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Spelunky book photo
Spelunky book

A book about Spelunky is in the works from game creator Derek Yu


Published by Boss Fight Books
Jul 09
// Ben Davis
I have lost count of how many hours I've sunk into Spelunky, both the original free PC game and the multiplatform remake. And just when I think I'm starting to master the tough-as-nails procedurally generated platformer, I se...
Persona 4 manga photo
Persona 4 manga

Udon publishing Persona 4 manga in English


Coming this September
Jun 17
// Steven Hansen
Aside from two different anime series, a great Vita port, and whatever else, Persona 4 also got a manga that was previously only available in Japan (in Japanese, except through fan translation). Maker of fine books Udon is br...

Review: Shooter

Jun 02 // Nic Rowen
Shooter (Book)Released: June 2, 2015MSRP: $5.00 Shooter is a collection of essays from recognizable names in game criticism speaking on a wide range of topics related to games that involve some kind of gunplay. Some chapters take a deep dive into the mechanical and technical details that make shooters what they are. Steven Wright's “The Joys of Projectiles: What We've Forgotten About Doom” for example, laments the rise of “realistic” modern shooters and how their largely interchangeable hitscan assault rifles have abandoned many of the mechanics that made early FPS games so pleasurable and skill testing. Others are more personal, such as Gita Jackson's touching reflection on how Counter-Strike could be seen as a microcosm of the (seemingly one-sided from her self-deprecating perspective) sibling rivalry she shared with her brother. Shooter strikes a great balance, it never gets so bogged down in technical minutia that it feels like a lecture in game design, but has enough mechanical grounding that it doesn't just become a series of anecdotes either. The games Shooter examines are varied and numerous. Of course genre forebears and trendsetters like Doom, Half-Life and Call of Duty are discussed as you would expect, but there is plenty of attention paid to less bombastically popular titles as well. Genre-defying shooters like Red Orchestra 2 with its brutally unforgiving depiction of realistic combat, and the insidious darkness of Far Cry 2, which sets aside the typical rationales for heroic violence to make the player complicit in something unsettling, get entire chapters dedicated to them. It's a great technique. By examining the few games that step outside of the bounds of typical FPS conventions and power fantasy dynamics and figuring out why they feel so different, it is easier to pinpoint the standard tropes and expectations of the genre that have become so ubiquitous that they are nearly invisible. Perhaps the greatest praise I can give to Shooter is that it made me reexamine and reflect on my feelings about a few games. When a piece of criticism grabs you by the collar and demands you take a second look at something, you know its doing it's job right. Filipe Salgado's chapter on the intentional ugliness and barely contained chaos of Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days almost made me want to play through the game again with a fresh set of eyes -- eyes more willing to see past the clunky mechanics and thoroughly unlikable protagonists to scan for deeper meaning. Almost anyway (this is still Dog Days we're talking about). At its best, Shooter feels like a lively conversation with some very smart people who enjoy, but expect more from, their trigger happy games. Its snappy, intelligent, and occasionally funny. At it's worst, the book veers into the pretentious. At times, it feels less like a conversation and more like an awkward dinner party dominated by a lecturing windbag everyone is too polite to interrupt. Thankfully these rough patches are few and far between. The rest of the book is well worth putting up with the occasional eye-rolling turn of phrase. Mostly though, Shooter feels important. The industry needs more “capital C” Criticism to unravel the subtext and ideas behind the games we love. Games mean something. They impart messages, communicate ideas, either by conscious choice on the part of their developers or by the assumptions they make -- the casual omissions and things taken for granted. We have to start examining these ideas in a mature, intelligent, and yes, academic way. Shooter isn't the first example of this kind of criticism in games writing of course; there have certainly been other books written, and articles penned (on sites like Destructoid, I might add) that dive into these waters. But, it is still very much a nascent field. Video games are a young medium, and we haven't had time to establish a critical tradition like film and literature has. We need to cultivate these voices; the generation of writers that will talk about games in a serious manner in the coming decades. What better way to stake a claim in this new field than to gather a variety of exceptionally talented voices to talk about and critically examine what is generally considered gaming's dumbest, most developmentally arrested genre? The thrill of shooting a Cyber-Demon with a rocket launcher may be obvious and simple, but there is a lot to unpack when you take a closer look.
Shooter Review photo
Looking at life down the barrel of a gun
Shooters seem simple. You step into the shoes of your typical tough guy space-marine or mercenary and empty clip after clip into the faces of Nazis, or aliens, or alien-Nazis from the vaguely disembodied gun bobbing up and do...

The Witcher photo
Books, aye, remember them?!
As we all know, Geralt of Rivia is back on fine video game form with The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, but lesser known is his return to print with Sword of Destiny. First published in 1992, Andrzej Sapkowski's second short story...

New Guinness Game Editio photo
New Guinness Game Editio

Guinness' Gamer's Edition 2015 lets you know how to make mom finally love you


Play Minecraft for 25 hours to make those years up
Feb 06
// Jason Faulkner
Wanna know what you have to do to be the best? The new Guinness World Records 2015 Gamer's Edition hosts a diverse listing of various gaming records. Wanna have the largest Tomb Raider memorabilia collection in...
To Be or Not To Be photo
To Be or Not To Be

Choose your own adventure Hamlet is now a game


To Be or Not To Be
Feb 04
// Darren Nakamura
A few years ago, Ryan North (of Dinosaur Comics fame) set up a Kickstarter campaign for a "choose your own adventure" styled retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet, titled To Be or Not To Be. It enjoyed enormous success, making m...
In Real Life photo
In Real Life

Not-Review: In Real Life


A beautiful look at MMO psychology, relationships and economics
Sep 18
// Jonathan Holmes
First Second is quickly becoming one of the best small press comic publishers, especially for those who like videogames. Their Glorkian Warrior book and corresponding videogame are both delightful in their own right, though n...
Story Bundle photo
Story Bundle

The Video Game 4.0 collection from Story Bundle is out now


There's two music albums included too
Aug 20
// Alasdair Duncan
I've barely finished reading the titles I bought with the last videogame-themed offer from Story Bundle and now the fourth one is here for us to enjoy. As always, there's a great mix of books on offer and for the first time, ...
Digital Devil Saga photo
Digital Devil Saga

Digital Devil Saga novels coming to the U.S., so read 'em if you refuse to play the series


I know I PERSONA-LLY have to have these
Jul 31
// Brittany Vincent
A series of books based on the Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga series is being published in the U.S. by Bento Books. There are five books in total which are authored by Yu Godai. The first book is titled Quantum Devil ...
Just in time for EVO photo
Just in time for EVO

Finally learn to play fighting games with this free guide


It all starts with Street Fighter
Jul 08
// Steven Hansen
I'm currently trying to get good at Bushido Blade and cursing Square Enix for not making a new one, but I do often talk about wanting to get good at one fighting game -- Persona, these days -- much like I talk about one ...
Story Bundle photo
Story Bundle

The eBook Video Game Bundle is out now


There's some great titles on the rise and fall of SEGA and Atari available
Apr 04
// Alasdair Duncan
The previous videogame-themed collection of eBooks from Story Bundle kept me well read for quite some time, so I'm more than ready to dip into the new 3.0 bundle. There's some really eye-catching titles in the bundle, includi...
Not a game photo
Not a game

999: The Novel is a Choose Your Own Adventure book


Should have charged nine dollars
Mar 17
// Steven Hansen
What really is a game, anyway? This is a question that bothers a lot of insecure people with insignificant things to argue about. Actually, when 999 came out on iOS in Japan we learned it had removed the "escape the room" puz...

Review: The Art of Titanfall

Mar 15 // Ian Bonds
The Art of Titanfall (Book)Publisher: Titan BooksReleased: February 25, 2014MSRP: $34.95 The Art of Titanfall is an impressive tome. At 192 pages, it's nice to see that no details have been spared. Or at least, that's the impression the book gives, as it delves into so much thorough detail that I'm not sure Respawn didn't given them every single asset from the game. Beginning with the Titans themselves, the book details all the different classes, as well as intricate cockpit views and brief descriptions detail how they went from drawing to concept renders, some even before it was decided the title would be a multiplayer game. The Ogre, Atlas, and Stryder are each given several pages of detailed paintings and renders, and are described with little details that most may not pick up on while playing the game, such as Atlas not being so named for the mythical character, but rather for the globe-like "head" so you can tell where the Titan is looking. Character models of the pilots, militia, grunts, and creatures round out the first section, with minimal details. While the different types of soldiers and such each get a brief description to go along with the specific characters, the creatures don't fare as well. I would have liked to have seen a bit more in the creature department, as we really only get a few sketches in that section, but the rest of the book more than makes up for it. The vehicle section is truly impressive, with practically each spaceship, aircraft, and ground vehicle getting full-page representation, mixing between sketch and final render, and sometimes both. There's also an extensive section on the weapons and tech of the game, from assault rifles and drones, to gorilla tanks and rail guns, each getting a brief description on design. For fans of the game, the level of detail here is impressive, but the next section will really be what most players of the game will enjoy. Each of the locations in the game are all represented here, with beautiful detailed renders are paintings of each locale, some taking up full two-page spreads. It always fascinates me how much detail goes into concept art, with each little sign, plant, and bullet ricochet painstakingly visualized. Don't expect it to showcase each choke-point or focus on strategy placements here, as these are more focused on the design aspect of the level. The industrial  dockyard of Angel City, the cold sterile environment of the Colony, the sheer staggering size of the Boneyard are all given multiple pages to pour over, giving more background detail as to what each of these environments represents in the world of the game, and how their design came about. The locations section is easily the biggest part of the book. My favorite section, however, is the final one: the Graphics and Modeling section showcases the signage you may not really notice in the background of the levels, as well as the physical maquettes made to show how the Titans and pilots would look in 3D. These models are all hand made from scratch bits, and it's a neat inclusion in the book. However, these can't compare to the full-sized Titan that was built for E3 2013. Damn, that thing is impressive. There's a lot of detail in this collection, and practically every description along with the art has quotes from the development team or artist involved in its production. There's a lot to absorb here, but if you're drawn into the world of the game, this is a great companion piece.
Titanfall photo
So. Much. Art.
When you create a new IP from scratch, it's pretty much a given that you'll have to go through a lot of the design phase until you land on an idea that jumps out at you. The developers at Respawn Entertainment had no idea wha...

Console Wars photo
Console Wars

Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg directing Console Wars movie


Nintendo vs. Sega
Feb 24
// Jordan Devore
Author Blake Harris' Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation will be available in the US this May, but the story doesn't end there. Sony Pictures is adapting the book into a feature-length movie...

Review: Dark Souls: Design Works

Jan 14 // Chris Carter
Dark Souls: Design Works (Book)Publisher: UdonReleased: January 21, 2014MSRP: $39.99 Design Works is a modest little book that mostly delivers environments and characters with little exposition. To be clear, this is a book for those who truly like to look at art for hours on end, as there's very little in terms of expanding the lore of Dark Souls. It starts off with a number of pages dedicated to specific areas and creatures, then it moves on to the concept art, and the early designs of some bits that never made it into the game. It's a rather full artbook with 112 pages of pure art, so there's plenty to flip through. It is a hardcover book, but the silver gloss printing on the front looks a bit cheap (like it would rub off), and the quality of the book itself isn't all that impressive. As for the art, most fans will be able to recognize obvious bosses like the Gaping Dragon, but there's a tiny bit of text next to each character to identify them. Despite hitting most of the major facets of the game, what the book decides to focus on is uneven, as some minor creations get a lot of love like Havel the Rock (who sports a full page), but others like Frampt get one tiny box. It's a bit puzzling and might be because it's the only bit of artwork they could get their hands on for the book, but you should be prepared to be underwhelmed by some of the inclusions. Sadly, a few areas are erroneously marked in the process to localize the book, like the case of the Mimic (a treasure chest monster) and the Serpent Mage, who are mismatched. Bosses are shown off in all their glory however, and the art for foes like the Four Kings is phenomenal.  Next up is the weapons and armor section, which displays an impressive array of equipment -- but if you don't play the games, they're going to look all the same to you. One area I was particularly disappointed in is the lack of unused material, or art we haven't seen before in some fashion. Flipping through the hardcover guide that launched with the game, I noticed that a lot of the same pieces were re-used, so I was really looking forward to the concept art. There's some interesting unused areas and characters to ogle at but not much. Poor Artorias (one of my favorite characters) is lumped in this section, before he ended up heading up his own DLC campaign. To cap it all off, there's an interview with director Hidetaka Miyazaki and four From Software designers (Daisuke Satake, Hiroshi Nakamura, Masanori Waragai, and Mai Hastuyama). It's 12 pages altogether (with tiny print to boot), and pretty in-depth. It's from December 2011, but it's still pretty insightful, and sheds a few facts like how bosses are created (unlike the rest of the project, these are apparently done in isolation with a singular artist in charge of a boss), and how each map and layout was achieved. Story-centric origins are also discussed, and I particularly liked the bit where the Ceaseless Discharge's backstory was revealed, despite the fact that it wasn't outright explained at any point in the actual game (barring some item-centric lore). There's even talk of influences and a whole lot of anime is name-dropped, including Record of Lodoss War, Saint Seiya, and Jojo's Bizzare Adventure. This is easily the best part of the book, and I wish there were more sections like this peppered throughout. Unlike Hyrule Historia, which contained multiple interviews and tidbits to shed some more light on Zelda's massive universe, there aren't a whole lot of extras here to augment your enjoyment of the Souls series. Dark Souls: Design Works could have been a lot more expansive, but at a discount price (it's approximately $25 on Amazon), it's mostly on the mark for those of you who can't get enough of this franchise.
Dark Souls art book photo
Mostly for the fans
The art of the Souls series blows me away. It truly is an adventurous experience, because although the style is consistent, you literally never know what you're going to walk into next. Whether it's a series of decadent ...

Capcom book photo
Capcom book

Review: Capcom 30th Anniversary Character Encyclopedia


From Ada Wong to Zero
Dec 25
// Jonathan Holmes
[Update: The book is currently on-sale for just over $8] The people running the show at Capcom have been irritating fans and employees alike for years now -- burning bridges, nickel and diming consumers, canceling games, land...
Wario Land 4 eBook photo
Wario Land 4 eBook

Wario Land 4 to be critically analyzed in 600-page eBook


I'm jealous I didn't think of this first
Dec 17
// Brett Zeidler
Game Design Companion: A Critical Analysis of Wario Land 4 is a 600-page eBook that will analyze the entirety of Wario Land 4. I'll just give you a moment to let that sentence sink in. Seriously, Daniel Johnson has put togeth...
StoryBundle photo
StoryBundle

Pay what you want for these videogame books


StoryBundle 2.0 offers bonus items for $10 or more
Nov 26
// Alasdair Duncan
I eagerly picked up the first videogame collection that was offered by StoryBundle, purveyors of pay-what-you want eBook bundles, so I eagerly snapped up the 2.0 bundle. You can pay what you want for six eBooks and magazines ...
Telltale photo
Telltale

Telltale is reportedly working on Game of Thrones


Try to keep your cool
Nov 21
// Jordan Devore
This is one of those rumors that you can just picture being true. According to IGN, sources say Telltale Games is making a game based on Game of Thrones. Whether the project will draw inspiration directly from the HBO show or...
Kickstarter photo
Kickstarter

Upcoming Sega Genesis/Megadrive art book looks marvelous


25th anniversary book celebrates Sega's 16-bit glory
Nov 17
// Wesley Ruscher
SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works, an officially licensed 25th anniversary commemorative compilation of artwork, development sketches, hardware manufacturing plans, and interviews from Sega's golden years looks to be t...
Books photo
Books

Diablo book Stay Awhile and Listen now available


A tale of two Blizzards
Nov 01
// Jordan Devore
We had previously posted an excerpt from David L. Craddock's Stay Awhile and Listen: How Two Blizzards Unleashed Diablo and Forged a Video-Game Empire - Book 1 and it's now available for Kindle, iBooks, Nook, and Google Play....
Deadly Premonition photo
Deadly Premonition

Deadly Premonition 'Visual Companion' ebook released


They sure do know how to milk a success
Oct 14
// Conrad Zimmerman
Fans of Deadly Premonition are being offered a new "Visual Companion" ebook through the iTunes store today. The supplement features more than 350 pages of material, including some of Swery65's notes, and an assortment of...
Yoshitaka Amano photo
Yoshitaka Amano

Look at Yoshitaka Amano's Deva Zan story and art book


Literary debut of legendary illustrator
Oct 04
// Jayson Napolitano
I've been looking forward to getting this book for a long time. When we featured The Sky: The Art of Final Fantasy some months back, we were told about the impending release of Deva Zan, Amano's literary debut that not ...
Tom Clancy  photo
Tom Clancy

Author and game contributor Tom Clancy dies at age 66


Rest in peace
Oct 02
// Darren Nakamura
Thomas Leo "Tom" Clancy, Jr., best known in the videogame industry as the name attached to several Ubisoft-published military and espionage franchises, died yesterday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the Baltimore area. Clancy wr...
Diablo photo
Diablo

The origin of Diablo


An excerpt from Stay Awhile and Listen
Sep 26
// Jordan Devore
Recently, I've been making my way through Stay Awhile and Listen: How Two Blizzards Unleashed Diablo and Forged a Video-Game Empire - Book 1. Considering the game's humble beginnings at Condor, it blows my mind to think about...

Contest: Win a copy of DmC: The Chronicles of Vergil!

Sep 17 // mrandydixon
About the book: Taking place a few months before the smash-hit reimagining of the videogame series, DmC: The Vergil Chronicles unveils all-new aspects of Dante's reimagined world! In a world controlled by demons, Dante is humanity's last remaining hope. But Dante is lost, imprisoned far from the human world. Accompanied by Kat, a human psychic, and nearly driven insane by his inner demon, Dante's twin brother Vergil must now attempt a rescue! Discover the shocking secrets behind the stunning new Capcom videogame, DmC: Devil May Cry! A complete story in a single volume, this story provides never-before-seen information on the iconic characters of the game.
DmC Graphic Novel Contest photo
The graphic novel prequel to DmC
[Update: Contest over! Winners are Scield, HammerShark, and Sephzilla!] Our friends at Titan Books have given us three copies of their new graphic novel DmC: The Chronicles of Vergil to hand out to the Destructoid community! ...

 photo

Meunier's guide to games journalism is thorough, sober


Up Up Down Down Left Write
Aug 05
// Niero Gonzalez
I don't know Nathan Meunier personally, but after powering through his book on freelance games writing I can tell that the man has been through the trenches -- and still managing to thrive within them. Up Up Down Down Left Wr...
Sweet UDON books photo
Sweet UDON books

SDCC-exclusive UDON books up for pre-order August 1


MM25 will be MINE, I say! MINE!
Jul 31
// Tony Ponce
San Diego Comic-Con came and went, and despite my best efforts to use the Dtoid team to my own ends, I was unable to score the coveted hardcover edition of MM25. Thanks a lot, DALE! But no worries! UDON promised that all its ...
Nobuo Uematsu photo
Nobuo Uematsu

Final Fantasy composer talks to us about upcoming e-book


Three pieces of music and a touching story
Jul 19
// Jayson Napolitano
We mentioned a few days ago that Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu was preparing an e-book titled Blik-0 with accompanying music. I was immediately curious to learn more, and fortunately Uematsu was on hand at San Diego Co...
 photo

UDON brings a Mega load of new books to SDCC


Mega Man 25th anniversary and more
Jul 18
// Dale North
The blue beauty pictured above? That's the Comic-Con exclusive blue laser foil hardcover edition of MM25: Mega Man & Mega Man X Official Complete Works. This thing is heavy, packed with over 400 pages of content -- everyt...

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