Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Books

PBF. Don't ask me how this connects to this topic, I just think it's funny.

With my Xbox and Laptop out of commission the last two weeks, I've had a lot of time to catch up on my reading:

Scott McCloud - Understanding Comics
I kept hearing this book recommended by designers of all walks of life. I enjoy the odd graphic novel, but I wouldn't consider myself close to a fan, I don't even own a single comic book. However, what makes this book relevant is how it so effectively analyzes and breaks down it's own medium, but also provides a very useful perspective on all media. One could use this book as a "how to" guide for connecting with your audience/player. Plus, it's a damn comic book, who wouldn't have fun reading one to learn ;)

Raph Koster - A Theory of Fun for Game Design
A short and sweet summary of what games do for people, and generally why we go about playing them. It's a refreshing read and an accessible book for us Short-Attention Spanned types. Informative as it is brief, and overall, I highly recommend it to just about anyone who is involved in games.

Jesse Schell - The Art of Game Design
For once I'd like to read a game design book that bridges the high-concept theory behind game design, and the practical side of what an actual game designer "does". This book is the answer and easily the best I've read on the topic by far. Not only is it comprehensive, but accessible.

A feature which makes it so interesting, is how Schell has managed to implement a game design mechanism into the book itself. A major goal of the book is to communicate the mind map that is Game Design (what does it mean, and what are the goals?). Each chapter introduces a new chunk of mind map. Gradually, as you read through the book, this mind map is developed right in front of your eyes like a dungeon map one might develop as they play through a game of Zelda.

He even manages to take a poke at the old annoying debate of "what defines a game". Ha.