We have some great picks for those gamers who want to envision a different kind of landscape and enter the world of books!
Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
IN THE YEAR 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation, By Blake J. Harris
Following the success of The Accidental Billionaires and Moneyball comes Console Wars—a mesmerizing, behind-the-scenes business thriller that chronicles how Sega, a small, scrappy gaming company led by an unlikely visionary and a team of rebels, took on the juggernaut Nintendo and revolutionized the video game industry.
In 1990, Nintendo had a virtual monopoly on the video game industry. Sega, on the other hand, was just a faltering arcade company with big aspirations and even bigger personalities. But that would all change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske, a man who knew nothing about videogames and everything about fighting uphill battles. His unconventional tactics, combined with the blood, sweat and bold ideas of his renegade employees, transformed Sega and eventually led to a ruthless David-and-Goliath showdown with rival Nintendo.
The battle was vicious, relentless, and highly profitable, eventually sparking a global corporate war that would be fought on several fronts: from living rooms and schoolyards to boardrooms and Congress. It was a once-in-a-lifetime, no-holds-barred conflict that pitted brother against brother, kid against adult, Sonic against Mario, and the US against Japan.
Based on over two hundred interviews with former Sega and Nintendo employees, Console Wars is the underdog tale of how Kalinske miraculously turned an industry punchline into a market leader. It’s the story of how a humble family man, with an extraordinary imagination and a gift for turning problems into competitive advantages, inspired a team of underdogs to slay a giant and, as a result, birth a $60 billion dollar industry.
The Battle Begins (Bushido Online #1), by Nikita Thorn
How Often Do You Get a Second Chance in Life?
Seth Kinnaman’s dream has always been to become the best fighter the world has ever seen. After spending his entire life training, he’s finally ready to test his skills in the biggest tournament on Earth where hundreds of the fiercest competitors vie for the supreme title.
In the semi-finals, Seth is getting the upper hand when his opponent uses an illegal blow to take him out. Upon waking up from a coma, Seth finds out he’s lost his sight. He’s become blind and he’s completely devastated. All his dreams are now shattered, and he soon falls into depression. What is he going to do with his life?
That’s when he’s introduced to Bushido Online, a game that promises to keep his skills sharp while he figures out what his next move is going to be. Set in feudal Japan, this VRMMORPG is the land of ninjas and samurai. A world where the most honorable warriors meet the vilest bandits, and where mythical creatures roam free. When he’ll enter that new reality, Seth will discover that while it’s easy to make friends there, one doesn’t have to try very hard to get his fair share of powerful enemies.
Soon, he’s going to have entire clans hunting him down as he struggles to learn the ropes and regain a sense of normalcy. Thankfully, Seth has a few things going for him: his extensive knowledge of combat, and a never-say-die attitude.
“Bushido Online: the Battle Begins” is the first book in the Bushido Online series, a work of litRPG fiction.
Warcross, by Marie Lu
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life.
The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.
Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.
Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture, by David Kushner
Masters of Doom is the amazing true story of the Lennon and McCartney of video games: John Carmack and John Romero. Together, they ruled big business. They transformed popular culture. And they provoked a national controversy. More than anything, they lived a unique and rollicking American Dream, escaping the broken homes of their youth to produce the most notoriously successful game franchises in history—Doom and Quake— until the games they made tore them apart. This is a story of friendship and betrayal, commerce and artistry—a powerful and compassionate account of what it’s like to be young, driven, and wildly creative.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and Amazon, and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.