Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What is your favorite game design literature ?

Christmas is coming ...

And I am going to give Minecraft to a few people as a Christmas present. But don't tell them :)

At the same time, some people asked me lately what they could give me as a gift. That has always been a rather difficult question. But this year I think Christmas is a good opportunity to read some professional literature about game design. Time to find out whether the professionals actually 'get it'.

I'm looking for literature that is deep but still focuses on the practical application on a game-design level. After a few minutes at Amazon I found these books:
Designing Virtual Worlds
Richard Bartle

Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
Jane McGonigal

The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses
Jesse Schell

Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals
Katie Salen, Eric Zimmerman

Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture
T. L. Taylor

Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games
Edward Castronova

Game Design Workshop: Designing, Prototyping & Playtesting Games
Tracy Fullerton, Chris Swain, Steven Hoffman

Do you know other books which are worth reading?


  1. A Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster

  2. Bartle and Castranova are both worth reading, though much of what they say is pretty much common knowledge by now. I read Taylor, but frankly don't remember anything about the book. Whatever that may say about its quality ;)

    Koster stuck me as a must-read book for the "street-cred" but it really didn't contain all that much that interested me.

    I really enjoyed the books by Chris Crawford (including "On Game Design", but "On Interactive Storytelling" and especially "The Art of Interactive Design" are quite good as well.) Then again, I took a 2 week course with him and just like his style.

    Lee Sheldon's Character Development and Storytelling for Games is also worth a look, though it has been a couple of years since I last touched it.