Video Gaming Books

So the connection there is that Jason Jones (Bungie founder) was at University of Chicago when we were there and Richard was friends with him. When Pathways Into Darkness was released, there was a lot of interest in Bungie at U of C. Richard, as I remember, was particularly interested in design of the game and Jason’s future. I suspect that’s why he ended up using the Marathon engine. Anyhow, Richard is super friendly.

Thanks! I love this kind of stuff, so if you can think of anything else, I’d love to hear it.
Also, “Pathways Into Darkness” looks interesting. I take it that it was never ported to PC, as I’d never heard of it until just now.

I’m not sure about that. The Wikipedia page probably has more info? I just remember playing many hours of it.

A bunch of books from some notable writers, theorists, and historians of games in this bundle, including the legendary Bernie De Koven, as well as Jesper Juul, and Jon Peterson. I haven’t read any of them (yet), so I can’t exactly recommend them, but figured some folks might find stuff here they are interested in.

Quite fancy this but not necessarily at $30.

No reviews on goodreads yet, but I’m hopeful on this one. There really aren’t many great books chronicling videogame history. Masters of Doom was excellent, but we need more.

He’ll always be CliffyB to me.

Wow, has it really been over 4 years since we were talking about this?!? COVID has totally messed up my time turner I think.

Agreed on Masters of Doom. A few others I’ve found to be fun reads:

  • “Power-Up” by Chris Kohler
  • “Stay Awhile and Listen” Books 1 & 2, both by David L. Craddock

Thanks, added to my list!

Anyone else have recommendations on inside baseball videogame books?

You can get some of it in book form, but the entirety of the “Iwata Asks” web article series that Satoru Iwata headed up had some really fascinating nuggets of information occasionally. While it’s very much all done with the polished veneer of corporate-positive fluff, I do recall being surprised at the number of times they’d get into the nuts and bolts of of games development and production.

I enjoyed both the Jason Schreier books, Blood, Sweat and Pixels and Press Reset. The first one goes behind the scenes on various games, both Indie and triple A games. The second one does the same but follows more of a pattern in that it mostly follows some developers around as they hop from studio to studio. In particular I like that it goes into Bioshock Infinite at Irrational, and then follows some of those developers around as they form various Indie studios.

Blood Sweat and Pixels I had read but not the sequel, added that too. Thanks!

Craddock also put out a book about the making of X-com

Monsters in the Dark: The Making of X-COM: UFO Defense - Special Edition

Assuming this is about Diablo and/or Blizzard? Wouldn’t mind reading more about those.

They are about the making of Diablo 1 and 2, and the stuff leading up to Brevik and company leaving. I can’t remember if it goes into what David did after that, but I think it might.

It’s less history and more about game development, but the Spelunky book by Derek Yu from Boss Fight Books has incredible insight into how that game was conceived and built.

You might find other Boss Fight books that hit a particular interest of yours. Most f them aren’t written by the devs themselves, but by journalists and critics.

Never played Spelunky so probably not. I see there were a whopping 28 of 'em, but the first that caught my eye was on KOTOR and it was written by a journalist, not anyone in development. Seems like a lot of interviews as opposed to an engrossing narrative. I’m sure some of the 28 are more up my alley but would need to be both a great story and a game I care about, so that’s a bit of a tough one.

Yep, what @vyshka said pretty much. Book 1 corresponds to Diablo, Book 2 to Diablo 2, and both are mostly writing on the Condor/Blizz North end of things, not nearly as much space dedicated to Blizzard Irvine (although there is still some chapters and documenting that goes over their part in the process).

I have to admit, I do have somewhat of a morbid curiosity about Spelunky since I consider it the hardest game I’ve ever tried to play and completely failed to get better at. Part of me does wonder what kind of design decisions would lead to such a game where I can just not get any better or get any enjoyment out of failing.