5 Video Game Books to Watch Out For

metagaming
Metagaming by Stephanie Boluk and Patrick Lemieux (4 April 2017)
The greatest trick the videogame industry ever pulled was convincing the world that videogames were games rather than a medium for making metagames. Elegantly defined as games about games, metagames implicate a diverse range of practices that stray outside the boundaries and bend the rules: from technical glitches and forbidden strategies to Renaissance painting, algorithmic trading, professional sports, and the War on Terror. In Metagaming, Stephanie Boluk and Patrick LeMieux demonstrate how games always extend beyond the screen, and how modders, mappers, streamers, spectators, analysts, and artists are changing the way we play.

Metagaming uncovers these alternative histories of play by exploring the strange experiences and unexpected effects that emerge in, on, around, and through videogames. Players puzzle through the problems of perspectival rendering in Portal, perform clandestine acts of electronic espionage in EVE Online, compete and commentate in Korean StarCraft, and speedrun The Legend of Zelda in record times (with or without the use of vision). Companies like Valve attempt to capture the metagame through international e-sports and online marketplaces while the corporate history of Super Mario Bros. is undermined by the endless levels of Infinite Mario, the frustrating pranks of Asshole Mario, and even Super Mario Clouds, a ROM hack exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

One of the only books to include original software alongside each chapter, Metagaming transforms videogames from packaged products into instruments, equipment, tools, and toys for intervening in the sensory and political economies of everyday life. And although videogames conflate the creativity, criticality, and craft of play with the act of consumption, we don t simply play videogames we make metagames.

 

power-up
Power-Up: Unlocking the Hidden Mathematics in Video Games by Matthew Lane (23 May 2017)
Did you know that every time you pick up the controller to your PlayStation or Xbox, you are entering a game world steeped in mathematics? Power-Up reveals the hidden mathematics in many of today’s most popular video games and explains why mathematical learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom or from books–you’re doing it without even realizing it when you play games on your cell phone. In this lively and entertaining book, Matthew Lane discusses how gamers are engaging with the traveling salesman problem when they play Assassin’s Creed, why it is mathematically impossible for Mario to jump through the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario Bros., and how The Sims teaches us the mathematical costs of maintaining relationships. He looks at mathematical pursuit problems in classic games like Missile Command and Ms. Pac-Man, and how each time you play Tetris, you’re grappling with one of the most famous unsolved problems in all of mathematics and computer science. Along the way, Lane discusses why Family Feud and Pictionary make for ho-hum video games, how realism in video games (or the lack of it) influences learning, what video games can teach us about the mathematics of voting, the mathematics of designing video games, and much more. Power-Up shows how the world of video games is an unexpectedly rich medium for learning about the beautiful mathematical ideas that touch all aspects of our lives–including our virtual ones.

the-game-console
The Game Console: A History in Photographs by Evan Amos (31 May 2017)
The Game Console is a tour through the evolution of video game hardware, with gorgeous full-color photos of 86 consoles. You’ll start your journey with legendary consoles like the Magnavox Odyssey, Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System, and the Commodore 64. The visual nostalgia trip continues with systems from the 1990s and 2000s, and ends on modern consoles like the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U.

Throughout the book, you’ll also discover many consoles you never knew existed, and even find a rare peek at the hardware inside several of history’s most iconic video game systems.

100 greatest video game consoles.jpg
100 Greatest Video Game Characters (15 Jun 2017)
Though in existence for only a few decades, video games are now firmly established in mainstream culture all around the planet. Every year new games are produced, and every year new favorites emerge. But certain characters have become so iconic that they withstand both time and the shifting interests of players. Such creations permeate other elements of popular culture-from graphic novels to film-and are known not only to dedicated gamers but to the general public as well. In 100 Greatest Video Game Characters, readers can learn about some of the most popular and influential figures that have leapt from computer monitors and television screens and into the public consciousness. The entries in this volume provide general facts about the characters as well as explore their cultural significance. The entries include the following information: *Game developer *Year character was established *Video game franchise In addition, the book examines the commonalities of various video game characters to help readers better understand their popularity and how they operate within the video games and the industry itself. Whether casually looking up information on video game characters or researching what these icons says about society, readers will enjoy this entertaining and informative volume. Comprehensive and engaging, 100 Greatest Video Game Characters will appeal to fans and scholars alike.

gaming representation.jpgGaming Representation: Race, Gender and Sexuality in Video Games (17 Jul 2017)
Recent years have seen an increase in public attention to identity and representation in video games, including journalists and bloggers holding the digital game industry accountable for the discrimination routinely endured by female gamers, queer gamers, and gamers of color. Video game developers are responding to these critiques, but scholarly discussion of representation in games has lagged far behind. Gaming Representation examines portrayals of race, gender, and sexuality in a range of games, from casuals like Diner Dash, to indies like Journey and The Binding of Isaac, to mainstream games from the Grand Theft Auto, BioShock, Spec Ops, The Last of Us, and Max Payne franchises. Arguing that representation and identity function as systems in games that share a stronger connection to code and platforms than it may first appear, the contributors to this volume push gaming scholarship to new levels of inquiry, theorizing, and imagination.

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