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.


July 25: On this day in 1834 Samuel Taylor Coleridge died of heart disease at the age of sixty-one.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).