50 Books for Game Developers

50 Books For Everyone In the Game Industry is a compilation by Ernest Adams.

Because I’m a game developer, I naturally gravitate towards books on development; but clearly 3DS Max tutorials and books on Java aren’t appropriate. At the same time, there are relatively few books on the shelves that teach how to create a marketing campaign for a videogame, or how to negotiate with Wal-Mart’s buyers.

In the end I decided to concentrate on the one thing that binds us all together: the games themselves. What I’ve done is to assemble a collection of books that address the following questions:

* What are games (and videogames)?
* What has been the history of video games?
* How are games related to other media, and what might we learn from those media?
* How and why do people play games? And finally, how (in general terms) should we design and build them?

So we won’t find books like “Game Coding Complete” or “The Indie Game Development Survival Guide” on this list, but we will find books that should be useful for anyone involved game development. Whether you are an artist, a programmer, a tester, or a producer, these books should give you greater insight into what makes for a better video game.

It is broken down into twelve topics:
1. Theory
2. Design Practice
3. Writing
4. Graphic Design
5. Music / Audio
6. Online Community
7. The History of Games
8. Sociology
9. People, Projects, and Businesses
10. Other Media and Useful Disciplines
11. Deep Background
12. Inspirations

Among the books listed are “Game Over: Press Start to Continue” by David Sheff, which documents Nintendo’s life from playing card manufacturer to the bringer of life to a dying industry. I found it fascinating when I read it a few years ago. “The Mythical Man-Month” by Fredrick Brooks was suggested to me recently by Larry. “Everything Bad is Good For You” by Steven Johnson has been touted as a good counter-example to the “video games are evil” crowd.

I’ve read some of the books and have more on my wishlist, but I did not know about quite a few of them. Quite a few of his choices are interesting, such as “The Hunt for Red October”. You could do worse than to follow Adams’ suggestions.

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