author Of Far Out

From my list on keeping people you love close.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about aloneness and individuals, what it takes to connect to family and community, and how to hang on to the people we hold dear. This means I think a lot about points of view and personal perception. We often wonder: Have I got this right? Did they get my meaning? Does everybody feel this? And more often than not, everybody does. These interpretations are both personal and universal at the same time. We all fear loss; we all have to be brave to hold onto people we love and principles we value.

Fiona's book list on keeping people you love close

Fiona Faith Ross Why did Fiona love this book?

This book is about being brave. You know when a problem grows into a huge scary monster, right? It’s got you cornered and you don't think you'll ever get out alive, but with the right attitude, you can. Our hero Phoenix is braver than his years, but in some ways he’s more grown-up than his dad. In this retelling of the ancient Greek story of the minotaur, who crushes mortals and eats them for breakfast, we step into a monstrous virtual world created by Phoenix’s dad. I wanted to run, but most of all I wanted to stay and see what happened next. Will the minotaur eat Phoenix alive? I related to Phoenix trying to survive and trying to work out his issues with his dad, because every one of us has to face the same difficult world and be courageous about it.

By Alan Gibbons,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Real life' or the death defying adventures of the Greek myths, with their heroes and monsters, daring deeds and narrow escapes - which would you choose?

For Phoenix it's easy. He hates his new home and the new school where he is bullied. He's embarrassed by his computer geek dad. But when he logs on to The Legendeer, the game his dad is working on, he can be a hero. He is Theseus fighting the terrifying Minotaur, or Perseus battling with snake-haired Medusa. It feels as though he's really there ? The Legendeer is more than just a game. Play…


Book cover of Land Of Lisp: Learn to Program in Lisp, One Game at a Time!

Philipp Fehre Author Of JavaScript Domain-Driven Design

From my list on learning from programming classics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Computers have fascinated me since my childhood, having fond memories of my dad's ZX81, but even so I played around I was never truly captured by the programming until I recognized it as a way of writing rather than raw engineering. Through my studies of media sciences I found my fascination with how language can shape perception, and through my work in developer advocacy, I found how communities are shaped as well. Now I am fascinated with how different programming languages can shape thinking, having had the opportunity to solve problems at large companies in nonmainstream languages.

Philipp's book list on learning from programming classics

Philipp Fehre Why did Philipp love this book?

Lisp will always have a special place in my brain, not language can be as expressive and molded to what the programmer wants to do in my opinion.

Learning a programming language can be a bit dry, but not in the case of Land of Lisp, honestly I just found this book to be fun from beginning to end, and even so I was already familiar with Lisp before reading it I actually followed all the way through not skipping a page.

Yes Lisp is hardly in use these days, but if you know it you will find its concepts popping up all over the place and this is why knowing it is so useful.

By Conrad Barski,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lisp has been hailed as the world s most powerful programming language, but its cryptic syntax and academic reputation can be enough to scare off even experienced programmers. Those dark days are finally over Land of Lisp brings the power of functional programming to the people! With his brilliantly quirky comics and out-of-this-world games, longtime Lisper Conrad Barski teaches you the mysteries of Common Lisp. You ll start with the basics, like list manipulation, I/O, and recursion, then move on to more complex topics like macros, higher order programming, and domain-specific languages. Then, when your brain overheats, you can kick…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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