Books to help you start designing both video games and tabletop games!

Compiled by:
Sam Ott and Laura Wise
Fighting Fantasy: City of Thieves

Ian Livingstone
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Fightin)

Are YOU brave enough to walk the dangerous, dark alleyways of Port Blacksand.? You must travel to the dark tower of demonic sorcerer Zanbar Bone, to put an end to his reign of terror.

Fighting Fantasy: Creature of Havoc

Steve Jackson
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Fightin)

You, the hero, must track down three Vapours in order to defeat the feared necromancer Zharradan Marr. Access the Galleykeep, Marr's flying vessel, to destroy his portal and his means of entering Allansia or perish in the attempt.

Fighting Fantasy: Crystal of Storms

Rhianna Pratchett
(Young Adult Fiction- Y Fightin)

You, the hero of this story, are a member of the Sky Watch keeping the floating archipelago of Pangaria safe. When the Nimbus isle suddenly crashes out of the sky into the Ocean of Tempests below, you must explore the remaining islands, and battle both storms and sea beasts in your mission to raise Nimbus from the deep.

Into the Dungeon: A Choose-Your-Own-Path Book

Hari Conner
(Young Adult Fiction- Y Conner)

Into the Dungeon is a 100+ page choose-your-own-path game-in-a-book, where all you need to play is a pencil. The reader gets to decide which way to go and how to explore, with hundreds of different paths through the story.

The Legion of Shadow

Michael J. Ward
(Young Adult Fiction- Y Ward)

You are an outcast: a renegade with no memory of your past. In seeking to unlock your true identity, you find yourself on a path to redemption--to save the world from one of the greatest threats that it has ever known: the sinister Legion of Shadow.

Woven Paths Gamebook 1: Malice from the Middle Vale

David Sharrock
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Sharroc)

Half game, half story, all adventure! For as long as you can remember you have toiled on your father's farm while dreaming of heroic deeds, exciting adventures and distant lands far beyond the borders of the civilized kingdom of the Angle. The day finally arrives and you strike out in search of freedom and adventure. But adventure is already coming! Malice Varicella-Zoster - the Irgin Crone of Gungingeth - and her coven of witches intend to wreak havoc in the Angle, but also to steal that which is not rightfully theirs.

Dark Souls: Cover Collection

Tom Williams
- editor
(Young Adult Nonfiction- 741.59 Dar)

Marvel at this hardcover collection of stunning cover artwork and never-before-seen illustrations created exclusively for the Titan Comic's Dark Souls comic series.

Endless Loop: The History of the BASIC Programming Language (Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code)

Mark Jones Lorenzo
(Young Adult Nonfiction- 005.133 BASIC Lor)

The ascendance of BASIC paralleled the emergence of the personal computer, so the story of BASIC is first and foremost a story - actually, many interlocking stories - about computers. But it is also a tale of talented people who built a language out of a set of primal ingredients: sweat, creativity, rivalry, jealousy, cooperation, and plain hard work, and then set the language loose in a world filled with unintended consequences. How those unintended consequences played out, leading to the demise of the most popular computer language the world has ever known, is the focus of ENDLESS LOOP.

Exploring Roguelike Games

John William Harris
(Young Adult Nonfiction - 793.93 Har)

Since 1980, in-the-know computer gamers have been enthralled by the unpredictable, random, and incredibly deep gameplay of Rogue and those games inspired by it, known to fans as "roguelikes." This book covers many of the most prominent titles, and explains in great detail what makes them interesting, ways to get started playing them, the history of the genre, and much more.

Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games

Tracy Fullerton
(Adult Nonfiction - 794.8 Ful)

This edition emphasizes how to work with analytics to improve game play experience and the commercial viability of games. It also includes interviews with a number of independent designers

Getting Started with Dwarf Fortress

Peter Tyson
(Young Adult Nonfiction- 793.932 Tys)

The author presents a guide to the computer game Dwarf Fortress, playable on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X-based computers, with the author focusing on the game's simulation mode and how to establish and maintain a dwarf fortress city, manage its resources and train a dwarf military.

How to Write Pulp Fiction

James Scott Bell
(Young Adult Nonfiction - 808.801 Bel)

How to Write Pulp Fiction will teach you: how to be more prolific; the secrets of pulp plotting; how to elevate your pulp prose; the fiction formulas of some of the best pulp writers of all time; the bestselling genres; how to harness the power of the series character; the most effective publishing strategies; how to market your pulp fiction.

The Little Book of Adventure Game Programming

Huw Collingbourne
(Young Adult Nonfiction - 005.133 C# Col)

The fastest easiest way to learn to program object oriented text adventures. This book will teach you the real secrets of adventure game programming. You will learn how to create Rooms and Treasures, how to let the player take and drop objects and how to save and restore games using serialization. The projects (which can be downloaded free) are written in C#.

Make Your Own Python Text Adventure

Phillip Johnson
(Young Adult Nonfiction - 005.133 Joh)

Learn programming with Python by creating a text adventure. This book will teach you the fundamentals of programming, how to organize code, and some coding best practices. By the end of the book, you will have a working game that you can play or show off to friends.

Making Games for the NES: An 8bitworkshop Book

Steven Hugg
(Young Adult Nonfiction - 793.93 Hug)

Learn how to program games for the NES! You'll learn how to draw text, scroll the screen, animate sprites, create a status bar, decompress title screens, play background music and sound effects and more.

Players Making Decisions: Game Design Essentials and the Art of Understanding

Zack Hiwiller
(Young Adult Nonfiction - 794.8153)

Game designers today are expected to have an arsenal of multi-disciplinary skills at their disposal in the fields of art and design, computer programming, psychology, economics, composition, education, mythology—and the list goes on. How do you distill a vast universe down to a few salient points?

Procedural Storytelling in Game Design

Tanya X. Short, Tarn Adams
(Young Adult Nonfiction - 794.815 Pro)

This edited collection of chapters concerns the evolving discipline of procedural storytelling in video games. Games are an interactive medium, and this interplay between author, player and machine provides new and exciting ways to create and tell stories. In each essay, practitioners of this artform demonstrate how traditional storytelling tools such as characterization, world-building, theme, momentum and atmosphere can be adapted to full effect, using specific examples from their games.

Programming Non-graphical Games in C++

Vic Broquard
(Young Adult Nonfiction - 005.133 C++ Bro)

Powerful and highly useful for learning game programming in C++, "Programming Non-graphical Games In C++" covers basic algorithms for programming games, using sample games that do not need a fancy graphical user interface thereby keeping the focus on the game engine and mechanics.

Retune: A Folded Path Book

Brandish Gilhelm
(Young Adult Nonfiction- 793.93 Gil)

Earth 2440. Your name is Grim, and you survive by bullets and blades. Your street running days are far behind you. Time for a peaceful life on The Rim. Funny thing about the old megacities, the digital underworld... it's not so easy to walk away from. Sometimes old ghosts come calling no matter how far you run.

Roguelike Development with JavaScript: Build and Publish Roguelike Genre Games with JavaScript and Phaser

Andre Alves Garzia
(Young Adult Nonfiction- 794.815 Gar)

In this book, we are going on an adventure together and will build a roguelike from scratch using JavaScript. With the help of the battle-tested Phaser library, we're going to go through all the steps to build a small, fun, playable web roguelite game. The chapters will guide you on how to add further features to the game such as populating the game with enemies, adding treasures, and so on.

Slay the Dragon: Writing Great Video Games

Robert Denton Bryant
(Young Adult Nonfiction 794.81 Bry)

Slay the Dragon will help you understand the challenges and offer creative solutions to writing for a medium where the audience demands not only to watch the story but to be part of it. Bryant and Giglio step you through such topics as: the no-act structure of video games; writing great game characters; making gameplay emotionally meaningful; and bringing you a game world that is alive.


Derek Yu
(Young Adult Nonfiction - 794.8 Yu)

When Derek Yu released Spelunky for free in 2008, his roguelike-inspired platformer took the indie game community by storm with its combination of classic platform mechanics, extreme difficulty, and random level generation.

A Theory of Fun for Game Design

Raph Koster
(Adult Nonfiction - 794.8153)

The book discusses the impact of designing in a multidimensional landscape, where computer science, environmental design, and storytelling all play a role in creating an interactive game design. For the professional game developer to the interested young gamer, this updated edition takes you on an illustrated ride in fun and games.

Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs to Know About Narrative Techniques

Evan Skolnick
(Young Adult Nonfiction - 794.8153 Sko)

This handy, to-the-point reference guide for video game development emphasizes the significance of storytelling and writing skills for creating today's most popular, narratively-engrossing video games.