Best gaming books 2020: novels, retro compendiums and other page-turners

There is still nothing better than physical media, I think, and many game books contain that. They are among the best accompanying material in the vast world of game merchandise. They offer a fine and sophisticated way to add your gear and merchandise collection, and also offer a way to load more information and background content for our favorite games.

So, when it comes to physical game merchandise, video game books combine some wonderful things to make them truly attractive acquisitions: by combining insight behind the scenes with illustrations and inspiration, or filling in great stories and narrative gaps seamlessly with great imagination, or we take us back to our early days of gaming with a wonderful retrospective look at the retro gaming scene. Gaming books, in all their forms, are something to cherish and are highly valued among the wealth of plastic and flammable tat that usually comes to the fore when we look at game merchandise.

The best gaming books

We have many game books to the highest extent, (we also have a special guide for the best art books for video games). And you'll see some of our favorites here as we watch the best game books: from innovations and supporting fiction to beautiful art and lore books and books that specifically celebrate the retro games from our past – there's a glorious selection to choose from select. (Just like a warning, book covers and artworks may look different depending on where you are in the world, but as long as you use the links below and stick to the book titles, you won't go wrong.


(Image credit: future)

Novels are a great way to continue enjoying the stories of our favorite games – or to enjoy them again, but in a slightly different but equally absorbing way. Admittedly, some are more successful than others, but overall there are some great books that match some of the largest and best game series that we know and love.

It is important to note that even the most apparently simple renewal of the game plot – such as the Assassin & # 39; s Creed books – is still worth reading, as the writers and authors often have many extra background stories and provide narrative or plot sequences that support and fill & # 39; gaps & # 39; who may have had the games. For example, you get some extra Kenway Saga background story and information with the novel Forsaken, rather than just a retelling of Assassin's Creed III. You will also find that some games packed with history and history, and different countries and peoples produce truly rich new series with unique, stand-alone stories that are truly moving, such as the Dragon Age books.

Anyway, there are many, many series of novels based on games that wouldn't be very inspiring to list them all, but there are several striking series of novels to go to initially, and you'll find some of them below, starting with one that has recently become very popular again …

Witcher book series | Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
The Witcher books are driving behind the recent Netflix series. Go for The Last Wish for the very beginning or Blood of Elves to jump in at the beginning of Ciri & # 39; s & # 39; Saga & # 39; to enjoy some great stories and stories from The Continent.

Assassin & # 39; s Creed book series | Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
Oliver Bowden et al. Do a great job by connecting the dots and adding a story to the conflict between Templar and Assassin through the ages. You can start with Renaissance, because it was the first book to be published, with The Secret Crusade following Altair according to the first game, or whatever you use alongside your favorite game.

Metro book series Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
Combine the recent and definitive DLC release of Metro Exodus with these moody and moving underground stories that take place during the post-nuclear apocalypse in Moscow. Fortunately, they are easy to navigate due to the year number that appears on each, so Metro 2033 is the one you want to use first.

Degraded book series Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
An underestimated series of books, the three of these novels keep the rich world of Dishonored's Empire of the Isles and its history and locations with great effect alive. The Corroded Man is the first book.

Dragon Age book series | Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
One of the richest, most interesting and brilliant game worlds in Thedas comes to life in these novels. So much knowledge and history has already been captured by the games to build on. To get started with the books you want to start with The Stolen Throne.

Halo book series | Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
An iconic game series, with an established and deep universe to exhaust; it's a great setup for a book series. You want to start with Halo: The Fall of Reach to get the ball rolling.

Mass Effect book series Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
Like the Dragon Age series, there is a rich mine of tradition and history to mine with the futuristic scifi setting of Mass Effect. Start with the one called Mass Effect: Revelation.

Gaming Art books

(Image credit: future)

Art books about video games are some of my favorite things to collect and I have dozens of which I often enjoy going in and out of. Gone are the days of guide and strategy books that happen to contain some art, and even the books behind the scenes (& # 39; how the developers made the game & # 39;) are not seen that often. Now they deal with inspirations and concept illustrations, further knowledge about the game universe and information, post histories and character backgrounds – and improve almost everything about a game and what you thought you knew about it. They really are some of the best video game books you can get. There are hundreds of these art books, and every year we are treated to more, so we've pointed you in the right direction at the same time, in general, and a bit more specifically, below. (You will have to forgive us for not including everyone's favorites * sadface *.)

Video game art books at Amazon US
This link takes you to a series of beautiful books about video games. The lists often start with some big hitters or recent releases, but you will find everything you want.

Some real public favorites are there and always remain popular, so I have taken the liberty to list below some for inspiration, as well as some of the nailed excellent gaming books that still have to adorn our bookshelves and that are for pre-order.

The World of the Witcher Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
This compendium is a perfect book to go along with the novels, games and now the Witcher Netflix TV series. Written from the perspective of Jaskier / Dandelion, it covers the knowledge of the continent, and its monsters, people and places are beautiful.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Creating a Champion | Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
While waiting for Breath of the Wild 2, this art book is now the perfect addition to and complementary to that Xth playthrough, to see how Nintendo has made its favorite champion.

The Art of the Last of Us Part II | Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
Have you reserved your The Last of Us 2 pre-order? Why not order the accompanying art book in advance? As i have. Or order the Deluxe Edition, just like me, in advance and get the most out of the beautiful post-apocalyptic world and the story of Naughty Dog.

The Art of Death Stranding Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
Death Stranding, one of the most intriguing games of the past year, certainly had a unique style of art and aesthetics, but also a beautiful world to explore. Go beyond Sam & # 39; s in-game journey and grab the book.

The Skyrim library Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
Without a doubt the best companion with written words for all Elder Scrolls games – not just Skyrim. This is a brilliant collection of art books for video games (there are three volumes to put your teeth into, individually or in a nice box set) and offers a wealth of knowledge, maps, history and information that includes all things about Tamriel.

Retro gaming books

(Image credit: future)

One of the most exciting and outstanding things that comes from the recent (ish) wave of retro gaming enthusiasm that we enjoy is the parallel wave in the media that lets us enjoy memories of past games and technology. In addition to the revival of the best retro game consoles, game cabinets and arcades and accessories, retro gaming books are also popular – and with good reason. The standard of publishing retro game books is better than ever before, and from huge encyclopedias in the library of a console, to insight into the development of a retro classic, to following the history of technology and all trends and culture changes that were enjoyed the way retro gaming books are a wealth of information and fun.

Below are some choices from the couple that our friends from the Retro Gamer magazine have chosen for us – thanks to them for helping with this little bit – but if you want to browse more specialized books and books that aren't found in usual stores, read then read-only memory and bitmap books. Both websites have great collections from really nice retro books that are stylish, documented in detail and bring the pleasure of retro gaming to life, which we all remember with great pleasure, but also areas that are more niche, but no less interesting.

Retro Gaming: a byte-format history of video games | Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
This is a great, well-structured, accessible little read. It offers a brief overview of some of the largest games and systems in recent decades. All the usual suspects are present and covered, from the release of Pong to the appearance of the sixth generation of consoles.

The CRPG book Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
The book & # 39; Computer role-playing & # 39; is rather special. Published by Bitmap Books, the quality of this title is absolutely fantastic with lots of opulent photography, revealing and interesting interviews and delightful screenshots to poke over. Strongly recommended.

The NES Encyclopedia | Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
The first book by Chris Scullion is a very pleasant reading about one of the most beloved consoles of the 80s. It is a bit light on in-depth interviews, but that is easy to forgive given that all 714 officially licensed games are included in this thorough book.

Sega Master System: A Visual Compendium | Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
Another brilliant publication from Bitmap Books, this is a ridiculously lush book, with beautiful photography, beautiful pixel art and detailed insight into parts of the System's games. It's so good, some game inputs let you want more.

The Nostalgia Nerd & # 39; s Retro Tech | Amazon US | Amazon United Kingdom
This book provides an introduction to just about every major console and home computer layout from the Magnavox Odyssey to the Xbox. It does not apply to handhelds, but each present system gets multiple pages with coverage, with a solid history, some beautiful photography and a range of games to see, play and avoid.

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