Friday Books: Final Fantasy or Real Life?
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by UtopiaNemo
2 hours ago

I have the utmost respect for each of these developers. I must say I think they’re mostly incorrect in their assessments of why the Dreamcast failed. The Dreamcast’s ultimate failure had so little to do with the way Sega handled the Dreamcast. Sega and their third party affiliates such as Namco and Capcom put out so many games of such stellar quality, that the Dreamcast won over a generation of gamers who had previously been diehard Nintendo or Sony fans. They even won me over, who had been a diehard Sega fan since the SMS days, but was so disillusioned by the Saturn’s handling that I had initially decided to sit the Dreamcast out. At that time, the Dreamcast launch was widely considered to be the strongest console launch in US history. In my opinion, the three issues leading to the fall of the Dreamcast were (in inverse order):1)piracy, 2)Sega’s great deficit of finances and cachet following the Saturn debacle, and 3)Sony’s masterful marketing of the PlayStation 2. Piracy’s effect on Dreamcast sales is a hotly debated topic, but I’ll say that the turn of the millennium, most college and post-college guys I knew pirated every bit of music or software they could. Regarding the Saturn debacle, the infighting between SOA and SOJ is well known, as are the number of hubristic decisions Mr. Nakayama made which left Sega in huge financial deficit. They were also directly responsible for erasing a lot of the respect and good will Sega had chiseled out worldwide during the Mega Drive/Genesis era. With the Dreamcast, Sega was digging itself out of a hole. They had seemingly done it as well, and would have surely continued along that path, had it not been for the PS2. There is no doubt in my mind that the overwhelming reason the Dreamcast failed was because of the PS2.

by Philip Ho
4 hours ago

Great stuff Fran!

What the hell are you saying? I can't make sense of it.

Friday Books: Final Fantasy or Real Life?
2 November, 2018
Top 10

Here is another list of books for a fun night with nice reads on Final Fantasy, some science fiction, and more. 

An Oral History of Final Fantasy 7

Late last year, Polygon teamed up with publisher Read-Only Memory to turn their Final Fantasy 7 oral history feature into a book. 1,871 backers made the idea become a reality.

It is essentially a director’s cut of the story that originally ran online, with a foreword from series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, new interview material, outtakes, art from illustrator sparrows, and more. The book also comes with three bookmarks.

You can buy a copy or just read the online version of the story

This one is quite unusual for our regular Friday lists, but you just have to get your hands on ‘In Real Life’.

“Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It’s a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It’s a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer — a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person’s real livelihood is at stake,” states the description.

The book comes from a teen author Cory Doctorow and rising star cartoonist Jen Wang. The book is a wonderful, thoughtful look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture-clash.

Let’s continue with some science fiction and fantasy. Have you heard about ‘Off to Be the Wizard’ by Scott Meyer? 

“Martin Banks is just a normal guy who has made an abnormal discovery: he can manipulate reality, thanks to reality being nothing more than a computer program. With every use of this ability, though, Martin finds his little “tweaks” have not escaped notice. Rather than face prosecution, he decides instead to travel back in time to the Middle Ages and pose as a wizard.

An American hacker in King Arthur’s court, Martin must now train to become a full-fledged master of his powers, discover the truth behind the ancient wizard Merlin…and not, y’know, die or anything.”

Just have some fun and read this book. 

An Illustrated History of 151 Video Games


The next one features the individual stories of 151 of the most iconic video games. Beginning in the early 1970s, the book goes through five decades of the pixel revolution. The story of each game is said to be accompanied by trivia and quotations and illustrated with photographs, screenshots, and artworks. 

Some features:

  • Chronicles the history of gaming through an analysis of 151 of the world’s most iconic and best-loved games
  • Expert analysis of the story of each game, accompanied by fascinating trivia, memorable quotes, and information on the year of publication and where the game can be played today
  • Includes titles across all platforms, including arcade, console, PC, online and handheld games
  • Charts five decades of video game evolution, from Computer Space to Fez
  • Compulsively illustrated with over 1000 action screenshots, game artworks, and photographs

Designing Games: A Guide to Engineering Experiences

This book by Tynan Sylvester can help you explore the design structure behind most of today’s hit video games. The author discusses “principles and practices for crafting games that generate emotionally charged experiences—a combination of elegant game mechanics, compelling fiction, and pace that fully immerses players.”

The book also explains the day-to-day process necessary to keep projects on track, how to work with a team, and how to avoid creative dead ends. 

  • Create game mechanics to trigger a range of emotions and provide a variety of play
  • Explore several options for combining narrative with interactivity
  • Build interactions that let multiplayer gamers get into each other’s heads
  • Motivate players through rewards that align with the rest of the game
  • Establish a metaphor vocabulary to help players learn which design aspects are game mechanics
  • Plan, test, and analyze your design through iteration rather than deciding everything up front
  • Learn how your game’s market positioning will affect your design

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