Books of the Week: PBR, Nintendo, and More
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Books of the Week: PBR, Nintendo, and More
12 October, 2018

Our next list of books will tell you about the principles of PBR, help you explore the Nintendo world, examine the digital world, and more. 

The PBR Guide: A Handbook for Physically Based Rendering

Have you heard about Wes McDermott’s book called The PBR Guide? A technical artist at Allegorithmic and Substance Integrations Product Manager released the book back in 2014, but the thing is that the book has been revised and expanded since then. You can now get this amazing can’t-miss edition on Amazon. The book is said to outline the principles of physically based rendering and shading (PBR) and provide practical guidelines for PBR texturing. The first part of the book explains the principles underlying physically based rendering, while the second one offers practical guidelines for PBR texturing.

Super Power, Spoony Bards, and Silverware: The Super Nintendo Entertainment System

The next book discovers the way the Super Nintendo Entertainment System embodied Nintendo’s resistance to innovation and took the company from industry leaders to the margins of video gaming. “This is a book about the Super Nintendo Entertainment System that is not celebratory or self-congratulatory. Most other accounts declare the Super NES the undisputed victor of the “16-bit console wars” of 1989–1995. In this book, Dominic Arsenault reminds us that although the SNES was a strong platform filled with high-quality games, it was also the product of a short-sighted corporate vision focused on maintaining Nintendo’s market share and business model,” states the description.  

I Am Error: The Nintendo Family Computer / Entertainment System Platform

The “I Am Error” book holds complex material histories of the Nintendo Entertainment System platform, from code to silicon, focusing on its technical constraints and its expressive affordances.  In the 1987 Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, a character famously said: I AM ERROR. Some thought of it as a programming flaw, but it was actually a clumsy Japanese-English translation of “My Name is Error.” The author of this book, Nathan Altice, discusses the complex material histories of the Nintendo Entertainment System, giving a detailed analysis of its programming and engineering, its expressive affordances, and its cultural significance.

Codename Revolution: The Nintendo Wii Platform

The fourth book examines Nintendo’s hugely popular and influential video game console system as a technological device and a social phenomenon. “The Nintendo Wii, introduced in 2006, helped usher in a moment of retro-reinvention in video game play. This hugely popular console system, codenamed Revolution during development, signaled a turn away from fully immersive, time-consuming MMORPGs or forty-hour FPS games and back toward family fun in the living room. Players using the wireless motion-sensitive controller (the Wii Remote, or “Wiimote”) play with their whole bodies, waving, swinging, swaying,” states the description. This book is actually your best chance to learn more about this mysterious console.  

Communities of Play: Emergent Cultures in Multiplayer Games and Virtual Worlds

Learn about the odyssey of a group of “refugees” from a closed-down online game and dive into the exploration of emergent fan cultures in virtual worlds. “Play communities existed long before massively multiplayer online games; they have ranged from bridge clubs to sports leagues, from tabletop role-playing games to Civil War reenactments.” Digital networks changed the whole scenario bringing online games and virtual worlds to the table.

Developer’s Dilemma: The Secret World of Videogame Creators

The last one offers “an examination of work, the organization of work, and the market forces that surround it, through the lens of the collaborative practice of game development.” Game dev world is almost invisible, hidden behind the famous names of publishers, executives, or console manufacturers. Not to us, of course! This book by Casey O’Donnell explores the creative collaborative practice of typical game developers. The author tried to understand this type of work, the organization of work, and the market forces that shape media industries. 

If you’ve got some books you’d like to recommend to the community, please mention them in the comments!

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