VGL Classic: Book ‘Em

This article is from the original batch of Video Game Librarian articles I wrote for Gaming Target between 2005 and 2007. It was originally written on July 20, 2005.

After two articles showing a library adding PS2 games to their collection it’s time to look at another of the library’s main functions. Books! Yes, that’s right. In this age of DVDs, CDs and video games, libraries everywhere still carry books. And some of them are even about video games. But there has never really been one single book that people look at and say “This is what you must read to get the best understanding of video games.”

In fact, go to the Electronic Gaming section at any Barnes and Noble and what will you see? Strategy Guides and their up-and-coming cousin, the Making of Art Book, as far as the eye can see. That’s what people think of when they hear the words “video game books”. And why not? A generation of gamers were raised on Jeff Rovin’s How To Win At Nintendo Games” series after all.

There’s no doubt that they’re real books. Clocking in at several hundred pages each with not a screenshot to be seen. Actually, they may have been the first video game books that most of us were exposed to that were more than just screenshot catalogs. Yes, they were strategy guides, but Rovin brought a personality to these books that most other strategy guides lacked. Even today you’ll find gamers that react fondly when they hear the name Jeff Rovin.

But books about games, gaming and gamers have moved beyond the simple strategy guide. This is by no means a complete list of every video game related book out there, but it’s a good place to start with some of the titles that I have seen that can have an effect on the way people think about gaming. Continue reading