This summer three students provided important assistance to ICHEG. Two Rochester Institute of Technology game design majors, Ned Blakely and Matt Fico, upgraded equipment in our research lab, captured game footage for archival purposes, and created multimedia experiences to include in our eGameRevolution exhibit opening this November. Josh Keaton, a student from the State University of New York at Brockport, assisted with background research for the exhibit. Here, in no particular order, are ten books Josh found helpful:
#1. Replay: The History of Video Games, Tristan Donovan, 2010.
Donovan’s recent release traces game development from the dawn of modern computing to the latest trends in gaming. He covers the American scene as well as developments in Europe and Asia. Accessibly written, Replay should top the reading list of any video game enthusiast.
#2. Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in Videogame Revolution Heather Chaplin and Aaron Ruby, 2005.
Chaplin and Ruby give readers a behind the scenes look at some key industry figures including Will Wright and Cliffy B (Cliff Bleszinski). This book offers those new to the industry an entertaining introduction to its history and those who made it.
#3. Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter, Tom Bissell, 2010.
Part memoir, part critical analysis, Bissell’s book offers a highly personal tour of modern video games from the perspective of a writer who’s also a serious gamer. The author’s perceptive eye, witty descriptions, and sharp analysis make Extra Lives a fun read.
#4. Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World, David Sheff, 1993.
Published nearly 20 years ago, Game Over tells how Nintendo grew from a minor toy manufacturer to a leader of the game industry. Interesting stories include how Shigeru Miyamoto developed Donkey Kong and the way that Nintendo spirited the rights to Tetris out of the Soviet Union.
#5. Dungeons and Dreamers: The Rise of Computer Game Culture from Geek to Chic, John King and John Borland, 2003.
King and Borland—both self-admitted geeky gamers—track the rise of electronic gaming culture from 1970s basement games of Dungeons and Dragons to the availability of computer screens all over the world today.
#6. Exodus to the Virtual World: How Online Fun is Changing Reality, Edward Castronova, 2007.
How has the world changed now that gamers can immerse themselves in mesmerizing virtual worlds? Edward Castronova explores the implications of this societal revolution in his thought-provoking analysis of how changing styles of play impact the way people think, learn, and interact with others. Part historian, part sociologist, part futurist, Castronova causes the reader to think about the social significance of video games.
#7. Opening the Xbox: Inside Microsoft’s Plan to Unleash an Entertainment Revolution, Dean Takahashi, 2002.
Takahashi explores Microsoft’s decision in the mid 1990s to enter the risky console business and the subsequent development, implementation, and launch of one of the most successful video game platforms of all time—Xbox. This title is both informative and entertaining.
#8. Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age, 1971-1984, Van Burnham, 2001.
Burnham’s coffee table book treats the eyes to colorful photo layouts of hardware, screen shots, and game art. Individual essays recount the ascent of video games. It’s a must read—or flip—for any gamer interested in the origins of classic games.
#9. The Ultimate History of Video Games, Steven L. Kent, 2001.
Kent provides insights into nearly every major game, console, or platform created in the last 35 years. And he tells anecdotes that are sure to raise an eyebrow!
#10. Highscore!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games, Rusel DeMaria and Johnny L. Wilson, 2002.
Divided into discussions of key companies and creators, High Score is a great reference work for anyone interested in the history of electronic games. DeMaria and Wilson pay particular attention to the history of games for the personal computer and offer plenty of pictures.
There are many other good books on video game history, but these are a great core. We recommend them all.
By Jon-Paul Dyson, Director, International Center for the History of Electronic Games and Vice President for Exhibits