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.


April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.