You might be familiar with the small collection of books about video games that appear in every Barnes & Noble. Blood, Sweat, and Pixels. Masters of Doom. Console Wars. The endless pile of novels set in the Halo universe. And if you’re at a particularly cool bookstore, they might even have Rise of the Videogame Zinesters.
These books have become Gamer Canon for good reason, but every year we get a new crop of great game books that, for whatever reason, don’t get the attention they deserve.
So this year, with the holidays approaching, we want to spotlight the best new video game books of 2023. The collection spans from academia to arcades, including short but powerful calls for industry change and long and relaxed tours of forgotten retro gems.
Have you read something new that’s not on the list, but should be? Let us know in the comments!
Lost in Cult produces some of the most beautiful designs in the video game book space. The art avoids the retro cliches, the text is clean and readable, and the games get a presentation that’s pristine but never sterile. Cracking the spine of a Lost in Cult book is like visiting a new modern art museum that hasn’t given way to curatorial stuffiness and decades of established policy.
A Handheld History, in my humble opinion, is its most immediately appealing work. I mean, just look at that layout for Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble, a game I’m not so certain warrants this much TLC. That’s the trick of Lost in Cult, though. It treats every game with the affection and interest otherwise reserved for the most die-hard fans.
You can understand a lot about the work of Pippin Barr by reading the description of his latest project: “Super Mario Nothing is kind of a ROM hack of Super MarioRead more on polygon.com