These books capture the history and spirit of play

Each month the Columbia Public Library presents selections from its collection relating to a current bestseller or a hot topic. Public Services Librarian Stellan Harris compiled this month’s picks.

There is nothing better for a quiet gathering of friends than to relax and enjoy the game – be it cards, board, or any other kind.

In recent history, the ways we play games have changed in wonderful and wonderful ways. While some classic games continue to enjoy increasing popularity, contemporary options such as video games and role-playing games are increasing in popularity. The history of this amusement and what it means to us is an untold story. Many great books try to change that, illustrating the path that got us into today’s games.

“A History of Video Games in 64 Objects” by World Video Game Hall of Fame (Dey St., 2018) is one of a pair of books that seek to give a bit of a visual history to the world of video games. This book is incredibly easy to read and great to look at. With high-resolution visuals of things ranging from foundational pinball machines to arcade games, massive online multiplayer game servers to a version of the Oregon Trail, this title attempts to chart a path from the origins of what would become video games to the present day (as of 2018).

“Game Console” By Evan Amos (No Starch Press, 2018) is another great visual resource for the history of video games, with a focus on the development of home consoles. With detailed descriptions and history of each console, along with beautiful visual breakdowns of consoles and their accessories, this title is a great resource for those interested in how video games have looked at home over the years.

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