Top 5 Books About Gaming Culture for Gamers


There’s no shortage of peripheral media to support a gamer’s interest in video game culture in the video game industry. Today more than ever, video games matter deeply to our whole culture, and their impact is simply undeniable at this point. The market has been saturated with all sorts of fantastic video game books, whether that’s fiction or non-fiction. Today, I’m going to compile my top 5 books about gaming culture for you to get stuck into. But before you get stuck into the article how about I share a secret on how you could make some money while playing games and 10 kiwi online casinos will offer you that option with their amazing deals and bonuses. Now with that said and done let’s get this article going.

Getting Gamers: The Psychology of Video Games and their Impact on the People who Play Them (2015), Jamie Madigan

A bit of a wordy title, but don’t let that put you off. This book is a deep dive into video game culture, providing an ultimate history of the phenomenon of gaming over the years. It poses questions about the savory and unsavory aspects of gaming culture, looks at many well-known games, and even questions human nature.

As the title suggests, the author, psychologist Jamie Madigan, takes a broad look at the fans themselves in this book. He questions why online personas might be different from a gamer’s real-life persona and how video games and the real world intersect. It’s also a fantastic, rounded history of game design and game developers and covers these diverse topics incredibly engagingly.

This book is an excellent overview and introduction to the subject if you’re new to it. Whether your interest is playing video games or game development, this book covers everything.

Virtual Cities (2020), Konstantinos Dimopoulos

One of my favourite things about video games is their ability to present us with a vision of fully realized virtual worlds. These can come in different forms, like the satirical, modern-day representation of Los Angeles in Grand Theft Auto V or the high fantasy continent of Thedas in Dragon Age.

Virtual Cities is like a travel journal of the virtual world. This Atlas like exploration tracks the history and design of some of the most beautiful cities in the history of video games, from the dystopian, cyberpunk New York of Deus Ex to Antescher from Ant Attack.

Dimopoulos himself is a city planner and a game designer, so he has some pretty unique insights. This is a fascinating and unique book.

How Games Move Us (2016), Katherine Isbister

This is one of my top picks from this list. When it comes to any art, the simplest and often most interesting question you can ask about it is ‘why does it invoke an emotional response in me?’

Katherine Isbister aims to answer just that precise philosophical question, and she writes a genuinely great book in the process. Shorter and more straightforward than some of our other entries, but that’s part of what makes me interested in it. I often think the best ideas can be said in only a few words, certainly when interpreting art. The best art doesn’t need to be explained at length.

Isbister’s short study looks at a massive range of games to answer the question and is definitely a must-read. It’s written in a clear, fun style, despite its academic provenance.

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture (2003), David Kushner

There are a few video games in history that you can say without any doubt that they had a cosmic impact on the future of the industry. This book is a little bit older, but that’s part of why it’s great. This book looks at the history of id Software, the games company still around today that developed the groundbreaking Doom series.

First-person shooters have become one of the most widely played genres in the world today, and the games of id Software could be seen to be a large part of the reason for this. The demon-ripping, bloody and visceral mess that made up not only Doom but their earlier title, Wolfenstein 3D, both of which undeniably pioneered the first-person shooter genre, sparked decades-long debates about video game violence.

This book is essential reading for any gamer interested in the history of this genre, as it’s one of the most talked-about of all. The two men behind the company single-handedly reformed the industry, and this book is a fantastic look at that. Not just great history, but equally great writing.

Blood, Sweat and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made (2017), Jason Schreier

For the most part, we’ve looked at books that tackle the issue of how gamers have responded to video game culture. Jason Schreier’s book takes that all-important look behind the curtain and takes readers through the arduous, time-consuming process of developing games.

Today more than ever, we hear so much about the way the average game developer works. There is more and more of a conversation going on about how the industry functions. In recent years, many big-name video games have been repeatedly delayed due to development trouble. This book gives you a grand vision of why this can happen and the sheer excess of the adverse reactions that people sometimes have.

Schreier gives a fantastic overview of the whole development process, the blood, sweat and tears involved and just the overall sheer effort that it takes to craft a video game with care. This book does a great job of closing the gap between the fans and the developers.


Whatever your niche interest in games, there will be something here to satiate that need. All the books I’ve listed here are fascinating and detailed looks at all different elements of gaming culture, industry, and design. There is no longer any denying the enormous impact of video games on our culture in general, and playing them isn’t the only way to absorb that anymore. Try one of these books!

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