You don’t always have to be behind the screen to enjoy your love of video games. Whether you’re an online poker player, fascinated by the emerging world of esports or want to escape to a world beyond ours, here are ten books for video games to put on your Summer reading list:
1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
“Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest. [Halliday] was the videogame designer responsible for creating the OASIS, a massively multiplayer online game that had gradually evolved into the globally networked virtual reality most of humanity now uses on a daily basis.” (Ready Player One)
Ready Player One takes the Virtual Reality world to the next level with an exciting blend of fantasy and technology. As the hero unfolds a great mystery and competes on an international stage, you’ll be on the edge of your seat with each page turn.
2. Big Deal by Tony Holden
“Whether he likes it or not, a man’s character is stripped bare at the poker table; if the other players read him better than he does, he has only himself to blame. Unless he is both able and prepared to see himself as others do, flaws and all, he will be a loser in cards as in life.” (Big Deal)
Ever want to follow in the footsteps of an international poker legend? Big Deal follows the wins, losses, strategies and stories of Tony Holden as he moves from table to table.
3. Blood, Sweat and Pixels by Jason Schreier
“Blood, Sweat, and Pixels quickly becomes a book about The Crunch — the months leading up to a game’s launch, during which the staff works long hours over weekends and holidays to meet the deadline. Vastly different developers of various sizes, working on a wide variety of game designs, greet The Crunch in exactly the same way — by churning out the necessary code with a kind of communal, masochistic pride.” (Glen Weldon, NPR)
What does it take to release a new video game, and who is involved in that process? What kind of decisions happen behind the curtain before we put the controller in our hand? Blood, Sweat and Pixels gives us an inside look to the release of popular titles, and the hard work that comes with it.
4. All Your Base Are Belong to Us by Harold Goldberg
“It’s astounding how much has happened in fifty years, and how much Goldberg manages to fit into his book. There are so many other stories and games and companies that I haven’t even mentioned yet. If you’ve ever wanted to find out some of the behind-the-scenes stories about many of your favorite video games, All Your Base is sort of a one-stop shop for them all.” (Jonathan H. Liu, Wired)
Ready for a history lesson? All Your Base Are Belong To Us shares countless stories of the people who made the gaming industry what it is today. You’ll journey through the last 50 years of a booming industry and understand just how gaming became the powerhouse it is today.
5. Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world by Jane McGonigal
“More than 174 million Americans are gamers, and the average young person in the United States will spend ten thousand hours gaming by the age of twenty-one…The reason for this mass exodus to virtual worlds is that videogames are increasingly fulfilling genuine human needs. In this groundbreaking exploration of the power and future of gaming, McGonigal reveals how we can use the lessons of game design to fix what is wrong with the real world.” (Jane McGonigal)
Gaming isn’t always just a hobby; it has the power to transform our way of thinking. Reality Is Broken shares how when we understand why people game and what they choose to game, we can better understand their life outside of a virtual universe.
6. Retro Gaming: A Byte-Sized History of Video Games by Mike Diver
“Packed with all the characters, games, consoles and franchises that you used to love (and possibly still do), this is a compact, conversational compendium of all-time highs – alongside just a handful of humorous (in hindsight) lows – from over forty years of arcade, computer, console and handheld hits.” (Book Depository)
If you grew up on the Atari classics, this book is for you. Before there were 4K graphics or esports arenas, there was groundbreaking code and dots on a screen. This book is the perfect blend of humor and insight on all things retro.
7. Guy In Real Life by Steve Brezenoff
“Guy in Real Life is a remarkably original, addictive novel that illuminates the roles we play for others and, ultimately, ourselves. A must-read for anyone who questions who they truly are, and who they could be.” (Nova Ren Suma)
RPG (role player games) take on a whole new meaning as Guy In Real Life explores the connection between who we are, who we perceive ourselves as and who we want to become. You can expect to learn about yourself while reading this story of fiction—get ready to challenge what your role is, to others and yourself.
8. Good Luck Have Fun: The Rise of Esports by Roland Li
“Good Luck Have Fun is a comprehensive and compelling archive of the birth and growth of eSports. With insight and stories from founding giants and legendary players, it’s a must-read for fans and newcomers alike.” (Paul Tassi)
It’s no secret that esports are taking over the competitive world, and it’s not too late to get on board. Good Luck Have Fun breaks down the rise of esports and gives compelling hypothesis for where it’s going now.
9. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
“Twenty-five years later, Stephenson’s cult classic has become canon in Silicon Valley, where a host of engineers, entrepreneurs, futurists, and assorted computer geeks still revere Snow Crash as a remarkably prescient vision of today’s tech landscape. Among the more prophetic inventions in the book is something Stephenson called “the Metaverse”—the same sort of wireless, online virtual-reality experience that Facebook, Google, Samsung, and practically every other major tech company are now competing to commercialize.” (Joanna Robinson, Vanity Fair)
When does virtual become reality? Can it? The ideas and experiences that Stephenson built in Snow Crash are now being adopted by modern-day technologists. With each page you’ll learn more about gamified technology and human behaviors that drive it.
10. SLAY by Brittney Morris
“Warcross meets Black Panther in this dynamite debut novel that follows a fierce teen game developer as she battles a real-life troll intent on ruining the Black Panther–inspired video game she created and the safe community it represents for Black gamers.” (SLAY the Book)
Kiera may look like a normal high school student, but by night, she’s an avid gamer who secretly dedicates her evenings to dueling in multiplayer online games. As tensions rise, Kiera must protect her identity or choose to truly be herself. This is a perfect book for young adults or those who want a compelling close-to-reality book on gaming.