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Recommended

Next Generation has an article up by Ernest Adams entitled 50 Books for Everyone in the Game Industry. I'm honoured that he has decided to include both my non-fiction books in the list - my game design book with my friend and colleage Richard Boon, and the game writing book I edited for the IGDA Game Writers' SIG (both plugged on the sidebar here). Now Ernest is not necessarily unbiased in this regard, since he contributed to both, but he is a highly ethical individual and wouldn't recommend these books if he didn't think they were worthwhile. (He doesn't plug his own books in the list, you'll notice).

The list also contains all manner of books I would recommend myself, including Sheri Graner Ray's Gender Inclusive Game Design (short but eye-opening), Caillois' Les Jeux est les Hommes (my favourite game design book that isn't about game design at all), and Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces (I prefer his later work, but his writing on mythology is unparalleled).

Since Ernest couldn't plug his own books, I will do it for him. Firstly, for people who are interested in a career in games development, there is Break Into the Games Industry: How to Get a Job Making Video Games, which will suit anyone with absolutely no idea how to begin a career in games. Secondly, there is Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design, which takes a broad genre-based look at game design, ideal for anyone starting out in the field, and anyone looking for a coherent examination of the game design process. Lastly, there is a new expanded version of this book, retitled Fundamentals of Game Design, which I haven't seen yet but which I understand expands the content significantly to create a text book suitable for a course on game design. I look forward to seeing it soon.

Don't forget to check out Ernest's book recommendations at the Next Generation website!

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Actually he did include 'Fundamentals of Game Design' (with a disclaimer). Doesn't detract form the list - it looks interesting.

Just two tangents that popped up as I read:

None of books come with any games. I know the reasons why not, but I don't feel those reasons are good enough. (I also understand that he set out to pick books not games but...)

From the paragraph on 'Understanding Comics' "In comic-book format, comic author Scott McCloud explains how his medium works"! I assumed that literature was the only medium used to expound on other mediums - or a comics still considered a genre of books? Maybe I'm forgetting some movies or plays that convey analysis... Still, I was pretty sure that literature is the only medium that is used to analyze itself! Would it be possible to do that with games, I wonder...

Thanks for the clarification, Suyi - the cause of my misunderstanding was I didn't know the reprint of On Game Design had a different title until I looked into it after quickly skimming the list. Utter carelessness on my part. :(

Is it possible to use games to analyze play? My gut instinct says yes. Certainly I was planning to build games to test how people played, but never found the contacts or funding to make it happen, and I'm not sure this is really an equivalent situation.

As for whether comics are still considered a sub-genre of book, I don't think so. I believe they may have found their own identity.

Thanks for the comment!

The Art of Noise's The Seduction of Claude Debussy is probably my favorite example of using music to explore music. It deals with Debussy's life, his impact on modern music, and how much more can be learned from him, all in musical form, and succeeds as a beautiful and magnificent piece of music as well.


Comics are and always have been books provided that their page gount goes high enough to require that they be held together with something other than staples. Books are these things made out of paper and printed with ink, you see. The telephone book is a book. Comic books are books.

mister slim: sounds fascinating! It also sounds woefully uncommercial - is this one of those forgotten rarities of musical history?

Ernest: While I can't dispute that a collection of comic strips in a book form is a book, I don't think this necessarily means that the comic form is necessarily equivalent to the book form, certainly not to the novel form (which I think was what was meant in this case).

The form of a comic strip - expressing it's content in 4-12 panels - is clearly distinct from the form of a novel, or a play etc. (and similarly with the comic book). In genre terms, surely it is not the presentation object (book, ebook, photocopied sheets, webpages) which is the most useful criteria of distinction?

Of course, this is always the problem with taxonomy, I suppose - your assumptions dictate your conclusions. :)

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