Apr 3 2017

Game Design 101

Here's a rather eclectic and absolutely personal list of books on game design I've been reading and using in the past 7-8 years. Note that most of these approach games from a theoretical perspective ("what is a game, I wonder") rather than from a practical perspective ("how to design a game in five simple steps").

For those of you who want to have a slightly more cohesive overview, the slide decks from my Game Design course (1. Structure of games, 2. Game space, 3. Formal elements of games, 4. Dramatic elements and player embodiment) which synthesize some of the core concepts from a few of these books might be a good introduction. If you are interested in the liminal territory of new media design, here's also my 2014 World IA Day Bristol presentation It's pitch black. You're likely to be eaten by a grue (with notes), mostly dealing with the idea of place in games and its ties to the information architecture of infospace.

The list is in alphabetic order by author, contains only books and all entries link back to their Amazon pages. I'll probably make another list with articles and papers (there's way too many good ones), and the dozen books which are already sitting on my bookshelf but I haven't read yet, including Bogost's “Unit Operation” and Barton's “Dungeons and Desktops”. As always, I hope you'll find it useful. Drop me a line if you have questions. Or ping me on Twitter.

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