Video Games

Stories and histories of new virtual playgrounds.

The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon and Beyond

By Steve Kent

Using hundreds of interviews, gaming historian Kent traces the cultural phenomenon of video games from before the arcade version of Space Invaders created a coin shortage in America, through the year when Atari was felled as the dominant home video game maker, and through to its continued effect on society today.

The Art of Game Worlds

By Dave Morris and Leo Hartas

Whether it’s total, beautiful fantasies, meticulous re-creations of real-world scenarios, or important moments in world history, some video game designers are creating generally overlooked but completely incredible art. The author interviews designers and developers to gain insight into the importance and difficulty of immersive video game design.


By William Gibson

Gibson’s critically lauded and massively influential cyberpunk science fiction novel of 1984 foresaw the digital future and inspired a home video game of the same name. Gibson, who coined the term “cyberspace,” tells the story of a washed-up hacker’s last shot in a game-like world.

Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter

By Tom Bissell

Bissell, a self-declared video game addict, notes that his emotions while playing are “as intensely vivid as any I have felt while reading a novel or watching a film.” Plenty seem to agree; an estimated 183.5 million Americans spent $25.3 billion on video games in financially difficult 2009. Bissell explores the trend in a work that combines memoir with reporting from the virtual frontier.


Directed By John Badham

The young Matthew Broderick plays a computer game fanatic—in the era of dial-up modems—who unknowingly breaks into a Pentagon computer and begins playing the “game” Global Thermonuclear War, which nearly sets off World War III. Wired magazine called the 1983 film the greatest geek movie of all time, one that inspired many hackers and programmers of the day.