I’ve written or co-written four books on videogames. Check them out below and please let me know if you have any questions about them.
Dungeons and Desktops: The History of Computer Role-Playing Games. Published by A.K. Peters/CRC Press (Feb. 22, 2008). My first book grew out of an earlier project that originated on Armchair Arcade and Gamasutra–a genealogy of my favorite genre. If you enjoy CRPGs like Wizardry and Baldur’s Gate, you’ll really love this book. It covers pretty much everything up to its publication date. Here’s the official description: Computer role-playing games (CRPGs) are a special genre of computer games that bring the tabletop role-playing experience of games such as Dungeons & Dragons to the computer screen. This genre includes classics such as Ultima and The Bard’s Tale as well as more modern games such as World of Warcraft and Guild Wars. Written in an engaging style for both the computer game enthusiast and the more casual computer game player, this book explores the history of the genre by telling the stories of the developers, games, and gamers who created it.
Vintage Games: An Insider Look at the History of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the Most Influential Games of All Time. Published by Focal Press (Feb. 18, 2009). This is a book I co-wrote with Bill Loguidice. It’s a full color book with lots of great screenshots and photographs in addition to in-depth descriptions of the games we considered the most influential. However, we do more than just talk about the games in question–we also cover the games that led up to them and others that they inspired. Here’s the official description: Vintage Games explores the most influential videogames of all time, including Super Mario Bros., Grand Theft Auto III, Doom, The Sims and many more. Drawing on interviews as well as the authors’ own lifelong experience with videogames, the book discusses each game’s development, predecessors, critical reception, and influence on the industry. It also features hundreds of full-color screenshots and images, including rare photos of game boxes and other materials. Vintage Games is the ideal book for game enthusiasts and professionals who desire a broader understanding of the history of videogames and their evolution from a niche to a global market.
Honoring the Code: Conversations with Great Game Designers. Published by A.K. Peters/CRC Press (Mar. 26, 2013). This book is based on some of my favorite interviews with developers and designers on Matt Chat. It’s more than just a transcription, though. I introduce each person, provide some background, and add footnotes to flesh out the details whenever it’s not clear from the context. There’s also lots of good images and a detailed index. Official description: This book consists of a series of personal interviews with a dozen or so established and highly respected designers–the movers and shakers who have made the game industry what it is today. The interviews have been adapted into a readable and entertaining format, adding the author’s own commentary and observations. It brings the designer’s personality to the foreground, comparing and contrasting their approaches, development strategies, and life experiences with others in the book. A detailed background for each developer is also included, with a list of games credited, companies worked for, and current projects.
Vintage Game Consoles: The Greatest Gaming Platforms of All Time. Focal Press (Feb. 28, 2014). This book, also co-authored with Bill Loguidice, tells the story of the best-ever gaming platforms (ignore the title; it also covers computers such as the C-64 and Apple II). We go to great lengths to make each story memorable. You’ll read about amazing people doing amazing things, including plenty of stories you won’t find elsewhere. Official description: Vintage Game Consoles tells the story of the most influential videogame platforms of all time, including the Apple II, Commodore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Sega Genesis, Sony PlayStation, and many more. It uncovers the details behind the consoles, computers, handhelds, and arcade machines that made videogames possible. Drawing on extensive research and the authors’ own lifelong experience with videogames, Vintage Game Consoles explores each system’s development, history, fan community, its most important games, and information for collectors and emulation enthusiasts. It also features hundreds of exclusive full-color screenshots and images that help bring each system’s unique story to life. Vintage Game Consoles is the ideal book for gamers, students, and professionals who want to know the story behind their favorite computers, handhelds, and consoles, without forgetting about why they play in the first place – the fun!