The mailman cometh

 In Books, Uncategorized

Last month, while the Australian dollar was still high, I went crazy on Amazon and ordered a slew of new books. The nice thing about Amazon shopping from Australia is that by the time the books arrive, you can no longer remember what you ordered, and opening the boxes is like Christmas. “Oh thankyou, I’ve wanted that book for ages! How did you know?”

So look forward to (eventual) reviews of:

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  • Chris

    I know exactly how you feel! Just 3 weeks ago I took delivery of two of those books as well! (Yep, here in Australia too)

    I got the first two: “The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses”, by Jesse Schell, and “Challenges for Game Designers”, by Brenda Brathwaite and Ian Schreiber. I also picked up a copy of “Designing Virtual Worlds” by Richard Bartle and “Character Development and Storytelling for Games” by Lee Sheldon.

    I’ve only browsed the Challenges book (and think very highly of it so far), but I am halfway through the book of lenses and honestly consider it one of the most brilliant books I’ve ever read in my life (on any topic).

    At the moment I’m making decent progress of a rate at about two chapters an hour. Its not because the book is dense, quite the opposite. Its because the book is so lucid and stimulating that every page I have to sit and stare into space for 5 minutes while I contemplate how the latest lens relates to the game concept I am working on or any games I have played recently.

    I am definitely finding the best way to read the book is with a design concept in your head before you start, even if it’s not a game you plan to build. Any one will work, whether its an imaginary game or your favourite game of all time. Each new chapter helps you think about the design in new ways, whether in terms of “Ahh, that’s why I found that so enjoyable” or “Ahh, that’s why that idea would never work, time to retool it.”

    I think at one point my design changed almost a dozen times in half an hour as I continually approached the challenge from new perspectives.

    I cannot recommend this book enough, and I am definitely looking forward to your thoughts as well. To finish with a quote:

    “I’ve spent hours trying to write this review; trying to figure out how I’m going to preserve my precious journalistic integrity while reviewing Jesse Schell’s The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses. I’ve been looking for ways to pan it, to do what all good critics do: critique… I can’t. This is unequivocally the best book on game design I’ve ever read.” – James Portnow, Edge Online(

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