LudoScience

Bibliography: books about videogames 172 books listed

N.B. : We are trying to give you a selection of books as complete as possible, but please note that this page will only presents books that we have actually read! If you wish to recommend us some books, please feel free contact us

Quick access:
History of videogames : overall history - focused book - biography - encyclopedia - traditional games
Game Design : design - development - profesion
Studies & Analysis : game series - videogames - traditional games
Serious Games / Misc.


History of videogames

Overall history

L'histoire des jeux vidéo en France : 40 ans de news rétro - vol.1
French "L'histoire des jeux vidéo en France : 40 ans de news rétro - vol.1"
Frédéric Sanchez - Editions RétroLand, 2014.

This book is based on a unique idea: reviewing the history of video games in France between 1974 and 2013 through the "news" briefs published in video games magazines. This first volume is solely focused to news related to video games consoles. The author has selected many news related to the most interesting or odd stories from the last 40 years: release of a console, an accessory, a special issue of magazine, a tv show, public drama, games collector editions, etc. Each chapter of the book is dedicated to one year, and gathers many small texts (4-10 lines) written by the author. These texts allow us to live or remember a wild and rich history. The book is easy and pleasant to read, and also features many beautiful pictures. Almost each piece of news is illustrated with a colored picture, and each page of the book also offers a "column" of screenshots from games released at the time. The overall page layout is very well done. While I would complain about the author sometimes relying too much on his own biased opinion regarding some pieces of news, overall the book is very instructive. Although it's not an "in-depth" book, it makes us rediscover some forgotten piece of history (anyone remembers the "French Video Game Federation" ?), while remaining accessible to the casual reader. It's an excellent introduction the history of video game in France.


Histoires secrètes des jeux vidéo
French "Histoires secrètes des jeux vidéo"
Jean-François Morisse - First Interactive, 2013.

This book tells the story of 13 famous video games: Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Angry Birds, Les Sims, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted, World of Warcraft, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, Doom, Alone in the Dark, Prince of Persia and Tetris. Each chapter of this 300 pages book is dedicated to one of those games, and presents some information about it. While the book is pleasant to read, the amount of unique information is very variable from one game to another. The book chapters range from excellent (Tetris, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted...) to interesting but lacking many information about their topic (Les Sims, Doom, World of Warcraft...). A book recommended to people discovering video games and desiring to have a quick look at some famous games, without going into the full details of their history, as in a book like La Saga des Jeux Vidéo.


Nos Meilleurs Souvenirs de Jeux Vidéo 8/16-bits
French "Nos Meilleurs Souvenirs de Jeux Vidéo 8/16-bits"
Florent Gorges - Omake Books, 2013.

This book attempts to give a quite unique approach on the history of videogames: instead of interviewing game designers about how they created famous games, the author have collected the memories of numerous anonymous videogames players in France. The book is focused on the 8 / 16 bits era (i.e. from the middle of the 80's to the beginning of the 90's). The author, Florent Gorges, have written a very touching book here. While you'll read it quickly, it'll touch you with a deep feeling of nostalgia if you were playing videogames during this period. For the researchers, this book is also a rare testimony of the cultural impact of home videogames on the French civil society, and more specifically the NES, when it appeared... A very interesting and unique book!


Grand Thieves & Tomb Raiders: How British Videogames Conquered the World
English "Grand Thieves & Tomb Raiders: How British Videogames Conquered the World"
Magnus Anderson, Rebecca Levene - Aurum Press, 2012.

This books focuses on the history of videogames in Britain, and more specifically on the best-known videogames in history that originates from Britain: Tomb Raider, Grand Theft, Auto, Elite, MUD, Populous, Lemmings, Carmageddon, Runescape, EarthWormJim, etc. This book also details the history of some famous english computers, such as Sinclair's ZX family, the Amstrad computer line, the BBC Micro and its legacy, that includes the ARM processors nowadays embedded in almost any smartphone. Extremely passionating, this 350 pages book tells us these stories in a very entertaining way, much like a good novel. It also features a lot of unique information obtained through direct interviews with the creators of the games and computers it presents. This book also explain how videogames influenced the British society, especially with the "bedroom" coder generation. These teenagers learned how to code on ZX81 and similar computers, and started to sell the games they created. Thanks to this knowledge, some of these teenagers will later found companies that will create some of the most successful videogames in history, as detailed throughout the whole book. This book is undoubtedly one of the best available about the general history of videogames, alongside with "The Ultimate History of Videogames", "La Saga des Jeux vidéo" and "Replay"


Replay : The History of Video Games
English "Replay : The History of Video Games"
Tristan Donovan - Yellow Ant, 2010.

Alongside with "The Ultimate History of Videogames" and  "La Saga des Jeux vidéo", here is without a doubt the third must-read book for anyone who want to have a global view on the history of videogames. The authors starts from the early games up to nowadays, and tells the story of the most important games and machines thanks to interviews with their creators. The added value of this book compared to the two previous ones is the fact that, in addition to tackling classical topics (Atari, Nintendo-Sega), the book focuses on the history of videogames in Europe, and more specifically in the United Kingdom and in France. Easy to read and deep, this book is recommended for all of you!


La Saga des Jeux Vidéo
French "La Saga des Jeux Vidéo"
Daniel Ichbiah - Editions Pix'N Love, 2009.

The french written reference about the history of videogames. This must-have book has know five different editions between 1997 and 2012. It details the story of many famous videogames thanks to interviews with their designers: Pong, Tomb Raider, Tetris, Doom, Myst, Sim City, etc. The book also have a background story with the life of Philippe Ulrich, famous french game designer and founder of Cryo, who have lived through all the stages of the videogames history. A very interesting read with a lot of content. This book is very good addition to "The Ultimate History of Videogames", but also it's a very good starting point to study the history of videogames if you can read french! The 4th edition of the book is presented here, ranging from Pong to World of Warcraft.


Push START - 30 ans de jeux vidéo
French "Push START - 30 ans de jeux vidéo"
François Houste - Editions Alternatives, 2006.

An illustration-only book which features screenshots and illustrations from the most famous videogames of the last 30 years.


Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution
English "Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution"
Heather Chaplin, Aaron Ruby - Algonquin Books, 2005.

This book gives a portrayal of several famous video game creators: Cliff Bleszinski (Unreal Tournament, Gears of War), Shigeru Miyamoto (Mario, Zelda...), Will Wright (Sim City, The Sims...), John Romero and John Carmack, alongside with three bonus chapters dedicated to the first video games, to military Serious Games (America's Army) and to MMORPG players (Anarchy Online, Star Wars Galaxies). Overall, the book is very pleasant to read and filled with interesting information. The portraits of creators that the authors actually met are very detailed. They mix description of the day life of creators during professional events (and their night parties), with some historical information regarding their careers. Here lies the main flaw of the book: it contains several important errors about video games history. For example, the author credits Super Mario Bros for the success of Famicom in Japan in 1983, while the game was only released in 1985 (they mistook Mario Bros. for Super Mario Bros., two games with very different gameplay). They also forget about "Galaxy Game" and barely mention the Magnavox Odyssey in the chapter about early video games. Nevertheless, these errors doesn't reduce the great quality of the portraits of video games creators. The chapters about the military Serious Game is excellent, so are the portraits of Will Wright and Cliff Bleszinski. These chapters alone are a good reason to read this book.


L'Empire des jeux
French "L'Empire des jeux"
Vincent Montagnana - Timée-Editions, 2005.

A tiny book (140 pages in small format) gathering trivia and funny stories about 50 famous videogames: Pac-Man, Mario, Zelda, GTA... Each game is presented over two pages by several pictures and a short text. While this book reads easily, most of its information is far from being unique. Most of them are now part of the common knowledge of the average videogame player, or can be easily found in Wikipedia and similar sources. Anyway, this book remains a good gift idea for anyone discovering videogames, and who wants to quickly know their most popular historical anecdotes without diving too far in their history.


Histoire des jeux vidéo
French "Histoire des jeux vidéo"
Daniel Ichbiah - La Poste (Service national des timbres-poste et de la philatélie), 2005.

A tiny 60 pages book released by the french national postal services alongside with a videogames-themed stamps collection. The book presents some of the most famous videogames thanks to a lot of images.

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La saga des jeux vidéo : De Pong à Lara Croft
French "La saga des jeux vidéo : De Pong à Lara Croft"
Daniel Ichbiah - Vuibert, 2004.

The french written reference about the history of videogames. This must-have book has know five different editions between 1997 and 2012. It details the story of many famous videogames thanks to interviews with their designers: Pong, Tomb Raider, Tetris, Doom, Myst, Sim City, etc. The book also have a background story with the life of Philippe Ulrich, famous french game designer and founder of Cryo, who have lived through all the stages of the videogames history. A very interesting read with a lot of content. This book is very good addition to "The Ultimate History of Videogames", but also it's a very good starting point to study the history of videogames if you can read french! The 3rd edition of the book is presented here, ranging from Pong to Playstation 2.


The Ultimate History of Video Games
English "The Ultimate History of Video Games"
Steven L. Kent - Three Rivers Press, 2001.

One of the best book ever written about the history of video games. Over more than 450 pages, the book explores the American history of videogames with a great deal of details: the beginnings with Spacewar!, the rise and fall of Atari, the arrival of Nintendo, the birth of the ESRB alongside the Nintendo-Sega war, etc. It also focuses on several important trials related to video games: the Atari-Ralph Baer case for the paternity of video games, the Universal strike to Donkey Kong over King-Kong copyright infringement, the impact of the Columbine tragedy, etc. This book is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in the history of video games.


Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Videogames
English "Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Videogames"
Leonard Herman - Rolenta Press, 2001.

This is the third edition of one of the first, if not the first, book to seriously tackle the history of video game on a global level. The book structure is chronological: each chapter covers the main events of a single year. Moreover, the author chose to mostly focuses his book on the history of consoles in the US. After a first chapter dedicated to early digital games, the book details the main events of the video game industry between 1970 and 2000. Among others things, it presents the various consoles releases, from the famous ones to the deeply obscure ones, along with their main accessories and games. This pioneer historical work is based on a thorough research inside old video game magazines. Nowadays, "Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Videogames" may then feel a bit outdated compared to books released after it, such as "The Ultimate History of Video Games" and "Replay" , as they both complete Phoenix's content with interviews. However, it remains a very interesting book, full of information, and it's still an excellent introduction to the American history of the video games. Compared to the previous one, this updated third edition features a new appendix dedicated to games-related books and magazines, and a foreword by Ralph Baer. The book presented here is the 2009 reprint of the third edition, originally published in 2001. This reprint is of smaller size than the original print, and uses a different cover image.


The First Quarter : A 25-year History of Video Games
French "The First Quarter : A 25-year History of Video Games"
Steven L. Kent - Steven L. Kent, 2000.

The first edition, self-published, of one of the best book ever written about the history of video games: The Ultimate History of Video Games. Over more than 450 pages, the book explores the American history of videogames with a great deal of details: the beginnings with Spacewar!, the rise and fall of Atari, the arrival of Nintendo, the birth of the ESRB alongside the Nintendo-Sega war, etc. It also focuses on several important trials related to video games: the Atari-Ralph Baer case for the paternity of video games, the Universal strike to Donkey Kong over King-Kong copyright infringement, the impact of the Columbine tragedy, etc. This book is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in the history of video games.


La saga des jeux vidéo
French "La saga des jeux vidéo"
Daniel Ichbiah - Pocket, 1998.

The french written reference about the history of videogames. This must-have book has know five different editions between 1997 and 2012. It details the story of many famous videogames thanks to interviews with their designers: Pong, Tomb Raider, Tetris, Doom, Myst, Sim City, etc. The book also have a background story with the life of Philippe Ulrich, famous french game designer and founder of Cryo, who have lived through all the stages of the videogames history. A very interesting read with a lot of content. This book is very good addition to "The Ultimate History of Videogames", but also it's a very good starting point to study the history of videogames if you can read french! The 2nd edition of the book is presented here, covering from Pong to the first online games over Internet.


Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Videogames
English "Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Videogames"
Leonard Herman - Rolenta Press, 1997.

This is the second edition of one of the first, if not the first, book to seriously tackle the history of video game on a global level. The book structure is chronological: each chapter covers the main events of a single year. Moreover, the author chose to mostly focuses his book on the history of consoles in the US. After a first chapter dedicated to early digital games, the book details the main events of the video game industry between 1970 and 1996. Among others things, it presents the various consoles releases, from the famous ones to the deeply obscure ones, along with their main accessories and games. This pioneer historical work is based on a thorough research inside old video game magazines. Nowadays, "Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Videogames" may then feel a bit outdated compared to books released after it, such as "The Ultimate History of Video Games" and "Replay" , as they both complete Phoenix's content with interviews. However, it remains a very interesting book, full of information, and it's still an excellent introduction to the American history of the video games. Compared to the previous one, this updated second edition features many pictures.


Bâtisseurs de rêves: Enquête sur le nouvel Eldorado des jeux vidéo
French "Bâtisseurs de rêves: Enquête sur le nouvel Eldorado des jeux vidéo"
Daniel Ichbiah - Editions Générales First, 1997.

The first edition of a book that will later become the french written reference about the history of videogames under the title "La Saga des Jeux Vidéo". This must-have book has known five different editions between 1997 and 2012. It details the story of many famous videogames thanks to interviews with their designers: Pong, Tomb Raider, Tetris, Doom, Myst, Sim City, etc. The book also have a background story with the life of Philippe Ulrich, famous french game designer and founder of Cryo, who have lived through all the stages of the videogames history. A very interesting read with a lot of content. This book is very good addition to "The Ultimate History of Videogames", but also it's a very good starting point to study the history of videogames if you can read french! The 1st edition of the book is presented here, dealing with history from Pong to Ultima Online.


Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Home Videogames
English "Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Home Videogames"
Leonard Herman - Rolenta Press, 1994.

This is one of the first, if not the first, book to seriously tackle the history of video game on a global level. The book structure is chronological: each chapter covers the main events of a single year. Moreover, the author chose to mostly focuses his book on the history of consoles in the US. After a first chapter dedicated to early digital games, the book details the main events of the video game industry between 1970 and 1993. Among others things, it presents the various consoles releases, from the famous ones to the deeply obscure ones, along with their main accessories and games. This pioneer historical work is based on a thorough research inside old video game magazines. Nowadays, "Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Videogames" may then feel a bit outdated compared to books released after it, such as "The Ultimate History of Video Games" and "Replay" , as they both complete Phoenix's content with interviews. However, it remains a very interesting book, full of information, and it's still an excellent introduction to the American history of the video games. 


Focused book

Pix'n Love HS #1 - PlayStation VS Saturn : La guerre des 32 bits
French "Pix'n Love HS #1 - PlayStation VS Saturn : La guerre des 32 bits"
Damien Djaouti, Régis Monterrin, Collectif - Editions Pix'n Love, 2016.

This book details the history of two legendary game consoles, both released in 1994. The 300 pages are divided in two parts. The first part tells with great details the history of the PlayStation, and the making of its 10 most popular games (Wipeout, Tekken, Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid…). The second half is dedicated to the history of the Saturn and 10 of its best titles (Nights, Guardian Heroes, Grandia, Panzer Dragoon, Daytona USA…). Despite already abundant writings on this topic, this book delivers a lot of unique and previously unknown information, obtained through many interviews with the people who created these games and these consoles. Among others, we can read how Sony managed to "steal" third party studios from Nintendo and Sega, alongside with the first steps of Sony in the video game world, before the PlayStation. On the SEGA side, we discover how a 2D console project, called "Gigadrive", evolved to the 3D Saturn console we all know. Developer interviews and an analysis of their development kits allow us to understand why the Saturn was supposedly "harder to develop for" than the PlayStation.
N.B.: This book was co-written by a member of Ludoscience.


Pong et la mondialisation - L'histoire économique des consoles de 1976 à 1980
French "Pong et la mondialisation - L'histoire économique des consoles de 1976 à 1980"
William Audureau - Editions Pix'n Love, 2014.

This book focuses on a little known and hardly discussed period from the history of video games: the ends of the 70's, and more specifically the 1976-1980 years of the home consoles. The books explains how, after Ralph Baer's pioneer invention of the Magnavox Odyssey, and the success of Pong in arcades, home video games takes over TV sets around the world thanks to... General Instrument. Indeed, the introduction of a new integrated chip, copying Pong and sold for a few dollars only, allowed many companies to create their own "home console." These companies are coming from various sectors, ranging from domestic electrical goods (Seb) to food supplies (Coca-Cola) and toys (Nintendo). Most of them left the video game industry after this era, but a handful of them, who, instead of solely using General Instrument's chip tried to learn how it worked, managed to take a lasting lead in the field. With 150 pages only, this brilliant book reveals many details of this little-know era, backed by a database of about 700 home consoles (please remember that, back at the time, it wasn't possible to use cartridges to add new games to a console). The book even manages to go beyond video games, and uses the history of globalization to explain how Japan became the leading country in such a short time, and also how industrial relocation to Asia contributed to suffocate the European console manufacturers, especially in France. Easy to read, thorough, and full of unique information, this book can already be considered as a reference.


L'incroyable histoire de la saga Mario Kart
French "L'incroyable histoire de la saga Mario Kart"
Florent Gorges - Link Digital Spirit / Micromania, 2014.

This tiny 80 pages books tells the history of the Mario Kart series of games, from Super Mario Kart (Nintendo, 1992) to Mario Kart 8 (Nintendo, 2014), also including spin-offs like Mario Kart Arcade GP (Namco, 2005). This book features a lot of images and is very pleasant to read. It also offers many trivia related to the various series episodes, obtained through a direct interview with the main designers. As it can go into details due to lack of pages, this book is recommended to anyone who have played at least one Mario Kart title!
N.B.: this book was never published to retail, it was solely offered as a gift by Micromania, a french video game shop brand, to any customer who pre-ordered Mario Kart 8.


L'Histoire des jeux vidéo polémiques - Volume 2: Jeux de torture et jeux d'horreur
French "L'Histoire des jeux vidéo polémiques - Volume 2: Jeux de torture et jeux d'horreur"
Benjamin Berget - Mon Petit Editeur, 2014.

Following the first book in the series, this book continues to explore the history of controversial video games. This second volume focuses on games about "torture" (Mortal Kombat, Night Trap, Chiller, Manhunt, Mad World...) and horror-themed games (Resident Evil, Silent Hill, The House of the Dead, Sanitarium, Rule of Rose...). Each game and the media controversy that accompanied it are presented using a variable number of pages. Here, this book tends to suffer from the same flaw as the first one: the author tackled too many topics for the space he got available, and so he couldn't explore them all as deeply as necessary. But, despite how much the author seems passionate about his topic, he hopefully managed to reduce this flaw in this second book. Besides the presentation of the games, this book offers three captivating chapters about the danger of violent video games, the way mass media are dealing with video games, and the addiction to video games. Extremely well documented, these chapters alone are a good reason to read this book, alongside with a new interview with Bart "Shane Fenton" George, one of the best specialist of video games related media controversies in France. Overall, it's a passionating book about a captivating subject.


Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation
English "Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation"
Blake J. Harris - It Books, 2014.

This book deals with the war opposing Sega to Nintendo during the 90's, in the USA, for the control of the home console market. Over 550 pages, it follows the story of Tom Kalinske, who ran Sega US branch from 1990 to 1996. The book tells the many efforts the man and his team made to push the Genesis / Megadrive onto the US market, to try to make a dent in Nintendo's near monopoly over this market. This war is made of many battles, such as an offensive marketing campaign around the game Sonic (1991) in order to mock Mario and Nintendo, or the harassment of Wal-Mart to make them sell Sega products in their stores. Thanks to a tireless work, Kalinske manages to break into Nintendo's market share, and even to steal them the leading position between 1992 and 1994. Unfortunately, this victory is short-lived. On one hand, Sega Japan, strongly disagreeing with Sega America, decides to abandon the Genesis / Megadrive in order to focus on the Saturn, while Nintendo releases Donkey Kong Country (1994), a game that will have a very strong impact on Super NES sales. More than the market failure of both the 32x and the Saturn, it's the growing tension between US and Japan branch of Sega that lead to the dismissal of Tom Kalinske in 1996, incidentally paving the way for Sega's demise in the following years. While mostly focused on the story of Tom Kalinske and Sega, this book also dedicates many chapters to what was going on at Nintendo, as well as the arrival of Sony on the market. The distinctive particularity of this truly captivating book is how it "romanticizes" history: the story is told through many dialogs, reconstructed like a novel. Even if the historical accuracy of the dialogs is far from 100%, this choice makes the books very easy to read, to the point it will "hook" you until the end. It's a excellent book about the history of video games, delivering many unique information while being as captivating as a good novel.


Les Oubliés de la Playhistoire - Intégrale de la saison 1
French "Les Oubliés de la Playhistoire - Intégrale de la saison 1"
Florent Gorges - Omaké Books, 2014.

"Les Oubliés de la Playhistoire" is French TV show broadcasted over the Nolife network, that highlights many unknown and intriguing video games. This companion book is packed with two DVDs gathering the 41 episodes of its first season. The books first details the birth of the TV show, thanks to the interview of the various people involved in the project. Each game featured in the first season of the show is then presented over two pages with a short text and several images. Therefore, this book is an excellent way to (re)discover real underdogs from the history of video games, such as a game featuring Gorbatchev (Gamabre Gorbi!) or another one designed to enhance your para-psychic powers (Mind Seeker), alongside with a lot of excellent but little-known video games (Skyblazer, Hunter, Neutopia II...).


Retro Playing Book #1 :  La Mega Drive, 25ème anniversaire
French "Retro Playing Book #1 : La Mega Drive, 25ème anniversaire"
Fabien Mellado & collectif - Retro Playing, 2014.

A 260 pages book dedicated to the history of the Genesis / Megadrive, the famous 16 bits Sega home console. The book is divided in 4 sections. The first one details the birth of the machine, while the second one is focused on the ads used by Sega to promote it ("Genesis Does!"). The third section presents a selection of emblematic Genesis titles. Each game is described over a single page with a short text and several screenshots. As this section is organized chronologically, it's a great way to realize how the game releases quality improved over time, 1992 and 1993 clearly being the best years of this console! Finally, the fourth section tackles the "legacy" of the console, by exploring the evolution of its two main series, namely Sonic and Streets of Rage, and by analyzing the influence of Genesis in pop culture. While some of its aspects are quite amateurish (layout errors, some low-quality pictures, and some texts lacking a bit of depth), this book is very pleasant to read, and its authors are clearly passionate about the subject. While it's not an as in-depth a book as Service Games: The Rise & Fall of SEGA, it's also way easier to read and richly illustrated, making it accessible to a larger audience. Last but not least, this book is sold upon a "free pricing" model, as Retro Playing editions is a non-profit organization. An original move that must be rewarded by reading this book!


Video Game Music - Histoire de la musique de jeu vidéo
French "Video Game Music - Histoire de la musique de jeu vidéo"
Damien Mecheri - Editions Pix'n Love, 2014.

Over 300 full-color pages, this book focuses on one particular aspect of video games: music. Seven thematic chapters details the impact of the technological evolution on video game music, the similarities and differences between game music and movie music, the various ways music is actually used in video games, the wave of rhythm games, and the rise of rearranged OST and concerts. Each chapter is concluded with a short biography of the main compositors cited as examples, and the last book chapter gathers very interesting interviews with several famous musicians: Jesper Kyd, Christophe Héral, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Olivier Derivière, etc. While we can find a bit regrettable that the book picks most of its examples from Japanese video games, and more specifically from J-RPG games, it still manages to offer very interesting thoughts over the video game music in general. The author is clearly passionated about music, and he successfully shares a bit of his knowledge over the topic while allowing us to discover many talented artists. A very interesting book about a rarely discussed topic.


Service Games: The Rise and Fall of SEGA (Enhanced Edition)
English "Service Games: The Rise and Fall of SEGA (Enhanced Edition)"
Sam Pettus - CreateSpace, 2013.

A book on the history of SEGA as a console manufacturer. After a brief introduction telling the birth of the company, this thick 480 pages book details the story of all its home consoles: SG-1000, Master System, Mega Drive / Genesis with its Sega CD and Sega 32X addons, Saturn and the Dreamcast. While the beginnings of SEGA and its first two consoles are explained rather quickly over 30 pages, the main part of the book details with high precision the story of its most famous consoles. About 150 pages are dedicated to the rise of the Mega Drive / Genesis, and its fall due to the Sega CD and the catastrophic Mars, Neptune and Jupiter projects leading to the Sega 32X. The costly errors SEGA made over the 32x will unfortunately not be solved by the Saturn, a dramatic failure compared to the roaring Playstation. When the company will finally be able to reflect upon its mistakes and start afresh with the Dreamcast, it will sadly be too late. When SEGA retires itself from the console market in 2001, it's an indeed tragic move but it's also the only way to avoid bankruptcy and be able to continue publishing games on the consoles of its former competitors. While the book is focused on the American side of SEGA history, a final chapter explains its complex story in the European Market. Despite being a bit dense and sometimes redundant between chapters, this book, full of content, is a real goldmine to anyone wondering about the story of SEGA, a popular company whose history is unfortunately less often studied than the one of its eternal competitor Nintendo.


Jacked : L'histoire officieuse de Grand Theft Auto
French "Jacked : L'histoire officieuse de Grand Theft Auto"
David Kushner - Editions Pix'n Love, 2013.

This book details the captivating story of the scandalous game series "Grand Theft Auto". Over 300 pages, the author tells us about the most epic moments of this saga: humble beginnings as a small arcade game made in Scotland by DMA Design; hiring Max Clifford to use media scandal as a marketing campaign; the hijacking of the series leadership by the Houser brothers and their studio Rockstar during the creation of GTA III; the first legal actions against the game series and the rise of its legendary opponent Jack Thompson; the huge "Hot Coffee" scandal; and finally the "victory" of the video games industry over Jack Thompson. The book mixes chapters dedicated to the creation of the games with others chapters focused on their most famous opponent, the lawyer Jack Thompson. It manages to make us "relive" many unknown moments of the story of GTA. While some unanswered questions remains, mainly due to the lack of direct participation of the Houser brothers in the book, it contains a lot of unique and captivating information, for both fans of the series and the others.
This book is the french translation of a English-written book titled "Jacked", published in 2012.


L'Histoire des jeux vidéo polémiques - Volume 1: Jeux de course/action et jeux érotiques
French "L'Histoire des jeux vidéo polémiques - Volume 1: Jeux de course/action et jeux érotiques"
Benjamin Berget - Mon Petit Editeur, 2013.

A series of books dedicated to videogames considered as controversial due to their content: violence, sex, promotion of an ideology. This first book in the series is dedicated to two kinds of videogames: car-action games (Death Race, Carmageddon, Grand Theft Auto) and erotic games (the Atari 2600 games by Mystique, Rapelay, Singles, 7 sins, Playboy the Mansion...). Each title is discussed through a variable number of pages, from one or two pages to more than a dozen depending on how much the author wants to discuss the game and its controversy. In addition to the game presentations, the books features three additional and very interesting chapters: a very detailed and referenced summary of the crusade started in France by the association "Familles de France" against violent videogames (undoubtedly the best chapter in the book) ; a similar (although less detailed) summary about the topic of sexism in games and about the french controversy started by Joystick magazine due to one of their article about the game Tomb Raider (2013) which was discussing rape in a very "indelicate" manner ; and two interviews. The first one is a short interview of an otaku who apparently used too much pornographic manga and videogames. The second one is a very detailed and passionating interview with Bart "Shane Fenton" George, one of the best specialist of videogames related media controversies in France.

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La saga Grand Theft Auto
French "La saga Grand Theft Auto"
Link Digital Spirit - Link Digital Spirit / Micromania, 2013.

This tiny 50 pages books aims to tell the history of the Grand Theft Auto (1997-2015) series of games. While the book offers many beautiful pictures, the text is unfortunately not up to the task. First of all, the books "forgets" about the first two episodes (barely mentioned), and begins his story with Grand Theft Auto III (Rockstar Games, 2001). Each title is then presented over a few pages. But the text only presents some numbers and a summary of each episodes features, without ever starting to tell the complex story of the series: where is the text explaining how the Houser brothers worked to "steal" the creative leadership from the series original creator, David Jones? Why isn't the book talking about the "Hot Coffe" scandal, one of the most famous affair in the history of video games? And, last but not least, where are the unique information about the series obtained through an interview with their creators? While the book is pleasant to read and to look at, it gives us the impression to have been "directed" by Rockstar, editor of the game, in order to present them in their best light, without ever going beneath the surface. To summarize, the book isn't bad in itself, but if you want to learn something about the history of the Grand Theft Auto series, you should read "Jacked" instead.
N.B.: this book was never published to retail, it was solely offered as a gift by Micromania, a french video game shop brand, to any customer who pre-ordered Grand Theft Auto V.


Games History - tome 3 : Histoire du jeu de course auto
French "Games History - tome 3 : Histoire du jeu de course auto"
Collectif - PK Editions, 2013.

Games History is a series of magazines in a book-like format (similar to Pix'n Love and IG), with 200 pages dedicated to a defined genre of video games. This third issue is focused on the history of racing games on home consoles. The book starts with a brief general history of racing games on arcade cabinets (70-80's) and on 90's home consoles. It then goes into more details about popular series such as Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsport, Ridge Racer, Need for Speed, Burnout, Formula One, Colin McRae Rally, etc. While it's not a in-depth book (the idea of the series is apparently to make players discover games rather than explaining their history), we can clearly feel and embrace the passion of the authors for the topic. Many pictures are also enriching the book. Unfortunately, compared to the previous book dedicated to vs. fighting games , this one is less inspired and way more messy. The quality of articles varies greatly from one author to another, and from one game to another. The most common flaw is the author trying to detail all the episodes of a popular series without having the required space to really explain the unique features of each episode. After reading this book, I'm sadly left with an "incomplete information" feeling. However, this book still offers a long list of racing games with a lot of images, alongside with a short personal opinion from the authors about each game.


Joypads ! : Le design des manettes
French "Joypads ! : Le design des manettes"
Nicolas Nova, Laurent Bolli - Les moutons électriques, 2013.

As the title implies, this book tackles the history of videogames through a quite unique viewpoint: gamepads. This book analyses each and every gamepad released for a home console, from the Atari 2600 controllers to Xbox 360 ones. It is divided in five parts. The first one goes through the early beginnings of game controllers : it analyses the ones created for Spacewar! and Tennis for Two, among others. The second part is dedicated to the evolution of controllers handling, and details how the various existing shapes evolved: the flat and squared NES pad, the round Dreamcast controller, the "two-horns" Playstation controllers... The third part dissects the different controlling modes designed to navigated in space (joystick, directional cross, thumbstick), while the fourth one focuses on the action buttons (switches, triggers, turbo buttons) and the last one on strange stuffs like pads-embedded microphones, screens or fans. The main strength of this book is to continuously draw connections between the analysis of game controllers and the evolution of games themselves: introduction of 3D gaming, of casual gaming... The illustrations at the center of book thus feature wonderful schematics summarizing the various "historical line" of gamepads, alongside with color photographs of every home console controller released. A interesting book with an unusual approach to the history of videogames.


La Révolution PlayStation - Les hommes de l'ombre
French "La Révolution PlayStation - Les hommes de l'ombre"
Ryoji Akagawa - Editions Pix'n Love, 2012.

This book unveils the story of a very important home console: the Sony PlayStation. Thanks to the interviews of more than twenty people who worked on this project, the author, also a member of the team, invites us to a journey behind the scenes of the creation process of this console. By mixing these various interviews, each chapter of the book details the different stages of the PlayStation project: an awkward beginning when Sony partnered with Nintendo to create a CD-Rom drive for the Super NES; the choice to venture alone with a technically top-notch console; the way Sony seduced third-party developers; the outstanding marketing campaign; and finally a commercial and cultural success at the end of the line. A book full of unique information, that should be read alongside with La Révolution PlayStation - Ken Kutaragi as it completes it quite admirably.


La Révolution PlayStation - Ken Kutaragi
French "La Révolution PlayStation - Ken Kutaragi"
Reiji Asakura - Editions Pix'n Love, 2012.

This book unveils the story of a very important home console: the Sony PlayStation. It focuses on Ken Kutaragi, the key person in this project, who is today acknowledged as the "father of the Playstation." The author tells us how this visionary engineer lead Sony to tackle the home video game console market, in spite of the vigorous opposition shown by many other people in the company. Each chapter of the book details the different stages of the PlayStation project: the initial inspiration of Kutaragi when he discovered the System G; an awkward beginning when Sony partnered with Nintendo to create a CD-Rom drive for the Super NES; the choice to venture alone with a technically top-notch console; the struggle to defend this project inside Sony; the way Sony seduced third-party developers; the outstanding marketing campaign; and finally a commercial and cultural success at the end of the line. A truly captivating story, that explains how Sony managed to steal the dominant market position from Nintendo and Sega. A book that should be read alongside with La Révolution PlayStation - les hommes de l'ombre, as it features interviews with the many people that worked with Kutaragi on this project.
This book is the french translation of the english-written book "Revolutionaries at Sony", published in 2000.


Les jeux vidéo au cinéma
French "Les jeux vidéo au cinéma"
Alexis Blanchet - Armand Collin, 2012.

This book is full of beautiful pictures presenting several examples of movies based on video games (Super Mario Bros, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Doom, Silent Hill...), alongside with movies inspired by the video game culture (The Last Starfighter, Tron, Wargames, Avalon, Gamer, The Lawnmower Man...). Easy and pleasant to read, this book is an excellent introduction to the topic of relationships between video games and movies.


Nolife Story
French "Nolife Story"
Florent Gorges - Omake Books, 2012.

This book tells the story of the french TV channel Nolife, dedicated to the japanese culture, and more specifically to mangas, animes and videogames. Thanks to numerous in-depth interviews and several photos, the author of this book invite us to a journey through the main steps that led to the creation of Nolife in 2007: the childhood of Sébastien Ruchet and Alex Pilot (the two charismatic creators of the channel) ; the creation of their first TV documentaries for Game One (a french television channel dedicated to videogames) ; and the "assault course" path to launch this channel, at first solely broadcasted through ADSL. The various programs and the different journalist/animators of the channel are also detailed and interviewed, which strengthen the captivating and touching human story told in this excellent book.


Games History - tome 2 : Histoire du jeu de baston 2D
French "Games History - tome 2 : Histoire du jeu de baston 2D"
Collectif - PK Editions, 2012.

Games History is a series of magazines in a book-like format (similar to Pix'n Love and IG), with 200 pages dedicated to a defined genre of video games. This second issue is focused on the history of 2D versus fighting games. The book thus retrace the history of popular series such as Street Fighter, King of Fighters, Guilty Gear, Mortal Kombat, Fatal Fury, Darkstalkers, Samurai Shodown, Killer Instinct, alongside with some less known titles like Arcana Hearts or Battle Fantasia. While it's not a in-depth book (the idea of the series is apparently to make players discover games rather than explaining their history), we can clearly feel and embrace the passion of the authors for the topic. Many pictures are also enriching the book. Besides the presentation of the games, we like the fact that a book section is also dedicated to movies and animes adaptations of the most popular series (Street Fighter, among others), and that several interviews are closing the book. These interviews with Ken Bogard (tournament commentator), Kayane (professional player) and the organizers of the Stunfest festival and the World Game Cup allow us to discover the passionating, albeit unsung, world of professional fighting games tournaments.


Jacked: The unauthorized behind-the-scenes story of Grand Theft Auto
English "Jacked: The unauthorized behind-the-scenes story of Grand Theft Auto"
David Kushner - Collins, 2012.

This book details the captivating story of the scandalous game series "Grand Theft Auto". Over 300 pages, the author tells us about the most epic moments of this saga: humble beginnings as a small arcade game made in Scotland by DMA Design; hiring Max Clifford to use media scandal as a marketing campaign; the hijacking of the series leadership by the Houser brothers and their studio Rockstar during the creation of GTA III; the first legal actions against the game series and the rise of its legendary opponent Jack Thompson; the huge "Hot Coffee" scandal; and finally the "victory" of the video games industry over Jack Thompson. The book mixes chapters dedicated to the creation of the games with others chapters focused on their most famous opponent, the lawyer Jack Thompson. It manages to make us "relive" many unknown moments of the story of GTA. While some unanswered questions remains, mainly due to the lack of direct participation of the Houser brothers in the book, it contains a lot of unique and captivating information, for both fans of the series and the others.
This book was translated into french in 2013 under the title "Jacked".


DownLoad : L'ouvrage des jeux dématérialisés
French "DownLoad : L'ouvrage des jeux dématérialisés"
Collectif - Console Syndrome, 2011.

DownLoad is a magazine dedicated to videogames available solely through online distribution channels, with a clear focus towards indie games. About ten titles are detailed in each issue, with an in-depth interview of the game creators, who provide us with many unique and interesting details about how they made their game. This magazine, which looks more like a book (thick paper, content not directly related to current news but focused on in-depth interviews...), has unfortunately stopped after the first issue. It's dedicated to the following games: From Dust, Bastion, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Outland, 'Splosion Man, Blocks that Matter and The Dishwasher.

 


L'histoire de Mario
French "L'histoire de Mario"
William Audureau - Editions Pix'n Love, 2011.

Without a doubt, this book is the most interesting story about the birth of Mario available! Written in the spirit of a PhD thesis (analysis of references in order to build and prove an hypothesis) while remaining easy to read, this book finally answers to a fundamental question: why Mario? In other words, this book will tell you how and why this character became the icon of Nintendo instead of a then more popular character: Donkey Kong. A book that any Mario fan should read as they will discover many original information and trivia about the jumping Italian plumber.
This book was translated into English under the title "The History of Mario: 1981-1991 Rise of an Icon from Myth to Reality" in 2014.


L'Histoire de Nintendo - volume 3 : 1983-2003
French "L'Histoire de Nintendo - volume 3 : 1983-2003"
Florent Gorges - Omake Books / Editions Pix'n Love, 2011.

Over a series of 7 books, Florent Gorges wrote the most complete history of Nintendo. The texts are easy to read and full of unique information, and are illustrated with many pictures of all the games and toys created by the company. This third book in the series is focused on the most famous home console built by Nintendo: the NES / Famicom, and reveals much details about the birth of this machine and its impact in Japan, US and France. An  absolutely recommended book to read.


Des Pixels à Hollywood
French "Des Pixels à Hollywood"
Alexis Blanchet - Editions Pix'n Love, 2010.

This book deals with the rich history of videogames and cinema, and more specifically their relations with American movies. The author details with a high level of precision the various links between the movie and videogame industries, such as the numerous movies-games and games-movies adaptions. But the author doesn't remain at a surface level, he pursues his analysis at a deep level: he studies the evolution of games-movies relations according to the different economical eras of the videogames industry. Indeed, the interest of the Hollywood majors for videogames varied greatly according the kind of dominant players in the industry, which ranged from toy makers (Nintendo, Mattel) to entertainment corporations (Warner) and electronic/computer giants (Sony, Microsoft). This brilliant book is a "general public" version of Alexis Blanchet's PhD thesis, who successfully managed to present the results of his academical research in a clear and simple manner, while keeping intact its precision and richness. An excellent book, that anyone showing interest in videogames and/or movies should read.


Les Chroniques de Player One
French "Les Chroniques de Player One"
Olivier Richard, Alain Kahn - Pika Edition, 2010.

This books tells the history of Player One, a French magazine dedicated to home videogames and manga, alongside with its various spin-offs such as Nintendo Player, Ultra Player, Manga Player and Player Station. Thanks to the interviews with most of the journalists who wrote for it, this 300 pages books gathers a lot of unique information. It starts with an introduction detailing the arrival of Manga and Anime in France, a context in which a company called Média Système Edition first launched Amstrad CPC magazine. It continued in September 1990 with the release of Player One, that will host journalists like Crevette, Matt Murdock, Wonder Fra, El Didou, Goombas... Besides a detailed history of the magazine life, that greatly helped videogames and manga to be recognized in France, this captivating book achieves to share the unique working environment of Player One editorial board: reviewers playing games all night long to write walkthroughs; homemade techniques to capture screenshot from CRT television sets; the fight for exclusive news; the first TV game shows in France; the videogames conventions; and of course the various journalist feuds! The books also explores the way videogames and manga went, from 1990 to 2010, to being an unknown leisure for freaks to a popular and nationwide culture in France. More than the history of one of the most important French videogaming magazine, this excellent book delivers a testimony of the long quest for recognition of videogames and manga in the French society.


L'Histoire de Nintendo - volume 2 : 1980-1991
French "L'Histoire de Nintendo - volume 2 : 1980-1991"
Florent Gorges - Editions Pix'n love, 2009.

Over a series of 7 books, Florent Gorges wrote the most complete history of Nintendo. The texts are easy to read and full of unique information, and are illustrated with many pictures of all the games and toys created by the company. This second book in the series is focused on the "Game & Watch", a series of portable electronic games that all kids over the worlds used to enjoy. An absolute must-read book.
This book was translated into English in 2012 under the title "The History of Nintendo: 1980-1991."


Japan Arcade Mania! The Turbo-Charged World of Japan's Game Centers
French "Japan Arcade Mania! The Turbo-Charged World of Japan's Game Centers"
Brian Ashcraft, Jean Snow - Editions Pix'n Love, 2009.

This book is dedicated to arcade video games in Japan. Each of the 9 chapters of this book is dedicated to a specific kind of arcade game: UFO Catchers (mechanical games where you have to catch objects with a grip), Puriruka (improved photo booths loved by teenagers girls), rhythm games, shoot'em ups, fighting games, games of chance (Pachinko, Mahjong...), dedicated arcade games (for those seeking adrenaline through Taikan games), retrogaming (arcade games from the 80's and 90's still played today), and games featuring collectable cards. Each chapter briefly details the history of this kind of arcade games, and highlights its most famous titles. Moreover, the book also follows several expert players, from Yuka Nakajima, the 30 years old mother queen of UFO catchers, to Daigo "The Beast" Umehara, arguably the best Street Fighter player in the world. Written in a easy to read style, this book, also featuring loads of pictures, is a deep dive inside an unknown but interesting videogame subculture. A captivating book, full of unique information about what is happening inside the Japanese "Game Centers."
This book is the French translation of an English-written book titled "Arcade Mania", published in 2008.


IG Magazine
French "IG Magazine"
Bounthavy Suvilay, Collectif - Ankama Presse, 2009.

IG Magazine is a journal, issued every 2 months, with a format that is half-way between a book and a regular journal. Each issue comes with more than 250 pages dedicated to the current trends, the economy, the culture and the history of videogames. IG magazine was published between March 2009 and July 2013, for a total of 27 regular issues and 10 additional "special issues." It was an excellent journal, the only french journal that was able to talk about current videogames topics while targeting adult readers. We will miss it deeply...

Official website : http://mookoflove.netsan.fr/page/IG-Magazine.aspx
L'Histoire de Nintendo - volume 1 : 1889-1980
French "L'Histoire de Nintendo - volume 1 : 1889-1980"
Florent Gorges - Editions Pix'n love, 2008.

Over a series of 7 books, Florent Gorges wrote the most complete history of Nintendo. The texts are easy to read and full of unique information, and are illustrated with many pictures of all the games and toys created by the company. This first book in the series is focused on the numerous creations made by Nintendo before entering the video and electronic games market: playing cards, toys, arcades, and some weird stuffs like office supplies. An absolute must-read book.
This book was translated into English in 2012 under the title "The History of Nintendo: 1889-1980."


Dungeons & Desktops : The History of Computer Role-Playing Games
English "Dungeons & Desktops : The History of Computer Role-Playing Games"
Matt Barton - A K Peters, 2008.

This is an heavy-weight (450 pages) book dedicated to the history of computer role-playing games. The purpose of the book isn't to provide information about how the game were made (there is no developer interview here), but to picture a general overview of the role-playing game genre through a detailed presentation of the most influential titles. The book is organized in chronological order. Each chapter focuses on a selection of games coming from a specific era: the pen-and-paper role-playing game origins (Dungeons & Dragons, etc.), the first computer role-playing games (Dungeon, DnD, etc.), MUDs, "golden age" games from the 80's (Ultima, SSI's Goldbox series, Might & Magic, Wizardry, etc.), "platinum age" games from the 90's (Daggerfall, Baldur's Gate, Planescape Torment, etc.), as well as modern games such as MMORPGs (Meridian 59, Ultima Online, Everquest, World of Warcraft, etc.). While it remains pleasant and easy to read, the large scope and the richness of the descriptions is quite impressive in this book. We can feel that the author actually played, if not completed, every game he mentions. For each title, the author writes down a quick summary of the plot, alongside with an analysis of the main game mechanics. The book is indeed written in an analytical tone, as the author tries to step back from his selection of games to analyze how they influenced each other over time. Overall, it's a brilliant and captivating book. It also manages to communicate the vibrant passion of the author for the role-playing game genre.


Pix'n Love
French "Pix'n Love"
Collectif - Editions Pix'n Love, 2007.

Pix'n Love is a journal dedicated to the history of videogames. It uses a format that is half-way between a book and a regular journal. The 128 pages of each issue explores in great details the history of a selection of games and machines, ranging from the highly popular ones (Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Megaman, Rayman, etc.) to the nearly unknown games. Each article is generally written after the interview of the creators, allowing Pix'n Love to provide the reader with a lot of novel and unique information about each game and machine discussed. The journal also features a news section, dedicated to the release of new homebrew games for old consoles and computers. A journal that anyone interested in videogames should read, from the simple gamer to the videogames history enthusiast.

Official website : http://mookoflove.netsan.fr/page/Pix-n-Love.aspx
On the Edge: The Spectacular Rise And Fall of Commodore
English "On the Edge: The Spectacular Rise And Fall of Commodore"
Brian Bagnall - Variant Press, 2006.

This book details the history of Commode, a company who built legendary computers such as the Commodore PET, theVIC-20, the Commodore 64 and the Amiga. Over more than 550 pages, this book presents the full history of the company, with incredible details and a lot of unique information obtained through interviews with former employees. The story begins in 1976 with Chuck Peddle, an engineer working for MOS Technology, who designed a microprocessor called 6502. It was the first one to be cheap enough (25$) to be included in consumer electronics. It's used as the CPU of many early micro-computers, such as the PET, the VIC-20, the Apple I and II, the Atari 400/800 and the BBC Micro. And it's also used inside two legendary home video game consoles: the Atari 2600 and the Nintendo NES. In 1976, Commodore buys MOS Technology, a move allowing it to enter the burgeoning micro-computer market. The story of the company is then full of intense moments, such as the phenomenal success of the Commodore 64 (1982), the spectacular departure of the company founder Jack Tramiel in 1984, who in turns buys out Atari and becomes the number one competitor of the Commodore Amiga (1985) with the Atari ST (1985), and the slow descent to hell that forced Commodore to close its doors in 1994. More than the simple history of an hardware manufacturer, this books tells a captivating human story, full of unique characters (Jack Tramiel, Chuck Peddle, Jay Miner, RJ Mical, Bill Herd...) who lived through events that deeply contributed to many innovations defining the world of computers and video games. An heavily recommended book.


Dungeons and Dreamers
English "Dungeons and Dreamers"
Brad King, John Borland - Osborne / McGraw-Hill, 2003.

This book focuses on the history of role-playing and adventure games made in the USA. The central theme of the book is the truly captivating story of Richard Garriott, the creator of famous rpg saga Ultima (1981-1999). The book details his path starting with his teenage years, when he discovered Dungeons & Dragons, a game that will greatly influence his first amateurs creations on the Apple II. After two years of work, he attempts to sell his first "real" game, Akalabehth (1980), by putting a copy of the game disk inside zip-lock bags, and gives them to the nearby computer store. Despite a very limited distribution, this game caught the attention of an editor, California Pacific, who will launch Garriott's career by editing his second game, Ultima I (1981). After a brief collaboration with Sierra On-line for Ultima II (1982), he founds his own company: Origin Systems. The book then details the creation of the other Ultima episodes, including the birth of Ultima Online (1997), that popularized the MMORPG game genre. Besides Garriott's story, the books also deals heavily with the story of id Software, the company behind Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake. In addition to these games, the book explains the culture that surrounds them: LAN parties, online gaming, modding, etc. Beyond these two main topics, the book also goes briefly over other stories, such as the ones of Adventure, Zork, Sim City and violence in video games. In the end, the 250 pages of this book are an excellent report of the history of video games viewed from the city of Austin, Texas (USA), where both Origin Systems and id Software are born. The passionating story of Richard Garriott, full of unique information, is clearly the main feature of this really excellent book.


Masters of Doom
English "Masters of Doom"
David Kushner - Random House, 2003.

This book tells the story of id Software, the company that created the game "Doom". It mainly focuses on the life of the two key people of the studio, John Romero and John Carmack, from their first experience with videogames during their youth to their split-up after the massive success of "Quake". It also goes through the numerous hits that they created throughout their careers: "Commander Keen", "Wolfenstein 3D" and of course "Doom". Full of unique information and trivia, this book is also written in a very fluid style, which makes it both captivating and instructive. The book is some kind of substitute that allows us to experience the key moments of the life of two videogame geniuses, such as the atmosphere of the country house they rented to created "Wolfenstein 3D", how they chose to sell their games as sharewares without telling their employer first, or when they first uploaded the Doom shareware version to a BBS. Besides an exploration of an important part of the history of videogames (the birth of the FPS game genre and their culture, the shareware wave, the first LAN parties, etc.), this book provides us with an entertaining story full of unexpected events, that matches the quality of the best thriller novels. This book is simply fascinating, and it is therefore strongly recommended to any videogames fan.


Biography

Sur les traces de Miyamoto - 1952-1986 : de Sonobe à Hyrule
French "Sur les traces de Miyamoto - 1952-1986 : de Sonobe à Hyrule"
William Audureau - Editions Pix'n Love, 2014.

The first part of a non-official biography of Shigeru Miyamoto, famous creator of Mario and Zelda. William Audureau, a keen expert of his works, invites us to a journey through his life, from his childhood to the release of the first Zelda episode in 1986. In the absence of a direct involvement from Miyamoto in the book, the author relies on more than 150 of his interviews published in press, alongside with a trip to Japan. Very easy and pleasant to read, this book manages to go beyond "instant genius" image usually associated to Shigeru Miyamoto. Instead of the myth, the book tries to present us the man he really is. Born in 1952, in a small country town, he grow up before the rise of video games. Failing to became a mangaka, he studies industrial design. Thanks to one of his father's connection, he gets hired at Nintendo, then a middle-sized toy company. His first tasks are far from extraordinary: he illustrates playing cards, he design the shells of Nintendo's Pong consoles, and create graphics for the first video game created by the company. Despite a heavy working capacity, his perfectionism and his great intellectual curiosity, he remains a simple illustrator. Luck finally offers him a real opportunity with the Donkey Kong project, for which he works under the direction of the wonderful Gunpei Yokoi. Miyamoto's ambition helps him to use this experience to show his outstanding skills at creating characters, while Nintendo is elaborating the NES. Miyamoto is then offered to co-run a game creation team for this new machine. Kung-Fu, Devil World and Excite Bike helps him to perfect his game design skills with his new colleague, Takashi Tezuka. The creative duo then proceed to create Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. The rich story of these two games is brilliantly told throughout the book. Overall, it's a captivating book about an equally captivating man.


Eric Chahi : Parcours d'un créateur de jeux vidéo français
French "Eric Chahi : Parcours d'un créateur de jeux vidéo français"
Daniel Ichbiah - Pix'n Love, 2013.

The biography of Eric Chahi, a famous french creator behind the international hit Another World / Out of this World (1991). Full of pictures, this book details the main events of his career. As he is a talented but shy creator, this book doesn't detail his private life, only the videogames he created. He began when he was still at high-school, by creating games for Oric-1 and Amstrad CPC, such as Le Pacte (1986), a game that pushed him to abandon his studies at the age of 19 to pursue a full time career making videogames. His first professional projects were unfortunately no as good as excepted, until he had the opportunity to creates beautiful graphics for the game Les Voyageurs du Temps / Future Wars - Adventures in Time (1989). Success continues when Eric Chahi decides to spend two whole years to create, alone, one of the most important title in videogame history: Another World / Out of this World (1991). After this success, he goes on with an even bigger game,  Heart of Darkness (1998), whose development unfortunately doesn't go very well, as brilliantly told in the book. Exhausted, he decides to take a nearly 10 years break from videogames, and travels around the world to take pictures of deserts and active volcanoes. This trip seem to have nourished his latest game, From Dust (2011), a beautiful love song to Mother Nature... In the end, this biography allows us to revisit the professional career of Eric Chahi, a talented and unique videogame creator, without entering in his intimacy.


Minecraft - The Unlikely Tale of Markus "Notch" Persson and the Game that Changed Everything
English "Minecraft - The Unlikely Tale of Markus "Notch" Persson and the Game that Changed Everything"
Daniel Goldberg, Linus Larsson - Seven Stories Press, 2013.

The biography of Markus "Notch" Persson, and his world famous creation: Minecraft (2011). This books details the birth of this legendary game, and it begins with the end of the story: the MineCon convention held up in 2011 to celebrate the official release of the 1.0 version of the game. At this date, the game was already played by 16 millions people in the world, making both Markus Persson and his company, Mojang, millionaires. The book then goes back to Notch's childhood, from his passion with LEGO to the discovery of computer programming. Once he completed school, young Markus Persson starts his career by working in several companies related to Internet and video games, but it doesn't makes him happy. So he keeps on designing amateur video games after work, for his own pleasure, like many other enthusiasts. After a first project created with Rolf Jansson, Wurm Online, Notch imagines a new game inspired both by Infiniminer and Dwarf Fortress. Started in 2009, Minecraft is sold according to an original scheme: people pay once to get immediate access the game  in its current state, and they will get all upcoming versions for free. Thanks to its originality and how it allows players to express their creativity, the game encounters a growing success over Internet, to the point that Markus Persson earns enough money to focus on the game full time, allowing it to become the phenomenon we know today. Full of unique information obtained through interview with Notch, his family and his colleagues, this 250 pages book is really captivating and well written. A book that any fan of the game should read, along with anyone wondering about "indie video games."


Tu le crois ça ?
French "Tu le crois ça ?"
Julien Chièze - Editions Pix'n Love, 2013.

The biography of Alain Huyghues -Lacour, a famous french journalist specialized in videogames, better known as "AHL." This book tells us the quite unusual life of a young musician who ended up being a videogame journalist, with unique in-between jobs such as being the personal secretary of the singer Demis Roussos. This book is divided in very short chapters (4-8 pages) detailling both the musical career of Alain, and the career of AHL in the world of french videogaming press. And it's a world that AHL knows quite well, as he has been a journalist for Tilt, then the editor-in-chief of Joystick, Joypad, Mega Force, Nintendo Magazine and Console+, and he is now a member of Gameblog.fr. The book delivers many interesting trivia and funny stories. The author of the book, Julien Chièze, managed to capture and share both the "simple & direct" style of AHL and his passion for videogames. My only complaint would be that the main book story is regularly "halted" by chapters where AHL tells us about his favorite games or consoles, but it doesn't change the fact that this book tells us a very interesting story. A captivating and rare book about the history of the videogaming press in France.


Jeuxvideo.com : Une odyssée interactive
French "Jeuxvideo.com : Une odyssée interactive"
Sébastien Pissavy - Editions Pix'n Love, 2013.

The biography of Sébastien Pissavy, founder of the famous french gaming news website "jeuxvideo.com." The author tells us about the birth of this website and the company behind it, "l'Odyssée Interactive." It all began with the "ETJAV", the french videogames cheat codes encyclopedia, which was distributed to friends and through some magazines. Then came the ETAJV minitel service, alongside with the founding of a company that will later create a website featuring the same cheat codes, but also very popular online forums and an excellent news service that made it (and stills makes it) the most popular french gaming website available. A very interesting book, easy enough to read that you'll go through its 250 pages in a flash!


The Making of Karateka: Journals 1982-1985
English "The Making of Karateka: Journals 1982-1985 "
Jordan Mechner - Createspace, 2012.

This autobiography is composed by the personal journal of Jordan Mechner during the creation of his famous game Karateka (1984). The authors tells us about his thoughts, his doubts, his joy, and more specifically about the different steps towards the creation of this popular game. A very interesting read, despite a rather "rough" writing style : this book allows you to literally enter inside the head of Jordan Mechner, a creative genius with a lot more doubts and fears that we could have imagined. This book is a must-read for any game designer out there (or anyone wanting to become one), because it will allow you to "live" the painful, long, and difficult road of a creating a videogame as an indie.


Terrible Nerd
English "Terrible Nerd"
Kevin Savetz - Savetz Publishing, 2012.

The biography of Kevin Savetz, a computer and video games journalist, who is also a real "geek", in the positive meaning of this word. In this book, he tells us about his childhood and grown-up years, deeply tied to the main technological evolutions of the 80-90's: the rise of personal computing, the birth of video games, the BBS networks, and of course Internet. Born in the beginning of the 70's, Kevin Savetz grew up in company of the Channel F, the Intellivision, the TI 99/4A, the Atari 800, the Apple II, and the IBM PC, among others. Thanks to his very absorbing writing style, the author manages to make us feel like we are living moments like the discovery of the BBS networks, the rampant computer games piracy culture of the 80's, the thrill of playing LambdaMOO, and the fun of his first Internet-related jobs like building professional websites and writing for the AOL newsletter. A captivating book, recommended to anyone wondering about the birth of the culture underneath the technology that is now part of your daily lives.


Yoshihisa Kishimoto : Enter the Double Dragon
French "Yoshihisa Kishimoto : Enter the Double Dragon"
Florent Gorges - Editions Pix'n Love, 2012.

The biography of Yoshihisa Kishimoto, a japanese game creator unknown by the general public, although he created one of the most famous videogame series: "Double Dragon". This well written book is full of pictures and starts by telling you the childhood of this little-known genius, alongside with his thug-like youth where he was always eager to fight inside and outside of school. He hopefully changed his lifestyle before becoming a real criminal. Fond of movies, he then started to create arcade games that helped to move forward the interactive movies genre, with titles like "Thunder Storm" and "Road Avenger". His main video game creation remains "Kunio-Kun", which, alongside with its sequel "Double Dragon", defined the popular "beat'em up" genre. These games, where you play as a character who has to fight many others ones in the street, were clearly nourished by his thug years. After these worldwide successes, Kishimoto continued his career by creating lower profile games as an independent game designer. Most of these later games are still truly interesting, such as the board game "Vier". This passionating book is a real tribute to the career of this talented game designer with an uncommon life. Hence, we warmly recommend it to any videogame amateur.


Ralph Baer : Mémoires du père des jeux vidéo
French "Ralph Baer : Mémoires du père des jeux vidéo"
Ralph Baer - Editions Pix'n Love, 2012.

The autobiography of Ralph Baer, the inventor of home video game consoles. Released in 1972, the Magnavox Odyssey is one of the starting points of the history of video games. First of all, it's the first video console solely dedicated to games. Moreover, one of its titles, Ping-Pong, was a direct source of inspiration for Atari to create Pong. Through a book featuring many pictures, Ralph Baer details us the process he followed to invent this first console ever. As a natural-born engineer, he kept many documents now featured in this book, from the notes he took when he first this idea in 1966, to the various prototypes he built to design the final version of the Odyssey in 1972. The book also explains the various steps of the legal battle between Magnavox, Atari and Nintendo about the paternity of video games. Last but not least, Ralph Baer also presents his other notables inventions, such as the famous electronic game Simon (1979), and several interactive video devices, a technology used for applications ranging from kids entertainment to military training. This book is incredibly rich of unique content, and must be read by anyone interested in the beginnings of the history of video games.
This book is the French translation of a book titled "Videogames: In the Beginning", published in 2005.


The Making of Prince of Persia: Journals 1985 - 1993
English "The Making of Prince of Persia: Journals 1985 - 1993"
Jordan Mechner - Createspace, 2011.

This autobiography is composed by the personal journal of Jordan Mechner during the creation of his famous game Prince of Persia (1989). The authors tells us about his thoughts, his doubts, his joy, and more specifically about the different steps towards the creation of this classic game. A very interesting read, despite a rather "rough" writing style : this book allows you to literally enter inside the head of Jordan Mechner, a creative genius with a lot more doubts and fears that we could have imagined. This book is a must-read for any game designer out there (or anyone wanting to become one), because it will allow you to "live" the painful, long, and difficult road of a creating a videogame as an indie.


Gunpei Yokoi : Vie et philosophie du dieu des jouets Nintendo
French "Gunpei Yokoi : Vie et philosophie du dieu des jouets Nintendo"
Takefumi Makino, Florent Gorges - Editions Pix'n Love, 2010.

The biography of Gunpei Yokoi, one of the most creative employee Nintendo ever had. He is the creator of the Game & Watch, the Gameboy and the Virtual Boy, among others popular toys. This book is an excellent companion to the book series about the history of Nintendo, and offers many details about each creation of this little known genius. Besides the games and toys, this book also deals with the man itself, and more specificially with his famous "lateral thinking for old technologies" philosophy, that states the creation of products in a sector A with old and proofed technologies coming from a sector B. This philosophy was the main guideline for the creation of the Gameboy, which, thanks to its old but trusty black and white screen, allowed to play for hours with only two batteries, while its main competitor the Game Gear required six batteries for less than two hours of play on its brand new color screen. In the end, the history will clearly show that Gunpei Yokoi made the right call... This book is vibrant tribute to this man who made countless positive things for videogames (and for Nintendo), but who sadly disappeared in 1997 during a car accident. This book is well written, full of beautiful pictures, and truly touching during its last pages, so we definitively recommend it to anyone without any hesitation.


Michel Ancel : Biographie d'un créateur de jeux vidéo français
French "Michel Ancel : Biographie d'un créateur de jeux vidéo français"
Daniel Ichbiah, Sébastien Mirc - Editions Pix'n Love, 2010.

The biography of Michel Ancel, a french game designer, who is famous for creating the "Rayman" and "Raving Rabbids" series. This book details the creations of this famous game designer, by presenting the main steps of his career: the childhood of Michel Ancel, his first professionnal videogames, Rayman, Beyond Good & Evil, King Kong, Raving Rabbids, and Rayman Origins. Each chapter features an interview of someone who worked with Michel Ancel or who is part of his private life, in order to help us understand the personality of this very reserved game creator. Full of illustrations and easy to read, this book invites you to go through the career of a Game Designer who stayed in a single company, Ubisoft. When we think of it, the ludography of Michel Ancel is rather representative of the historical evolution of the whole AAA videogame industry: from crafty games to industrial ones with an ever-growing budget, to a recent shift towards smaller production teams influenced by the current trend of "indie" games.


Takahashi Meijin : Autobiographie d'une idole du jeu vidéo au Japon
French "Takahashi Meijin : Autobiographie d'une idole du jeu vidéo au Japon"
Takahashi Meijin, Florent Gorges - Editions Pix'n Love, 2010.

The autobiography of Takahashi Meigin, someone relatively unknown here but known by every gamer in Japan. He spent most of his career as a employee in Hudson Soft, a game development studio who created the "Bomberman" and the "Mario Party" series, among many others popular titles. But Takashi Meijin wasn't a regular employee: instead of designing videogames, he was hired to advertise them. A remarkably skilled videogame player, he was casted as living legend during the NES/Famicom era in Japan. He was the only recognizable "face" of videogames for any Japanese kid and their parents during the 80's. He was featured in TV shows and commercials, and he was also touring around Japan in order to run videogames contests and live demonstrations. During these events, he would demonstrate his videogaming skills such as the unique ability to mash up gamepad buttons up to 16 times per second. Last but not least, he would be also given the rare honor of becoming a videogame main character in the "Adventure Island" series. Full of illustrations, easy to read, and filled with unique information, this captivating book will offer you a rich picture of the cultural impact the home videogames had on the Japanese society.


Inspiration For The Interactive Generation
English "Inspiration For The Interactive Generation"
Mat Dickie - Createspace, 2009.

Who said that you had to be famous in order to write down your own autobiography? In this book, Mat Dickie, an indie video game creator, tells us about his personal life alongside with the various games he created during his 10 years career. While we can smile at the fact that the oversized ego of this unknown author led him to write such a book, it's a quite interesting book for the videogame history specialists. It tells us the life of a British kid born in the 80's, fan of videogames, who started to create his own games as an amateur before creating a one-man company to start selling them. While Mat Dickie is quite unknown, even in the indie scene, he nevertheless managed to keep is company afloat and to create an audience for his games by focusing on a nice genre: wrestling videogames. This book deals with a very common kind of videogame creator that is unfortunately ignored by history books: the amateur who becomes a professional indie with small success but enough money to earn his living. Such game designers usually remain in the dark, which can be frustrating to some of them, sometimes enough to make them write their autobiography. It also means that this book, which contains a quite unusual story, can help us to widen our definition of what a professional videogame creator is.


Citizen Game
French "Citizen Game"
Nicolas Gaume - Editions Anne Carrière, 2006.

The autobiography of Nicolas Gaume, founder of the french game studio Kalisto, which created some of the finest videogames during the 90's: Pac-in-time, Nightmare Creatures, Ultim@te Race Pro, Dark Earth, etc. Praised for the quality of its creations, this studio unfortunately closed its door in the 2000's, mainly due to the financial crisis caused by the burst of the ".com economy" bubble. This rare book is a detailed legacy of the quick transformation of the AAA videogames industry from amateurish creations to an industrial process with ever-growing costs. This book is both passionating and touching, and we warmly recommend it to anyone interested in videogames.


Confessions of the Game Doctor
English "Confessions of the Game Doctor"
Bill Kunkel - Rolenta Press, 2005.

Bill Kunkel, usually known as "The Game Doctor", is one of the videogaming press pioneers in the USA. With his lifetime friend Arnie Katz, he started to write down articles about videogames in 1978, for the Video magazine. In 1981, the two pioneers launched Electronic Games, the first magazine dedicated to videogames published in the USA - if not in the world. This autobiographic book gathers numerous trivia and short stories coming from the career of Bill Kunkel: the birth of Electronic Games ; its tragic death in 1985 in the wake of the big American videogame crash ; his participation to several important trials such as the ones of K.C. Munchkin vs. Pac-Man, the Game Genie, and Street Fighter II vs. Fighter's History ; his encounters with famous game creators such as Alexey Pajitnov (Tetris) or Richard Garriot (Ultima) ; alongside with many entertaining stories from the small world of videogames press in the USA - the conventions, the journalists, the rise and fall of magazines... This books is a captivating testimony full of unique information about the videogames history, coming from someone who wrote about them since their very early days. A precious book, even more important as Bill Kunkel unfortunately passed away in 2011.


Videogames: In the Beginning
English "Videogames: In the Beginning"
Ralph Baer - Rolenta Press, 2005.

The autobiography of Ralph Baer, the inventor of home video game consoles. Released in 1972, the Magnavox Odyssey is one of the starting points of the history of video games. First of all, it's the first video console solely dedicated to games. Moreover, one of its titles, Ping-Pong, was a direct source of inspiration for Atari to create Pong. Through a book featuring many pictures, Ralph Baer details us the process he followed to invent this first console ever. As a natural-born engineer, he kept many documents now featured in this book, from the notes he took when he first this idea in 1966, to the various prototypes he built to design the final version of the Odyssey in 1972. The book also explains the various steps of the legal battle between Magnavox, Atari and Nintendo about the paternity of video games. Last but not least, Ralph Baer also presents his other notables inventions, such as the famous electronic game Simon (1979), and several interactive video devices, a technology used for applications ranging from kids entertainment to military training. This book is incredibly rich of unique content, and must be read by anyone interested in the beginnings of the history of video games.
This book was translated in French in 2012 under the title "Ralph Baer - Mémoires du père des jeux vidéo".


Encyclopedia

100 jeux vidéo, 1000 anecdotes !
French "100 jeux vidéo, 1000 anecdotes !"
Arnaud Bonnet - Editions Pix'n Love, 2015.

As the title suggests, this book gathers trivia and factoids about 100 popular video games: Zelda, Mario, Resident Evil, Shenmue, Dragon's Lair, Viewtiful Joe, Journey, Half-Life, etc. 10 pieces of trivia are presented for each game, with a lot of pictures. The book is quite beautiful, and both pleasant and quick to read. However, it's clearly an "entry-level" book, as the pieces of trivia are very short: each one is told over one or two lines. Moreover, the author doesn't give any source or reference for his information, and we can actually doubt that several factoids are false. Overall, this book isn't a reliable historical reference, but it's rather a "leisure" book. It's pleasant to browse through it to (re)discover information about our favorite games. The book can also be used as first step towards a more serious study of the history of video games: I invite the reader to go into these factoid in depth (and verify them) by reading other books or by searching over the Internet.


Original Sound Track : 100 albums indispensables de jeux vidéo
French "Original Sound Track : 100 albums indispensables de jeux vidéo"
Rémi Lopez - Editions Pix'n Love, 2014.

This book presents 100 music albums based on famous video games original soundtracks. The author reviews each album over two pages, featuring beautiful illustrations. The author successfully shares his passion for video game music through this book. The text is easy to read and full of interesting information. My only complaint lies in the author's choice to focus on game OST published in separate CDs, which tends to heavily bend his OST selection towards Japanese console games, and J-RPG in particular. Nevertheless, the author has included a couple of games coming from other countries and genres (Hotline Miami, God of War III, Turrican, Halo, etc.), even if most of the book presents classical games music: Zelda, Final Fantasy, Mario, Kingdom Hearts, Jet Set Radio, PaRappa the Rapper, Silent Hill, XenoSaga, Chrono Cross, Street of Rage II, etc. A nice book, but if you want to learn the history of video game music instead of a mere selection of classical OST, you should read "Video Game Music " instead.


La Bible Game Boy
French "La Bible Game Boy"
Collectif - Editions Pix'n Love, 2013.

This bible focuses on the Game Boy portable console from Nintendo, in its "classic" version (black and white games) . The first part of the book tells a detailed history of this console with a lot of pictures, and also presents the various Game Boy models: the original one, the "colored" versions, the Game Boy Light, and a lot of limited editions. The second and main part of the book is dedicated to a list of every "black and white" game cartridge ever released for this console. Each one of the 1300 games is presented through a couple of screenshots alongside with a small description text. It's a reference book for anyone interested in the Game Boy.


Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia
English "Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia"
Casey Loe - BradyGames, 2013.

This book presents over 200 characters coming from the many video games created by Japanese studio Capcom. Each character is introduced on one page with a short text, in addition to one or two pictures. While this encyclopedia is far from being exhaustive, we appreciate the fact that characters coming from lesser-known games (Asura's Wrath, Star Gladiator, Red Earth, Rival Schools...) and ancients titles (1942, Vulgus, Commando...) are present, alongside with the ones coming for the most popular series (Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Megaman, DarkStalkers, Devil May Cry...). A beautiful book sold for a tiny price.


La Bible Super Nintendo
French "La Bible Super Nintendo"
Collectif - Editions Pix'n Love, 2013.

This bible is dedicated to the Super Nintendo home console (also known as Super Famicom and SNES). The first part of the book tells the history of this console through a quite detailed chapter featuring a lot of pictures. The second and main part of the book is dedicated to a list of every game ever released for this console. Each one of the 2000 games is presented through a couple of screenshots alongside with a small description text. The book then details a selection of "collector" cartridge, with an estimation of their value, and deal with the topic of "homebrew" games. The book ends with a list of cancelled games for the console, followed by several pages featuring photos of Japanese game boxes. It's a reference book for anyone interested in the Super Nintendo.


La Bible PC Engine - volume 2 : les CD-ROMs
French "La Bible PC Engine - volume 2 : les CD-ROMs"
Collectif - Editions Pix'n Love, 2012.

This bible is dedicated to the PC Engine home console (also known as TurboGrafx 16). This second volume starts by telling you the story of how this console arrived in France, alongside with the story of studio RED, the creators of the famous "PC Kid" game. But the main part of the book is a full listing of every game ever released for this console on the CD-ROM format (more that 400 games). Each game is presented with a screenshot alongside with a small text describing it. A reference book for anyone interested by the PC Engine.


Speccy Nation: A tribute to the golden age of British gaming
English "Speccy Nation: A tribute to the golden age of British gaming"
Dan Whitehead - Createspace, 2012.

This tiny black & white book (120 pages) presents a selection of remarkable games released on the ZX Spectrum. It features classical hits (Heads Over Heels...), underdogs games (Knight Tyme...) and "bad idea games" (Trashman...). Each game is presented over one or two pages with one screenshot. It's far from being an encyclopedia, however it offers an interesting selection of games.


La Bible Amiga
French "La Bible Amiga"
Eric Cubizolle, Collectif - Editions Pix'n Love, 2012.

This bible is dedicated to the Amiga computer. The first part of the book tells you the story of this computer through a detailed history featuring several interviews with creators of Amiga games and demos. The second and main part of the book is dedicated to a listing of the most interesting games ever released for this computer. Each one of the 1200 games is presented through a couple of screenshots alongside with a small text describing it. A reference book for anyone interested in the Amiga.


GameSpite Journal 10 : Super NES Turns 20
English "GameSpite Journal 10 : Super NES Turns 20"
Jeremy Parish, Collectif - GameSpite.net, 2011.

This 200 pages book presents a selection 80 good games on the Super NES. Most of the chosen games are classical titles: Super Mario, Zelda, Starfox,  Super Metroid, Castlevania, Final Fantasy, Megaman X, etc. Hopefully, the authors also highlight some obscure gems: Robotrek, Radical Dreamers, Shiren The Wanderer, Drakken, etc. Each games is presented over one page of text and one page of beautifully laid-out images. Last but not least, several 3-4 pages articles focuses on the key points of SNES history: its US release, the gamepad design, the SatellaView, the Mode 7, the Super GameBoy... Overall, this book is pleasant to read, although a few articles are more focused on telling the author's personal memories rather than describing the game itself.


Les 1001 jeux vidéos auxquels il faut avoir joué dans sa vie
French "Les 1001 jeux vidéos auxquels il faut avoir joué dans sa vie"
Tony Mott - Flammarion, 2011.

This book presents a personal selection by the author of 1001 noteworthy videogames, coming from every period of the videogames history. Each games is introduced by a small text alongside one or several screenshots.
This book is a french translation of an English-written book first published in 2010 and titled "1001 video games you must play before you die." This original English version was updated and republished in 2013 under the same title.


La Bible Nintendo Entertainment System / Famicom
French "La Bible Nintendo Entertainment System / Famicom"
Collectif - Editions Pix'n Love, 2011.

This bible is dedicated to the Nintendo NES home console (also known as Famicom). The first part of the book tells you the history of this console through a quite detailed chapter featuring a lot of pictures. The second and main part of the book is dedicated to a list of every game ever released for this console, featuring all games using cartridge or disk (Famicom Disk System) formats. Each one of the 1900 games is presented through a couple of screenshots alongside with a small text describing it. It's a reference book for anyone interested in the Nintendo NES.


L'intégrale des Jeux Nintendo DS
French "L'intégrale des Jeux Nintendo DS"
Collectif - Editions Pix'n Love, 2009.

This bible is dedicated to the Nintendo DS portable console. The first part of the book briefly tells you the story of this console through about 20 pages featuring a lot of pictures. The second and main part of the book is dedicated to the presentation of 888 games for the console (the complete list of games released in Europe when this book was written). Each game is presented through a couple of picture alongside with a short text describing it. While it was first intended to be a buying guide, nowadays it remains a nice catalog presenting the main part of Nintendo DS games.


La Bible PC Engine - volume 1 : les HuCARDs
French "La Bible PC Engine - volume 1 : les HuCARDs"
Collectif - Editions Pix'n Love, 2009.

This bible is dedicated to the PC Engine home console (also known as TurboGrafx 16). This first volume starts by telling you the story of the birth of this console, and also presents all the different models and accessories available. But the main part of the book is a full listing of every game ever released for this console on the HuCARDs format (more that 300 games). Each game is presented with a screenshot alongside with a small text describing it. A reference book for anyone interested by the PC Engine.


The A-Z of Cool Computer Games
English "The A-Z of Cool Computer Games"
Jack Railton - Allison & Busby, 2005.

This book is full of nostalgia, as it details games, machines and other elements of the videogame culture (ads, magazines, etc.) coming from a "golden era" of their history, according to the author: from the end of the 70's to the beginning of the 90's. This book gathers about 200 games and memories from the author, who are described with passion over one or two pages each. As the author is British, he was exposed to the European wave of videogames. This book will thus triggers a lot of memories to readers who knew this era, especially if they live in Europe.


Traditional games

Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It
English "Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It"
David M. Ewalt - Scribner, 2013.

This book tells the story of Dungeons & Dragons, a game that gave birth to the "pen and paper role playing" genre, highly popular in the 80's and 90's. The book details the origins of the game, co-designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Anerson in 1974, alongside with the epic tale of TSR, the company created by Gygax to sell this innovative game. The book mix chapters about the history of the game with more personal chapters, where the author remembers his owns role-playing sessions. While this combination feels disturbing at first, it finds its true meaning in the last chapters of the book, where the author tries live-action role-playing, he embarks on a "pilgrimage" to Lake Geneva to find the first TSR building, and he even plays Dungeons & Dragons with the son of Gary Gygax. This journey ends with the author starting to design his first Dungeons & Dragons campaign as a Dungeon Master, an important step for every player of the game. In the end, far from being a mere compilation of historical information about Dungeons & Dragons, this book achieves to capture the deep soul of this unique game, and manages to share it in a clear and simple way through pages full of passion and emotion.


Game Design

Design

Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish
English "Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish"
Lewis Pulsipher - McFarland & Co, 2012.

This Game Design book is full of "practical advices" coming from an experimented Game Designer. Lewis Pulsipher designed several board games, his most famous title being Britannia (1986-2008). Each chapter of the book emphasizes over the traps to avoid and the good habits to follow in order to become a professional Game Designer: selecting a target audience; critical analysis of existing games; assessment of game ideas; creation of prototypes; the different stages of the Game Design process... The added value of this book, compared to previous attempts on this topic, lies in the fact that its author is a designer of board games. Therefore, he possess an approach of Game Design slightly different from the one of video game designers, and it tends to enhance the wisdom of the advices provided through this book, perfectly suited to novice game designers and students.


Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design
English "Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design"
Scott Rogers - John Wiley & Sons, 2010.

Through a book of over 500 pages, game designer Scott Rogers shares his professional experience of creating videogames. This industry veteran has worked on games such as God of War, Darksiders and the Maximo series, among others. This book deals with the various steps and key-points of the game design process: ideas, scenario, writing a Game Design Document, characters, camera, controls, user interface, level design, game mechanics, enemies... The main strength of this book lies in the way the author uses the videogames he has contributed to in order to provide the reader with numerous real-world examples (real Game Design Documents are even featured at the end of the book). Moreover, the author is a skilled artist, and his book is full of humorous drawings that illustrates the book contents. These drawings are very helpful to ease the reader's journey through the rich contents of this interesting book.


Concevoir un jeu vidéo
French "Concevoir un jeu vidéo"
Marc Albinet - FYP Editions, 2010.

An introductory book to Game Design. It's written by Marc Albinet, a videogame industry veteran. He shares his global view of the key points to design games : gameplay loops, feedbacks, rewards... While the book is very easy to read and is backed by many examples, it doesn't go into the details of these key points, on purpose: the book, weighting 200 pages "only", is first and foremost suited to beginners. This book will provide them with an excellent door to the world of Game Design, way easier to understand than the "thick expert books" that are usually written on Game Design.


Casual Game Design
English "Casual Game Design"
Gregory Trefry - Morgan Kaufmann, 2010.

This book focuses on the design of "Casual Games", i.e. video games aimed to people playing them casually. The three first chapters deals with the definition of casual games, their professional creation process, and a broader study of the various play from they can offer. The nine following chapters are then dedicated to each sub-category of casual games: management, match-3, puzzles, hidden objects, construction, social games, etc. While the text is easy to read and understand, this book offers a high level of analysis of the different kinds of Casual Games, alongside with the game mechanisms and design choices that make them so enjoyable. This book is very interesting, and deals with a type of video games rarely discussed in other Games Design books.


Level Design: Concept, Theory, and Practice
English "Level Design: Concept, Theory, and Practice"
Rudolf Kremers - A K Peters, 2009.

This book is dedicated to level design, i.e. the design of levels, maps and other "playing spaces" for video games. Written as an introductory book, it first details the basis of level design, before discussing how it can be used to "embody" the mechanisms defined by game rules, to tell a story, or even to spark off emotions in player's mind. An interesting book for beginners discovering this topic.


Challenges for Game Designers
English "Challenges for Game Designers"
Brenda Brathwaite, Ian Schreiber - Charles River Media, 2008.

This book offers many practical exercises aiming to improve your Game Design skills. Each of the 21 book chapters is dedicated to one particular topic: game design basis, atom structure of games, puzzles, balancing between skill and luck, serious games, storytelling, multiplayer... After an explanation of the topic, the book chapter presents 5 exercises, focused on "non-digital" game creation, thus allowing to quickly put into practice these concepts. It's a very interesting and unique book, warmly recommended to Game Design teachers, and to creators looking for inspiration!


The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses
English "The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses"
Jesse Schell - Morgan Kaufmann, 2008.

An excellent book about the design of games written by Jesse Schell, a game designer who worked on Disneyland attractions and on the kids MMO Toontown Online, among others. With over 500 book pages, the author details the different aspects of the professional game design process, and explain how a game designer can influence them: game design documents, mechanics, interface, characters, the "client" funding the game, player's emotions, the game designer's artistic motivation... Besides the numerous examples coming from the professional experience of the author, this book also introduces a hundred of "lenses". A "lens" is a kind of "viewing angle" allowing the game designer to focus on a particular aspect of his game. These "lenses" are composed by a series of questions. For example, the "lens of judgement" makes the game designer asks himself: what does my game judge about the players? How does it communicate this judgement? Do players feel the judgement is fair?...
This book was translated into French in 2010 under the title "L'Art du game design: 100 objectifs pour mieux concevoir vos jeux".


The Art of Game Design: A Deck of Lenses
English "The Art of Game Design: A Deck of Lenses"
Jesse Schell - Schell Games, 2008.

The "deck of lenses" isn't a book, but a set of 100 cards that complete the book "The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses", by the same author. Each card represents one of the "lens" invented by Jesse Schell. A "lens" is a kind of "viewing angle" allowing the game designer to focus on a particular aspect of his game. These "lenses" are composed by a series of questions. For example, the "lens of judgement" makes the game designer asks himself: what does my game judge about the players? How does it communicate this judgement? Do players feel the judgement is fair?... These cards are combining all the questions detailed in the book, in a format that is way easier to handle when designing a game. They also are an excellent tool to teach Game Design.

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Game Design Worshop
English "Game Design Worshop"
Tracy Fullerton - CRC Press (2nd Edition), 2008.

If you want to read only one book about Game Design, it should be this one. With over 450 pages, this "Game Design Bible" will allow you to truly understand how to create games. Among other topics, this book deals in great details with prototyping, the structure of a game (formal elements, dramatic elements, system dynamic...) or the day-to-day activity of a professional Game Designer working in the industry. As a talented Game Design teacher, Tracy Fullerton offers here a level of thought about what Game Design is that very few books on the topic achieve. Many interviews with professionals designers from the game industry also provides real-world examples of the topics discussed in the book. A brilliant and thought-provoking book, that deeply improved the way I personally approach Game Design.


Fundamentals of Game Design
English "Fundamentals of Game Design"
Ernest Adams, Andrew Rollings - Prentice Hall, 2006.

A 700 pages introductory bible to the many concepts of Game Design. This book is an updated and revised edition of "Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design", and it's still divided in two parts. The first one is explaining the fundamental concepts of video game design: game design process, game mechanics, balancing, storytelling, characters, level design, etc. The second part of the book presents the main video game genres (action, adventure, simulation, sports, etc.) and their features, using many illustrated examples. Easy to read, this book covers a lot of topics without going into details, i.e. a book for people discovering Game Design.


Patterns In Game Design
English "Patterns In Game Design"
Staffan Björk, Jussi Holopainen - Charles River Media, 2005.

This book gathers about 200 "design patterns" aimed to ease the creation of games.  It's a formalized and analytical list of the various elements that composes games, ordered in different categories. For example, in the "Game Elements" category you'll find the patterns "lives", "power-ups" and "avatar", while the "Social Interaction" category gathers patterns like "trading", "competition" and "player killing". Each pattern is described over one or two pages, with examples of uses in popular video games. Instead of a game design manual, this book is rather a reference of the most common elements in videogames, that should inspire Game Designers looking for inspiration.


21st Century Game Design
English "21st Century Game Design"
Chris Bateman, Richard Boon - Charles River Media, 2005.

A book introducing a unique and thought-provoking approach to Game Design. Through a concept they call "Zen Game Design", the two authors emphasize over the fact that many game design methodologies exist, and that these methodologies are many because they suit different needs. The authors thus start form the "needs", and dedicate the first part of the book to a detailed analysis of the different player profiles. This analysis is based on a theoretical model called "Demographic Game Design 1 (DGD1)", built by the authors from the Myers Briggs psychological types and backed by a field study conducted over 400 players. As a result, this model defines 8 "player profiles" with very different tastes. Bateman and Boon encourage designers to take those differences in consideration when creating games.  After a captivating first part, the second half of the book gathers more traditional game design advices (game structures, interface, game genres characteristics...). But these advices are however enriched by regular connections with the player profiles presented in the first part of this passionating book.


A Theory of Fun for Game Design
English "A Theory of Fun for Game Design"
Raph Koster - Paraglyph, 2005.

In this one-of-a-kind book, each text-written page is accompanied by an illustration that ease the understanding of the text. Besides its unique shape, this book is also brilliant content-wise. Raph Koster, a famous American Game Designer specialized in MMORPGs (Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies, Everquest 2), presents a theory to explain why people like to play. According to him, the "theory of fun" is due to the fact that the human brain is happy when he learns, and games happens to provides him with tailored mental challenges. A classical book that any Game Designer and researcher should read...


Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling
English "Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling"
Chris Crawford - New Riders, 2004.

This book provides insightful thoughts and design advices for interactive storytelling applications, e.g. video games. Written by the legendary American game designer Chris Crawford, it's the result of 10 years of experimentation from the author in this area. He first draws a theoretical analysis of interactivity and storytelling structures, to then introduce an efficient yet easy to understand approach: thinking in "action verbs" to analyze and improve games interactivity. The book is also very easy to read, as the author knows how to use humor to makes the reader think. It's a must-read book for anyone wondering about the association of storytelling with interactivity: very inspiring for designers, full of concept and references for researchers.


Game Architecture and Design: A New Edition
English "Game Architecture and Design: A New Edition"
Andrew Rollings, David Morris - New Riders, 2003.

This 900-pages behemoth is the revised and extended edition of a book first published in 2000. It covers extensively the industrial creation of video games. The book is divided in three main parts: the design of games, project and team management, and video game software architecture design. In the first part, the authors address topics that will become the classic parts of "game design" books: game concept ideas, writing Game Design Documents, balancing, user interface, prototyping... These topics are shaped as the different steps of the design methodology built by the authors. The second part focuses on the day-to-day life of a game studio: managing the various members (and personalities) of a team, setting up industrial processes coming from other computer engineering sectors... The last part is suited for programmers, and deals with more technical topics: the various game development methods, the design of a software architecture from a Game Design Document, choosing a technology... The whole book is enriched with many "real-world" examples that greatly illustrates the ideas of the book. By-the-way, they also provide us with a snapshot of the state of the US video game industry in the early 2000's. Overall, this book has aged quite well, and it still remains an excellent guide to the professional video game creation.


Chris Crawford On Game Design
English "Chris Crawford On Game Design"
Chris Crawford - New Riders, 2003.

A great book about Game Design written by the famous American designer Chris Crawford. In the first part of the book, the author presents some general topics: categories of games, game design tricks... The second part of the book is dedicated to deep analysis of the main games created by Chris Crawford, offering some very interesting real-world case studies.


Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design
English "Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design"
Ernest Adams, Andrew Rollings - New Riders, 2003.

An introductory book about Game Design. The first part focuses on general tips about Game Design (storytelling, balancing, etc.). The second part is dedicated to a presentation of the different videogames genres. The first part of the book is clearly the most interesting one, as the second part is both aging fast and not as detailed as we could have expected. Please note that this book received three updates greatly extending the part about Game Design tips, titled "Fundamentals of Game Design."


Game Design Foundations
English "Game Design Foundations"
Roger E. Pedersen - Wordware Publishing, 2003.

Rather than a book on game design, this book is actually a kind of "introductory book" to the world of professional video game creation. Without going into details, it goes over several topics like video game genres, the various tools available (in 2003) to create games, 3d art, and sound, the basis of computer programing, and lists of many examples of actual games and games ideas, with a short description. While most of the book content is a bit outdated today, some chapter remains interesting, for example the one where he tells us about his past projects, or the one where he shares his own view of this job through his "ten principles of Game Design."


The Art of Interactive Design
English "The Art of Interactive Design"
Chris Crawford - No Scratch Press, 2002.

This book deals with the topic of interactivity from an overall point-of-view. Its 400 pages are divided in 4 parts. The first one is dedicated to the fundamentals concepts of interactivity. The second one provides many design tips using real-world examples of successful and flawed applications interfaces. From these examples, the third part lays down a general theory of interactivity, completed by an historical perspective of the software industry in the fourth part (including the way it gathers programmers and artists). While this book is rather theoretical and general, it contains the seeds of the two excellent books of the author focused on the design of video games and interactive storytelling applications. Today, this book will mainly interest people looking for the core of the general and theoretical approach to interactivity developed by Chris Crawford: thinking in "action verbs."


Game Design: Theory & Practice
English "Game Design: Theory & Practice"
Richard Rouse III - Wordware Publishing, 2001.

This large 500 pages book dissects the various aspects of Game Design: brainstorming for ideas, what players are seeking, artificial intelligence, storytelling, writing Game Design Document... Written by industry veteran Richard Rouse III (who designed the action-horror games The Suffering, among others), this book is full of wise and relevant advices for Game Designers, whether they are working alone as indies or in a big team. The originality of this book lies in the in-depth interviews of famous game designers (Ed Logg, Sid Meier, Chris Crawford, Will Wright, Jordan Mechner...), alongside with brilliant analysis of popular games, where the author highlights their special game design features. Among the studied games, the analysis of Centipede (1980) is all the more remarkable when we know that the book author designed its remake Centipede 3D (1998). An interesting book with a lot of content, forerunner of the 2000's Game Design books wave.


Understanding Interactivity
English "Understanding Interactivity"
Chris Crawford - Chris Crawford, 2000.

The first (self-published) edition of a book later know as "The Art of Interactive Design". This book deals with the topic of interactivity from an overall point-of-view. Its 400 pages are divided in 4 parts. The first one is dedicated to the fundamentals concepts of interactivity. The second one provides many design tips using real-world examples of successful and flawed applications interfaces. From these examples, the third part lays down a general theory of interactivity, completed by an historical perspective of the software industry in the fourth part (including the way it gathers programmers and artists). While this book is rather theoretical and general, it contains the seeds of the two excellent books of the author focused on the design of video games and interactive storytelling applications. Today, this book will mainly interest people looking for the core of the general and theoretical approach to interactivity developed by Chris Crawford: thinking in "action verbs."


Game Design: Secrets of the Sages
English "Game Design: Secrets of the Sages"
Marc Saltzman - BradyGames, 1999.

Most Game Design books tend to illustrate their ideas with some "case studies" coming from industry professionals. This books pushes this idea to the extreme: its 470 pages are solely dedicated to interviews with video game industry professionals. Over 200 professionals are interviewed, mostly American ones, ranging from unknown people to celebrities like Richard Garriott, David Perry, Sid Meier and Peter Molyneux. The advices and tips they give are both insightful and inspiring, and gathered into several topics: the various game genres, level design, game programming, game art, game sound, testing techniques, where to study, how to find a job in the industry or how to self-distribute titles using Shareware principles, etc. Besides the captivating advices, we appreciate how the book also provide us with short biographical notes of all the interviewees. It's an unique book with very interesting contents, thus it's warmly recommended to students and skilled professionals.


The Art of Computer Game Design
English "The Art of Computer Game Design"
Chris Crawford - McGraw-Hill / Osborne Media, 1984.

One of the first (if not the first) book dedicated to the design process of video games, written by the famous American game designer Chris Crawford. Despite its age, the content of this book is still very interesting and applicable today, which show how thoughtful its author was about the creative process of games. The book gives some very practical game design tips (elements of a game, balance, list of steps of the game design process, etc.) and some other general tips (how to educate yourself in order to be creative, etc.) that are still quite useful today, although the list of videogames genres discussed is obviously more limited than the games of nowadays.


Development

RPG Maker : Créez votre jeu de rôle
French "RPG Maker : Créez votre jeu de rôle"
Samuel Ronce - Eyrolles, 2010.

A book explaining in a clear and illustrated way how to use the videogame creation software RPG Maker (XP and VX versions). This software tool allows to easily create role-playing and adventure computer games without requiring any kind of computer programming skills. The author details the different aspects of this tool, from the simplest ones (software installation, level edition, visual events creation system...) to the more complex ones (Ruby scripts programming, creation of a real-time battle system instead of the turn-based one...). This book is very pedagogic and is first and foremost aimed at beginners, although it should also teach some new tricks to the more advanced users.


Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Game Design Demystified
English "Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Game Design Demystified"
Jobe Makar, Ben Winiarczyk - Macromedia Press, 2004.

This book is written by Jobe Makar, a veteran Flash game developer working for the ElectroTank studio, and aims to teach you how to create videogames with Macromedia Flash MX 2004. Unlike most other books on this topic, this one doesn't limit itself to explaining the source code of the examples games featured on the companion CD. While one half of the book is indeed dedicated to these examples games, the 250 remaining pages explain with great details, but easy to understand text, the working principles of most of the 2D videogames: trigonometry 101, physics handling, collision detection, creation of a tile-based engine, creation of an isometric-view game, pathfinding algorithms... Although the code examples are written in ActionScript, Flash proprietary language, the game algorithms explained in this book are transferable to any programming language, especially as they are rarely presented in such a clear way. A book recommended to anyone making its first steps in videogame programming.


Créez vos nouveaux niveaux avec Duke Nukem 3D
French "Créez vos nouveaux niveaux avec Duke Nukem 3D"
Matt Tagliaferri - Sybex, 1997.

This book explains in very clear way and with a lot of pictures how to use "Build", the level editing software for the game Duke Nukem 3D (3D Realms, 1996). Over 300 pages, this handbook details all the features of the tool, from basic usage (interface, adding textures, sprites, etc.) to the most complex topics (using "sectors effectors", adding new objects and enemies to the game, etc.). It also offers a wide selection of case studies (how to create sliding doors, elevators, underwater levels, trains, scripted explosions, etc.). Last but not least, the final chapters presents level design tips, to help you create entertaining levels. It's the reference handbook on the topic, easy to read, and with an extensive coverage of the level editor features.
This book is the french translation of "The Duke Nukem 3d Level Design Handbook", published in 1996.  


3D Game Alchemy for Doom, Doom II, Heretic and Hexen
English "3D Game Alchemy for Doom, Doom II, Heretic and Hexen"
Steve Benner & collectif - Sams Publishing, 1996.

A 750 pages reference handbook for anyone trying to learn the tools used to create new levels and to modify existing content of the games Doom, Doom II, Heretic and Heven. The book features many images, and it's explained with texts accessible to beginners, although some chapters are also dealing with advanced topics for experts.


Profession

Les métiers des jeux vidéo et de l'animation
French "Les métiers des jeux vidéo et de l'animation"
Jean-Michel Oullion - L'Etudiant, 2013.

This book is a guide presenting the professional side of the videogames universe in a simple but complete way. It's divided in 4 parts. The first one presents the "day-to-day reality", by answering questions like "how do we create videogames?", "do we spent the day playing games?" or "can we became rich?", etc. The second part dissects the different jobs related to videogames, and explains their role and the kind of skills they require: game designer, scenarist, artist, coder, musician, project manager, tester, vendor and journalist. The third part is dedicated to a list of the training courses available in France, with tips on how to choose them. The last part explains how to "get into the industry": internships, job-finding tips, going abroad, creating his own studio... Far away from the false ideas usually seen about this professional sector, this book is enriched with several little interviews with actual professionals, helping the book to answer clearly and honestly to the many questions from people seeking to enter this industry. An excellent guide, vital to any students and parents with teenagers aspiring to "get a job in videogames"!
This book has been updated several times since its first edition in 2001. The version presented here is the 6th edition, published in November 2013.


French Industry Year Book 2013
English "French Industry Year Book 2013"
Connection Events - SNJV, 2013.

This directory lists over 270 french companies working on video games. Each company is introduced by a short text and several images of their games, alongside with full contact details. A vital resource for any student looking for an internship, or for professionals looking for studios to hire!
Besides the physical copy of the book, an electronic version is freely available here.


Japanmanship - The ultimate guide book to working in video game development in Japan
English "Japanmanship - The ultimate guide book to working in video game development in Japan"
James Kay - Score Studios LLC, 2012.

This one-of-a-kind book is guide for any foreigner who wants to work in the Japanese video game industry. James Kay, the British-born author of the book, has personally made this move: he worked for different Japanese video games studios during 10 years, and then founded his own studio there. Over 300 pages, he tackles all the questions one could ask: Why go to Japan to create video games? How to get hired in a Japanese studio? How to find a place to live? And how is the day-to-day life in a Japanese video game studio? With a lot of humor and a very honest tone, the author provides us with a lot of practical and useful information, dealing both with the positive (discovery of a different culture, working on famous licences, etc.) and negative (low wages, "don't leave the office before the boss does" culture, etc.) aspects of this life choice. The book then features several interesting interviews with other foreigners working in the Japanese games industry, for studios like Square-Enix or Grasshoper. The book ends with a list of video game companies in Japan, alongside with some other resources useful for those who seriously consider to make the move. In the end, this brilliant book is not only a very useful guide, but it's also a very interesting look at the inner workings of the video games industry in Japan.


The Game Inventor's Guidebook
English "The Game Inventor's Guidebook"
Brian Tinsman - Morgan James Publishing, 2008.

This book is a hands-on guide dedicated to the job of "traditional" games creator: board games, card games, role-playing games... It's divided in 5 sections. The first one gives a tour of this profession through famous games case studies: Trivial Pursuit, Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons and The Pokemon Trading Card Game. They are accompanied by interviews with a game author (Reiner Knizia) and a publisher (Mike Gray from Hasbro). The second part presents with more details how the "non-digital" games industry works: the different jobs, the various kinds of markets (mass market, specialized, role-playing)... The third part then details the companies and games that you should know, from mass market to hardcore gamers. The fourth section explains everything you need to know to self-publish your games, while the last part discusses the numerous steps required to publish them with an editor. Enriched with many interviews with industry professionals, this book is very pleasant to read and full of useful and wise advices. While it doesn't address the design of games themselves, it admirably covers all the "industry" and "marketing" sides of this profession.


Serious Games

Apprendre avec les Serious Games ?
French "Apprendre avec les Serious Games ?"
Julian Alvarez, Damien Djaouti, Olivier Rampnoux - Réseau Canopé, 2016.

This book focuses on Serious Games for Education. It's aimed at teachers who wish to use games, digital or not, with their students. The book starts with a presentation of the main advantages and limitations of using Serious Games for teaching, based upon conclusions of several scientific studies conducted over this topic. It then exposes practical information: where can we find Serious Games? How to integrate them into a lesson? Is it possible to use "entertainment games" for education purposes? Last but not least, the book finishes by introducing simple and easy to use tools that teachers can use to create "custom" Serious Games for their students. Using the same tools, it's also possible to ask students to design Serious Games, another way for them to acquire knowledge. Overall, this book a very useful practical guide that any teacher interested in Serious Games should read!
N.B.: This book was written by members of Ludoscience.


Learning in Real and Virtual Worlds: Commercial Video Games As Educational Tools
English "Learning in Real and Virtual Worlds: Commercial Video Games As Educational Tools"
Pilar Lacasa - Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

This book highlights the potential of video games for education purposes. Over 250 pages, 10 chapters are dealing with a different topic each. For example, one chapter relies on the Final Fantasy series to demonstrate the artistic potential of video games, while another chapter presents a classroom experiment conducted over the Harry Potter games and movies to make the students work on storytelling. While the book subject is very interesting, the quality of its chapters varies heavily. The best chapters are the ones where the author presents actual classroom experiments she conducted (with the games Harry Potter, Boom Blox and New Super Mario Bros. Wii). The others chapters remains purely theoretical. However, this book seems to target a "teacher who doesn't know anything about video games" audience, as show by the first chapter trying to summarize the history of video games in a few pages. Unfortunately, this chapter is very hard to read due to a messy outline, and it's also filled with several shortcoming and inaccuracies. It's also unfortunate that the author always quotes Wikipedia to presents the games she refers to, when a personal presentation would have been more suited to the reader. This flaws on the "video games" side are offset by the excellent work of the author on the "teaching and learning" side: the scientific references are many and solid, and they are presented in a intelligible way to the reader. Overall, this book offers interesting theoretical thoughts for teachers who doesn't know anything about video games, but you'll have to read additional books or articles if you want to put games in practice in your classroom.


Serious Games: an Introduction / Introduction au Serious Game
English "Serious Games: an Introduction / Introduction au Serious Game"
Julian Alvarez, Damien Djaouti - Questions Théoriques, 2012.

This book explores the "Serious Games" universe. It starts with a definition of Serious Games, in order to identify their differences from entertainment videogames. It will then present out with a lot of current examples of Serious Games from various domains: education, healthcare, communication, defense, politics, etc. The third part will explain you the history of Serious Games, while the fourth and final part gathers many interviews with people from the Serious Games field: designers, researchers, users, clients, etc.
This second edition of the book is bilingual: the text is fully written in English or in french depending on which side of the book you are opening.
N.B.: This book was written by the members of Ludoscience.


Les Serious Games : Une Révolution
French "Les Serious Games : Une Révolution"
Yasmine Kasbi - Edipro, 2012.

An introductory book to the universe of Serious Games, written by an educator working with them on a daily basis in an "after-school" context. The book starts by defining Serious Games and their history, with many examples. The author then explores "why?" Serious Games, again backed by a lot of case studies. The last part of the book gathers a lot of references and resources on the topic, from tools and advices to design your own Serious Games to a list of events and schools dedicated to them. A very instructive book, easy to read, who paints a global view of the Serious Games universe.
N.B.: Let us mention if needed that this books is heavily citing the work of Ludoscience on this topic, and that one of our member was later invited to write a foreword to the book.


Concevoir un serious game pour un dispositif de formation
French "Concevoir un serious game pour un dispositif de formation"
Béatrice Lhuillier - FYP Editions, 2011.

Unlike what is stated in its title ("how to design a serious game for training courses"), this book doesn't explain how to design a Serious Game, but how to hire someone to create a Serious Game for you (i.e. how to be an "aware client" regarding Serious Games). After a short definition of what a Serious Game is, this book details very clearly the different ways to integrate a Serious Game inside a training course (advantages of Serious Games, how they work with other methods...). The book then explains the different steps an "aware client" must take to successfully manage a Serious Game project: defining the serious content and the pedagogical objectives, choosing a studio who will create the game, evaluating and assessing the project... Besides its mismatching title, this book fulfill its objective quite successfully: the content of the book is backed by the professional experience of the author in Paraschool, a french company specialized in Serious Games. A book recommended to anyone who want to hire professionals to create a Serious Games for him/her.


Introduction au Serious game
French "Introduction au Serious game"
Julian Alvarez, Damien Djaouti - Questions Théoriques, 2010.

This book explores the "Serious Games" universe. It starts with a definition of Serious Games, in order to identify their differences from entertainment videogames. It will then present out with a lot of current examples of Serious Games from various domains: education, healthcare, communication, defense, politics, etc. The third part will explain you the history of Serious Games, while the fourth and final part gathers many interviews with people from the Serious Games field: designers, researchers, users, clients, etc.
N.B.: This book was written by the members of Ludoscience.


Jeux et simulations éducatifs : Etudes de cas et leçons apprises
French "Jeux et simulations éducatifs : Etudes de cas et leçons apprises"
Louise Sauvé, David Kaufman (eds) - Presses de l'Université du Québec, 2010.

A thick 600-pages book detailing the findings of a large scientific research project dedicated to the use of video games for education. The 26 chapters of this book are written like quite separate contributions, and address topics ranging from theory to practice, such as the design of educational video games or the study of their effects. A book warmly recommended to any researcher in the field thanks to very rich book contents, backed by an extensive literature review and several field experiments.


Serious Game : révolution pédagogique
French "Serious Game : révolution pédagogique"
Valérie Lavergne Boudier, Yves Dambach - Hermes Science Publications, 2010.

A book about Serious Games, written by the two heads of a company who is one of the french leader in this area, KTM Advance. This book offers a captivating real-life feedback from people working in the Serious Games industry, and who share with us some cases studies and detail the design methodology they use in their company. A rare and very interesting testimony that should be more than relevant for anyone working professionally on Serious Games.


Serious Games: Mechanisms and Effects
English "Serious Games: Mechanisms and Effects"
Ute Ritterfeld, Michael Cody, Peter Vorderer (eds) - Routledge, 2009.

A scientific book gathering 28 contributions from researchers who are specialized on Serious Games, over 530 pages. The covered topics are wide, ranging from the definition of "Serious Games" to the advantages, limits, and practical use of games for education and social change. An interesting book featuring the work of some recognized researches in the field: James Paul Gee, Henri Jenkins, Yasmin Kafai, Debra Lieberman, Joost Rassens, etc.


Serious Educational Games: From Theory to Practice
English "Serious Educational Games: From Theory to Practice"
Leonard A. Anneta (ed) - Sense Publishers, 2008.

A tiny (80 pages) scientific book gathering 8 contributions from researchers who are studying Serious Games for education.


What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy
English "What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy"
James Paul Gee - Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

In this book , James Paul Gee, a researcher in learning sciences, explores the potential of (all) video games for learning. Through an analysis of entertainment video games, he deduces a set of 36 "learning principles" used by video games to teach content or skills to players. This book then details these 36 "learning principles", such as the "multiple routes principle" or the "incremental principle", in order to give ideas to teachers on how to improve their lessons. It's a truly inspiring book for any teacher out there.


Persuasive Games - The Expressive Power of Videogames
English "Persuasive Games - The Expressive Power of Videogames"
Ian Bogost - MIT Press, 2007.

This book is a detailed study of the expressive potential of video games. The author analyses many examples of games broadcasting messages, related to politics, advertising and education. This study allows Ian Bogost, a media researcher and game designer, to introduce the concept of "procedural rhetoric", i.e. the use of games rules to broadcast messages. This book is very brilliant: full of relevant examples, it features an analysis that will undoubtedly inspires any creator or researcher interested in video games.


Les cédéroms pour jouer ou pour apprendre ?
French "Les cédéroms pour jouer ou pour apprendre ?"
Catherine Kellner - L'Harmattan, 2007.

In this book, Catherine Kellner, a researcher in communication sciences, analyses and criticizes the so-called "edutainment" products. Through real-world examples, she highlights the common flaws of these products (storytelling elements used instead of play attributes, games using texts for kids who don't know how to read yet, boring games sequences, etc.). She also offers many ways to improves them (using the discovery space embedded in every game, learning by trial-and-error, etc.). With this 150 pages book, the author successfully explains and synthesizes in a clear and easy-to-read text the results of her academical researches. A book recommended to any designer of applications mixing "play" and "learning."


Digital Game-Based Learning
English "Digital Game-Based Learning"
Marc Prensky - Paragon House, 2007.

This book is a reprint of one of the most iconic texts on the use of video games for education. First published in 2000, it aims to demonstrate stakeholders, teachers and other education professionals how video games can enhance learning. The book thus presents a lot of interesting examples coming from school education, adult education and defense. While the book tone is more evangelist than scientific, especially when read today, it remains a very rich and thought-provoking introduction to the "digital game-based learning" universe.


Developing Serious Games
English "Developing Serious Games"
Bryan Bergeron - Charles River Media, 2006.

A book aiming to guide you through the different steps of the Serious Game creation process. Unfortunately, and despite its more than 450 pages, this book fails to deeply explore this topic. On one hand, the author wastes too many pages covering topics not directly related to the creation of Serious Games, such the various computer standards or an overview of the technological trends in 2006. On the other hand, the author doesn't go enough into the details when covering the central topics of the book, such as how to design Serious Games and the recommended tools to create them. Not everything is bad in this book though. It features a lot of Serious Games examples coming from various applications domains, and it allows the reader to quickly browse over many topics both directly and loosely related to their design process.


Serious Games: Games That Educate, Train, And Inform
English "Serious Games: Games That Educate, Train, And Inform"
David Michael, Sande Chen - Course Technology Inc, 2005.

One of the flagship book of the current wave of Serious Games, focused on videogames. This 350 pages book start with a definition of Serious Games, through a comparative analysis with entertainment videogames. It then features a lot of games examples for each of the main Serious Games application domains in 2005: defense, government, corporate, education, healthcare, politics, religion and art.  This book also gives some Serious Games design advices related to each of these domains. This book presents an easy to understand idea of what Serious Games are. It's written in a clear language, because it mainly targets game studios and their potential clients. This book is recommended for anyone discovering the topic.


Jouer / Apprendre
French "Jouer / Apprendre"
Gilles Brougère - Economica, 2005.

An essay written by Gilles Brougère, a researcher specialized about games, dealing with the relations between playing and learning. This book addresses play as a general activity, ranging from kids play in preschools to video games. The author stars with the definition of "game" and "play", before diving into the relationships between play and leisure, education and leisure, and, last but not least, play and education. Through the idea of "informal learning", he concludes that, while the playing games is not an educational activity "by nature", it can become a support for learning in some situations. While this book is not easy to read, it's a brilliant work offering very inspiring and strongly backed thoughts on this topic. A book that must be read by any researcher and teacher interesting in games and play.


Digital Game-Based Learning
English "Digital Game-Based Learning"
Marc Prensky - McGraw-Hill, 2000.

This book is one of the most iconic texts on the use of video games for education. It aims to demonstrate stakeholders, teachers and other education professionals how video games can enhance learning. The book thus presents a lot of interesting examples coming from school education, adult education and defense. While the book tone is more evangelist than scientific, especially when read today, it remains a very rich and thought-provoking introduction to the "digital game-based learning" universe.


Serious Games: Art / Interaction / Technology
English "Serious Games: Art / Interaction / Technology"
Carol Brown, Beryl Graham (eds) - Barbican Art Gallery / Tyne & Wear Museums, 1996.

The catalogue from a British art exposition that took place in 1996. The art pieces and the artist' manifesto presented in the book openly aim to explore the expressive power of video games.


Minds in Play
English "Minds in Play"
Yasmin B. Kafai - Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994.

This book describes a pioneering scientific experiment conducted by Yasmin Kafai in the Serious Games field. In 1994, for 6 months during 1 hour per day, she asked 4th grade students to design video games explaining the mathematical concept of "fraction" to 3rd graders. To create these games, the kids used the LOGO language they learned during the workshop. Through this experiment, the researcher observed that designing video games about "fractions" helped kids to master this concept. It's a great illustration of the "constructionism" learning theory, i.e. learning by creating stuffs. This book presents the context of the experiment, analyzes the games created by the students, and details Kafai's conclusions in comparison with the control groups she used. A brilliant book describing a founding experiment in the Serious Games field, that should be read by any researchers and student working in it.


Serious Games
English "Serious Games"
Clark C. Abt - University Press of America, 1987.

A new edition of the book that founded the "Serious Games" current. Clark Abt, an American researcher who studied computer simulation games for military training during the Cold War, highlights the potential of games for "serious" applications, such as education. Alongside with definition and studies, this book features a lot of games examples used for learning purposes (both inside or outside schools) on various supports: board games, card games, outside games, computer games, etc. A book that any researcher and designer of Serious Games should read, because Abt's approach on the topic is very clear and truly visionary, thus still a potential source of inspiration today.
This second edition only adds a new foreword to the old content, where the author tells us what happened to the creators of the serious games presented in the book, alongside with an explanation of how "Serious Games" evolved in the USA between 1969 and 1986.


The New Alexandria Simulation: A Serious Game of State and Local Politics
English "The New Alexandria Simulation: A Serious Game of State and Local Politics"
Donald R. Jansiewicz - Canfield Press, 1973.

This book explains how to play a playful simulation of the inner US political system. It details the game rules, and how to play it with students, the game requiring only pens, paper, and several human players. Despite its age, this Serious Game is still used nowadays in Education, thanks to several updates since 2004. Its author, Donal Jansiewicz, chose to kept the game in a "non-digital" format, as he thinks that only human interactions are able to simulate the complexity of a political system. A scientific study, on the use of the latest version of this game in classroom, has shown that it was able to improve the comprehension of the inner US political system works with students attending to an "Introduction to US politics" course.


Serious Games
English "Serious Games"
Clark C. Abt - Viking Press, 1970.

The book that founded the "Serious Games" current. Clark Abt, an American researcher who studied computer simulation games for military training during the Cold War, highlights the potential of games for "serious" applications, such as education. Alongside with definition and studies, this book features a lot of games examples used for learning purposes (both inside or outside schools) on various supports: board games, card games, outside games, computer games, etc. A book that any researcher and designer of Serious Games should read, because Abt's approach on the topic is very clear and truly visionary, thus still a potential source of inspiration today.


Studies & Analysis

Game series

GTA IV L'envers du rêve américain - Jeux vidéo et critique sociale
French "GTA IV L'envers du rêve américain - Jeux vidéo et critique sociale"
Olivier Mauco - Questions Théoriques, 2013.

This book analyses the game Grant Theft Auto IV in order to highlight the social critic (of the American dream) it embeds. Over a hundred pages, the author begins with a study of the means video games can use to broadcast meaning, before going deeper inside the missions and game system of this title to reveal its political message.


Metal Gear Solid : Une oeuvre culte de Hideo Kojima
French "Metal Gear Solid : Une oeuvre culte de Hideo Kojima"
Nicolas Courcier, Mehdi El Kanafi, Damien Mecheri - Console Syndrome / Editions Pix'N Love, 2012.

An analysis book dedicated to the "Metal Gear" game series. This text-only book is divided in two main parts. The first one, which represents about 3/4 of the book pages, begins with a quick presentation of each title in the series (from "Metal Gear" to "Metal Gear Solid : Peace Walker"). It then tells you the scenario of the whole series, rewritten as a one-piece story. This story is very interesting, and is greatly rewritten to be as entertaining as any good thriller novel! The second part of the book gathers several analysis of the series from various angles (the relations between storytelling and gameplay, the natural tendency of Kojima to break the fourth wall, etc.), thus presenting it as a complex but consistent masterpiece. A really good book, who will also interest people who aren't familiar with the series: by reading it, they will understand why this series is so popular thanks to its rich universe, without requiring them to spend several hundred hours playing the games on their consoles!


Zelda : Chronique d'une saga légendaire
French "Zelda : Chronique d'une saga légendaire"
Nicolas Courcier, Mehdi El Kanafi, Selami Boudjerda, Damien Mecheri - Console Syndrome, 2011.

An analysis book dedicated to "The Legend of Zelda" game series. This text-only book is divided in two main parts. The first one, which represents about 2/3 of the book pages, begins with a quick presentation of each title in the series (from "The Legend of Zelda" to "The Legend of Zelda : Spirit Tracks").  The story of each episode is detailled in one or two pages, before analyzing the special features of its game design compared to the other episodes. But the most interesting part of the book is the second one, which gathers several analysis of the whole saga. The most remarkable one is the in-depth analysis of  the "Ocarina of Time" episode, with a metaphorical and psychological review of its story. Of course, all these theories are solely built by the authors of the book, who didn't confront their ideas with the creators of the games. Still, the analysis are complex and well-built enough to appeal for a lot of thinking from any player fan of the series who will read this book!


Les Sagas du Jeu Vidéo n°1 - Assassin's Creed
French "Les Sagas du Jeu Vidéo n°1 - Assassin's Creed"
Nicolas Courcier, Mehdi El Kanafi - Console Syndrome, 2010.

This book focuses on the Assassin's Creed saga: it analyses the first two episodes of the series, alongside with Brotherhood, as the book was written in 2010. This book is divided in three complementary parts. The "Creation" part tells about the birth of the games in Ubisoft studios. The "Universe" part details the scenarios of each episode, written in separate chapters in order to allow you to avoid "spoilers". Last but not least, the "Analysis" part analyses the saga, for example by drawing a parallel between the historical reality and the scenario of the games, by detailing its influences and references, or by studying the role of the hero in the series. A book full of illustrations, and which gathers a lot of information and analysis that will interest any fan of the saga. This book has since been updated and improved under the title "Assassin's Creed : Entre Voyages, Vérités et Complots" in order to talk about the newest episodes of the saga.


Videogames

Jeux vidéo : hors de contrôle ? - Industrie, politique, morale
French "Jeux vidéo : hors de contrôle ? - Industrie, politique, morale"
Olivier Mauco - Question Théoriques, 2014.

This book deals with the public scandals that struck video games in France since the 80's. The author begins with an analysis of the public image of video game players broadcasted by the industry-produced ads, and compares it to the way general media dealt with video games. It actually sown the seeds for a moral crusade against video games, such as the one conducted by the Familles de France association. The book then studies the reasons, the details, and the outcomes of this famous episode of the French history of video games. An interesting and well documented book, to read alongside with previous attempts on this topic such as Qui a peur des jeux vidéo ? and l'Histoire des jeux vidéo polémiques


Les Jeux vidéo
French "Les Jeux vidéo"
Blaise Mao - Editions 10 / 18, 2013.

This book is part of a series titled "the world explained to grown-ups." Hence, with its 160 pages, it aims to explain, in a simple and accessible manner, the world of video games to people who don't know anything about it. Despite its reduced size, this books successfully manages to achieve his goal, as it talks about many topics: history of video games, their art and cultural aspect, their industry, their controversies (addiction & violence), alongside with more recent topics like gamification. The author has done a very good background research (despite a few errors regarding Serious Games), helping this book to become worthy of Qui a peur des jeux vidéo ?. A new reference book for anyone looking for a quick and simple introduction to the world of video games.


Les jeux vidéo, ça rend pas idiot
French "Les jeux vidéo, ça rend pas idiot"
Yann Leroux - Fyp Editions, 2012.

This tiny book (100 pages in a pocket format) is full of wisdom and expert analysis about a delicate topic: are videogames dangerous?  In this book, Yann Leroux, a psychologist specialized on this subject, provides us with a excellent synthesis of all the scientific studies that happened about the effects of violent videogames and the addiction to videogames. This synthesis is written in a clear and simple language, and we thus strongly recommend this book to any parent, teacher, politician, journalist who is worried about the growing importance of videogames in our society. Far from being an evangelist, the author achieves to bring some strong and proofed elements that can reassure us about videogame violence and addiction. No, videogames are not drugs. No, playing GTA won't magically transform you in a mass murderer. At worst, videogames can reveal a previously existing psychological and/or social issue on players. The main merit of this book is to finally be able to provide a thoughtful answer to the numerous mediatised storms that struck videogames, without any real scientific foundation, and thus without being able to start some real and constructive debate on this topic.


Rise of the Videogame Zinesters
English "Rise of the Videogame Zinesters"
Anna Anthropy - Seven Stories Press, 2012.

This book a call for all amateurs creators around the world to use videogames as means for their personal expression. The authors states that most commercial videogames are guided by market analysis more than creativity, as she concludes that this trend results in locking the expressive potential of videogames. But for Anna Anthropy, an American game designer recognized for its unique creations, there is still some hope left: what the industry can't or don't want to produce, the amateur game designers can. So she calls out any person, and more specifically anyone who doesn't match the "game industry worker" stereotype, to try making games in order to help the whole medium evolve.


Philosophie des jeux vidéo
French "Philosophie des jeux vidéo"
Mathieu Triclot - Zones, 2011.

An excellent book featuring a deep analysis of the experiences offered to players by videogames. Being at the same time a gamer and a scholar, the author provides us with his very thoughtful and stimulating ideas on this topic. The first three chapters are tackling the issue of defining games, video games, and the relation between games and movies / storytelling. As they are full of concepts and references, these chapters are a bit harder to read than the others. The three following chapters are dedicated to a critical analysis and summary of the history of videogames. This part of the book is absolutely brilliant. Mathieu Triclot introduces his "game genealogies", based on the kind of playful experiences offered by videogames. For example, the core experience of most arcade videogames is "putting yourself voluntarily in danger" and the search for extreme situations, which is in direct opposition to home console videogames focused on the exploration of an unknown universe at your own pace through a set of progressive learning steps. The last part of the book is dealing with a more philosophical topic: the growing digitization of our society and its relation to videogames, which leads the author to talk about gamification. A extremely brilliant and passionating book that any researcher and student working on videogames should read.


Le Jeu vidéo : ce que nous y recherchons
French "Le Jeu vidéo : ce que nous y recherchons"
Timothée Paez - Mon Petit Editeur, 2011.

This tiny 100 pages book attempts to tackle a broad question: "Why do people like video games?" The author starts with a quick definition of video games and game genres. He then details the different kind of pleasures video games have to offer: freedom, multiplayer cooperation, immersion, artistic feeling, exploration, and relationship with a virtual pet. While the book is pleasant to read and filled with many relevant examples, the small number of pages prevent the author to fully develop his thoughts, and to provide a thorough answer to his question. It would have certainly been wiser to focus on a few key points and to analyze them in detail by using references to social sciences (philosophy, sociology, etc.), which are missing here. In the end, the book still provides an interesting series of leads on the topic, with many examples of games rarely mentioned in other works, such as indie games.


Les jeux vidéos comme objet de recherche
French "Les jeux vidéos comme objet de recherche"
Samuel Rufat, Hovig Ter Minassian (eds.) - Questions Théoriques, 2011.

This scientific book gathers contributions from 12 researchers, coming from different fields, who are studying different sides of videogames: identification of the Game Designer knowledge, using videogames in schools, space in videogames, how to dissect a videogame to analyze it, analysis of MMORPG as social spaces...
N.B.: The members of Ludoscience wrote a chapter of this book, about "Serious Games".


Mythologie des jeux vidéo
French "Mythologie des jeux vidéo"
Laurent Trémel, Tony Fortin - Le Cavalier Bleu Editions, 2009.

This book aims to deconstruct the "positive discourses about video games", that helped it to be regarded in a less negative way as the time went by. While the topic is very interesting, the extremely small size of this book (96 pages in very small A6 format) prevents him to reach this goal. Instead of a rigorous analysis that such a topic requires, the authors limit themselves to some broad and bold critics (such as the french university being under the order of the video game industry....) without any real evidences to back them up. As some ideas of the book are interesting (some journalists and researchers using industry-published data without precaution, the arrival of "digital native" in the job market contributing to modify the image of video game in the media...), it's sad that the authors didn't took the time to explore them, even if it would have meant dealing with less topics due to the limited space available...


Mes enfants sont accros aux jeux vidéo !
French "Mes enfants sont accros aux jeux vidéo !"
Jean-Michel Oullion - Les Carnets de l'Info, 2008.

A book addressing the delicate "video game addiction" topic in a clear and thoughtful way. The book is suited to parents of young video game players, and explains the current state of scientific knowledge on this topic: in spite of what some un-rigourous journalists might say, video games are not a "drug", but some players may be in a "excessive playtime" state which they sometimes need help to escape from. To help parents achieve this goal, the book briefly introduces the main elements of the video game culture: its history, the main game genres, and their quite cryptic specific terms. It then explains the reasons that can lead someone to play excessively, as video games are usually a symptom of deeper problems, such as difficult life periods (family crisis, unemployment...) or real psychic problems (depression, schizophrenia...). The book also gives some practical solutions to help parents to connect back with their children, and help them reduce their playing time if needed. Last but not least, the book is enriched by many testimonies of players who suffered, or are still suffering, from being "video games addicts." An excellent book, very easy to understand, and full of useful information for parents worried about the place video games are taking in their children's lives.


Le monde des jeux vidéo
French "Le monde des jeux vidéo"
Olivia Fontaine - Alpen, 2007.

This tiny 88 pages book attempts to provide a introduction to the world of video games to people who doesn't know anything about them. It begins with a quick summary of the history of video games, followed by a detailed presentation of the main games genres. It then presents the main steps of the creation process of a video games, and ends with leads for their future. The book is written in a way that makes each topic covered over two pages only: video games from the 70's, the 80's, the 90's, action games, adventures games, the video game market, game engines, movement recognition interfaces, etc. While the shape of the book is good (beautiful color pictures), its content seems of average quality regarding the targeted audience. The history part is indeed quick and efficient, but also riddled with small errors, mainly in the dates (The Saturn being a 32/64 bits console? the PlayStation being released in 1996?). The genres descriptions is sometimes quite messy between the various genres and sub-genres (do we really need to dig into the difference between a manic shooter and a cute'em up without explaining how is Grand Theft Auto different from Max Payne ?). For the "creation of a video game" part, some topic are very well covered ("video game programming" and "gameplay") while some others are more confusing ("functional tests" and "middleware"). Overall, while the book remains interesting, it's not the best choice for someone who want to discover the world of video games. We would rather recommend them the classical "L'Univers des jeux vidéo" or the more recent "Les jeux vidéo" .


Le game design de jeux vidéo : Approches de l'expression vidéoludique
French "Le game design de jeux vidéo : Approches de l'expression vidéoludique"
Sébastien Genvo (ed.) - L'Harmattan, 2006.

A scientific book that gathers contributions from 18 researchers who are studying different sides of videogames (design, use, interactivity, storytelling, emotions, gender, etc.).


Video Games And Interactive Media: A Glimpse at New Digital Entertainment
English "Video Games And Interactive Media: A Glimpse at New Digital Entertainment"
Stéphane Natkin - A K Peters, 2006.

A small book (150 pages) laying down a general introduction to the universe of videogames. The author details the history of videogames (with the contribution of the Le Diberder brothers and their "cycles theory" on this topic), the various jobs of the videogames industry and the process of game design, and in a last chapter try to analyze the future of videogames as a communicational tool.
It's the English translation of a french book published in 2004 under the title "Jeux vidéo et médias du XXIe siècle."


The Game Design Reader - A Rules of Play Anthology
English "The Game Design Reader - A Rules of Play Anthology"
Katie Salen, Eric Zimmerman (eds.) - MIT Press, 2006.

With nearly 1000 pages, this heavy book was baked for you by two of best videogames researchers. I gathers many articles that anyone serious about the study of games must (or at least should) have read. The articles gathers are quite different, ranging from scientific essays about the definition of videogames (Huinzingua, Caillois, Suits, etc.) to players gaming diaries and professional game developers postmortems (Valve Software on how they created Half-Life, Lucasart on their pioneering MMO "Habitat", etc.). A book any videogame researcher should have on its bookshelf!


Half-Real - Videogames between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds
English "Half-Real - Videogames between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds"
Jesper Juul - MIT Press, 2005.

A great videogame analysis book written by one of the founders of the scientific study of games: the ludology. In this book, Jesper Juul explores the connections between videogames and fictional worlds, and he highlights the special features of videogames when it comes to "tell stories." The first part of the book features an essay about the definitions of "games" and "video games" which were heavily quoted (both endorsed or criticized) by most of the following scientific studies dealing with the same topic. A must-read.


Jeux vidéo et médias du XXIe siècle
French "Jeux vidéo et médias du XXIe siècle"
Stéphane Natkin - Vuibert, 2004.

A small book (150 pages) laying down a general introduction to the universe of videogames. The author details the history of videogames (with the contribution of the Le Diberder brothers and their "cycles theory" on this topic), the various jobs of the videogames industry and the process of game design, and in a last chapter try to analyze the future of videogames as a communicational tool.
An English translation of this book was published in 2006 under the title "Video Games And Interactive Media: A Glimpse at New Digital Entertainment."


La pratique des jeux vidéo : réalité ou virtualité ?
French "La pratique des jeux vidéo : réalité ou virtualité ?"
Mélanie Roustant (ed.) - L'Harmattan, 2003.

A scientific book gathering 12 chapters written by different authors who are studying videogames through the lens of sociology.


Introduction aux enjeux artistiques et culturels des jeux vidéo
French "Introduction aux enjeux artistiques et culturels des jeux vidéo"
Sébastien Genvo - L'Harmattan, 2003.

This tiny 80 pages book tackles the question of the artistic and cultural potential of video games. The first part of the book quickly reviews the history and classification of video games, using elements from the classical book written by Le Diberder Brothers. In the second part, the author deals with how players regard games. He then draws elements from his personal experience in a "gamer's club" running monthly Lan Parties (networked computer game sessions). Thanks to the interview of his fellow gamers, the author reveals that keen gamers and non-gamers don't see games through the same lens. It seems that only expert gamers are able to discuss the "gameplay" qualities of two different games. The last part of the book pursue this idea with a comparison of three different games : Nomad Soul (Quantic Dream, 1999), Counter-Strike (Minh le & Jess Cliffe, 1999) and Diablo 2 (Blizzard, 2000). For example, the books presents the online Diablo 2 sub-culture, where guilds are the basis of social relations between players. After this presentation of the cultural and artistic potential of video games, the author ends his book with an example of how some people try to legitimate games as cultural artifacts. He shares his own experience of organizing a giant Lan Party in a French University, which announces the rising academia interest in video games in France. Sébastien Genvo, who wrote this book is 2003, is actually part of the "first wave" of French academic researchers working on video games.


Rules of Play : Game Design Fundamentals
English "Rules of Play : Game Design Fundamentals"
Katie Salen, Eric Zimmerman - MIT Press, 2003.

One of the reference book about the scientific study and design of games. This huge 700 pages book will explore in great details the core concepts related to any kind of games: from outdoor sports to videogames games and TV games. The authors introduce a theoretical framework that defines three level of analysis, which were often cited by many others researchers: "Rules", to study games as artifacts, "Play", to analyze the human experience of playing games, "Culture", to study the impact of play in our society. Each level of analysis is details in a separate book part. A fourth part starts the book by laying down all the needed concepts to analyse play and games: the definition of games, the concept of magic circle, the idea of "meaningful play", etc. While being not an easy book to read, it's a wonderful synthesis of all previous theories related to traditional games, that are updated to match with videogames of today. A must read for any researchers seeking for a strong theoretical framework about games.


Digital Play : The Interaction of Technology, Culture and Marketing
English "Digital Play : The Interaction of Technology, Culture and Marketing"
Stephen Kline, Nick Dyer-Witheford, Greig de Peuter - MsGill-Queen's University Press (2nd edition), 2003.

This essay attempt to analyze the history of videogames through a critical lens in order to highlight the marketing, industrial and cultural strategies that drives the "videogames revolution."  An interesting book which succeed to go behind the usual "success stories" to make the reader think about the stakes at play in this cultural evolution.


Jeux de rôles, jeux vidéo, multimédia - Les faiseurs de mondes
French "Jeux de rôles, jeux vidéo, multimédia - Les faiseurs de mondes"
Laurent Trémel - Presses Universitaires de France, 2001.

A scientific essay trying to analyze pen & paper role-playing games and videogames using the lens of sociology.


L'Univers des Jeux Vidéo
French "L'Univers des Jeux Vidéo"
Alain Le Diberder, Frédéric Le Diberder - La Découverte, 1998.

An updated and improved edition of the french book "Qui a peur des jeux vidéo ? " ("Who's afraid of videogames?"). This new edition keeps the passionating chapter on the history of videogames (which introduces the idea of dividing the history according to generations of home consoles), the classification of videogames, and the global view of the influence of videogames in our society. The book content have been renewed, rewritten and updated, four years after its first edition. The two authors also address a series of then hot but still current issues: can videogames make kids violent? Are players really lacking social skills?Are videogames sexists? What about the ideologies broadcasted by some videogames? It's an excellent book with still relevant and thoughtful ideas. We warmly recommend you to read it, as it's now a "classic book", at least in France.


Qui a peur des jeux vidéo ?
French "Qui a peur des jeux vidéo ?"
Alain Le Diberder, Frédéric Le Diberder - La Découverte, 1993.

One of the first french book which seriously discussed about videogames. It features a passionating chapter on the history of videogames (which introduces the idea of dividing the history according to generations of home consoles), a classification of videogames, and a global view of the influence of videogames in our society. The two authors also address a series of then hot but still current issues: can videogames make kids violent? Are players really lacking social skills?Are videogames sexists? What about the ideologies broadcasted by some videogames? It's an excellent book with still relevant and thoughtful ideas. We warmly recommend you to read it, or to read its second edition as it's now a "classic book", at least in France.


Traditional games

Eurogames : The Design, Culture and Play of Modern European Board Games
English "Eurogames : The Design, Culture and Play of Modern European Board Games"
Stewart Woods - McFarland & Company, Inc., 2012.

This book analyses the modern wave of board games coming from Europe (mainly Germany), such as: Settlers from Catan, Carcassone, Ticket to Ride, Agricola, etc. After an introduction aiming to define the different kinds of "non digital" games (mass-market games, wargames, hooby games, etc.), the author details the captivating history of Anglo-American board games between 1960 and 1995: Acquire, Monopoly, Civilization, Illuminati, etc. The book pursues with the history of board games in Germany, and how this country initiated a cultural wave of games known today as "Eurogames": from the birth of the Essen festival to the influential magazines, alongside with the most iconic games. Then, the author studies a corpus of 139 Eurogames in order to analyzes their main game mechanisms. After studying games, the author focuses on players of such games, with interviews and surveys conducted over the largest player community of the world: the website BoardGameGeek. Last but not least, by merging the results player and games studies, the authors identifies the specific "pleasure to play" associated with this kind of games. Between games without direct confrontation mechanisms, and players looking for a pleasant social experience over victory, the authors is able to depict a brilliant portrait of the very own "Eurogames culture." It's a captivating and thought-provoking book, dealing with an understudied side of contemporary games. 


Sous couleur de jouer : La métaphore ludique
French "Sous couleur de jouer : La métaphore ludique"
Jacques Henriot - José Corti, 1989.

A thoughtful philosophical essay about play, in the broadest sense. Among others idea, the authors state his famous idea that "play is a matter of will", i.e. that nobody can play if he/she don't want to.


Homo Ludens
French "Homo Ludens"
Johan Huizinga - Gallimard (réédition - texte original 1938), 1988.

The book that founded (1938) the study of games in the humanities. The author states that games is an essential part of human culture, so he explores the role of game in societies. The concept of "magic circle", nowadays popular among researchers and game designers, comes from this book. Alongside with "Man, Play and Games", this is a book that any researcher working on games should read...
This dutch-written book was first translated into English in 1949, and this translation was revised in 1955 which is the English version text we can find today under the title "Homo Ludens."


Les jeux et les hommes
French "Les jeux et les hommes"
Roger Caillois - Gallimard (3ème édition - texte original 1958), 1985.

Answering the theories laid down by the pioneering book "Homo Ludens", Roger Caillois, an anthropologist, writes down a wonderful essay about play and game as a human activity. His work about the classification of games and their definition are part of the "founding books" that any researcher should have read...
This french-written book was first translated into English in 1961 under the title "Man, Play and Games."


Jeu et réalité, l'espace potentiel
French "Jeu et réalité, l'espace potentiel"
Donald Winnicott - Gallimard (traduit de l'anglais, texte original 1971), 1975.

A psychological essay written by the famous  pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donal Winicott who, starting from his theoretical concept of "transitional objects" analyses the topic of play and games. French translation of an English-written book titled "Playing and Reality" first published in 1971.


Miscellaneous

8 Bits of Wisdom: Video Game Lessons for Real Life's Endbosses
English "8 Bits of Wisdom: Video Game Lessons for Real Life's Endbosses"
Andy Schindler - CreateSpace, 2011.

An comical essay where the author analyses the "life lessons" embedded in some of the classical videogames from 8 and 16 bits home consoles (namely NES, Super NES, Genesis). For example, the two-players mode in Contra is about having a best friend, while Paperboy will teach you the basics of customer service. The quality of the different book chapters is very variable, but some chapters are excellent and they will undoubtedly makes you smile or laugh (in particular the hilarious chapter where Donkey Kong Country is presented as a fable about evil bosses - very thoughtful).


La théorie des jeux
French "La théorie des jeux"
Gaël Giraud - Flammarion, 2009.

A book introducing the so-called "game theory", which explains the numerous aspects of this research domain halfway between maths and economy. The author presents different kinds of "games", i.e. problems that allow him to introduce the various components of the game theory: zero-sum games and non zero-sum games, games with rational or irrational players, with or without collaboration, etc. While this book is exhaustive and while the author seems to master this topic, this book isn't recommended for beginners. Indeed, reading this book requires a solid background in maths, which, in addition to the sometimes hard-to-read content, makes it best suited to experts of the field.


The Ultimate Game Guide To Your Life: Or, the Video Game As Existential Metaphor
English "The Ultimate Game Guide To Your Life: Or, the Video Game As Existential Metaphor"
Christopher Monks - TOW Books, 2008.

A comical book. It's a parody of the videogame strategy guides, dedicated to the greatest "game" of them all: the real life. This book will give you advices to achieve many difficult goals such as "walking" (level: "baby"), "asking a girl out" (level: "teenager") or "finding a job" (level: young grown-up). While it's not the most revolutionary book out there, it's a nice book, with some either funny or deep chapters, and a few excellent chapters that are both entertaining and thoughtful at the same time.