Gamer Books – The Essentials

Gamers are readers, by their very nature. Whether it’s stats from the last round of Battlefield 3, a brick of dialogue in Fallout, or strategies and build orders for Starcraft 2, we all read. Many of us enjoy reading when we aren’t actively gaming and as such, we here at Screen-Shaped Eyes have a few suggestions:

| For The Coffee Table |


1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, by Tony Mott

A beautifully put together resource for any gamer, you won’t be ashamed to have this book displayed on your living room table when your girlfriend’s disapproving mother stops in for her bi-monthly inspection. Thorough and fairly exhaustive, the book takes a critical look at the best video games of all time; for the long-time gamer, it will be something akin to scanning family photo albums filled with polaroids of days long past. The games are listed in chronological order and the book features every platform you can remember (and some that you won’t).

| The Tell-All |

Extra Lives

 Extra Lives, by Tom Bissell

Warning – this book may have the unintentional side effect of making you want to play 30 hours of Grand Theft Auto 4. Certainly one of the best books ever written on gaming, the author Tom Bissell outlines why video games matter so much to the world, and when he speak from experience, he really speaks from experience. A prolific gamer himself, Bissell has seen it all, and he finally found his grail quest in GTA 4 (which I supposed would make Niko Bellic his Arthur). He delves into the nature of his addiction and relates stories about his highs and lows, and how he has repeatedly attempted to drop his habit whenever he made significant lifestyle changes. He also admits to having been a serious cocaine user, and how it fueled his marathon gaming sessions. Back when the book was published, the Guardian printed this excerpt that tells you all you need to know.

| China Ruins Everything |


Reamde, by Neal Stephenson

A simple Iowa boy flocks to the far reaches of British Columbia to avoid the draft, and ends up making a fortune off of the marijuana trade. Having too much time and far too much money, he becomes addicted to an MMO and soon begins to buy virtual gold pieces from Chinese gold farmers, who build up reserves of in-game money to sell to lazy/busy Americans and Europeans. After setting up his own multiplayer online game to clean his dirty money, a gold farmer in China inadvertently sets off a virtual war.

| The Golden Ticket |

Ready Player One

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

The year is 2044, and the world is just about as dismal and depressing as we feared it might get. Wade Watts spends his waking hours living a second life in a virtual world called the OASIS, where a young man’s existence is limited only by his imagination. The game’s ultra-rich and eccentric creator dies and leaves a series of clues hidden in the game, and the entire world subsequently sets of on a global treasure hunt to win the ultimate prize. The author recently set off a frenzied treasure hunt in real-life when he announced he would be giving away one of his DeLoreans to promote the paperback edition’s publication.

| Behind-The-Curtain |


You, by Austin Grossman

If only real game-building was like this. The author of Soon I Will Be Invincible takes on the world of game design, with thrilling and hilarious results. Russell signs on with Black Arts games, a design house created by gifted designers who were two of his closest friends. When Black Arts’ next-gen game suffers a mysterious software glitch, his race to solve it becomes an inquest into a mystery 20 years old, through worlds both real and virtual. The deeper he digs into the mystery the more dangerous the glitch becomes, and soon it’s obvious to Russell that there’s more at stake than the company’s legacy and good name.


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