Press

 

Soft & Cuddly

"A fascinating read about Soft & Cuddly and Go to Hell. The tone is provocative at times (that's a compliment). [...] If you're looking for a book on video nasties, Hungerford, punk, Thatcher and 2 Speccy games you've probably never played then this is probably the book for you. - Crash

"A must-read for gamers who love a good backstory." - BioGamer Girl

"To put it simply, Soft & Cuddly is punk as fuck. [...] Kobek writes his book with the same kind of smartassed anarchism (verging on nihilism) that permeates Jones’ game. Soft & Cuddly‘s snark is darkly cynical, yet all the more entertaining for it. " - Dial H for Houston

"A love note to all things grungy and bootleg, to everyone who managed to succeed despite standing in their own way." - Heavy Feather Review

 

Mega Man 3

"[A] marvel [...] Pane has penned incisive criticism that enhances its 8-bit source material." - Entropy

"Such a thoughtful -- and poetic -- book on Mega Man 3." - Andrew Schartmann, author of Koji Kondo's Super Mario Bros.

"The brilliant thing is Pane never takes a side; I wouldn’t say his work is straight up clinical, rather it eschews the drama and hyperbole and sticks to the facts." - Obtain Potion

"The historical account is genuinely interesting and heartfelt, and takes the time to make sure you know the names behind the game. The development of franchises as big as Mega Man are fascinating and don’t require a lot of embellishment to really grab you." - TechRaptor

"Pane does a great job of describing Mega Man 3 [...] Pane touches on the further development (and eventual decline) of the Mega Man franchise, the development of video game studies (and the challenges in preserving said games), and on the general rise of ‘retro’ gaming culture, and the subsequent rise in the price of NES game cartridges." - Dial H for Houston

Excerpt: Kotaku (2)

More Reviews: Goodreads

 

Super Mario Bros. 3

"Super Mario Bros. 3 is worth a look, especially if that mustachioed plumber holds a place of reverence in your own nostalgic heart." - ZAM

"Knorr’s writing is so pleasant, her stories are so heartwarming and engaging, and her persepctive so refreshing, that it seems obvious that I have to recommend this book." - Derpy Calamity

"It really opened me up to a different way of considering the game. [...] a fascinating exploration of a game that is the root of nearly every game since." - Eric's Binary World

Excerpt: Kotaku

More Reviews: Goodreads

 

World of Warcraft

"An excellent snapshot of a player’s experience with a game while trying to negotiate their place in both an adolescent and virtual world. It’s a quick, thoughtful read that kept me engaged throughout." 8/10 - Paste

"I love it. [...]  It’s a deeply personal story, one that’s easy to get engrossed in." - 98.1 The Fan

Excerpt: Kotaku

Interview: Shall We Play Game?, A Momentary Pause

More Reviews: Goodreads

Spelunky

"Maybe the best primer on game design ever written." - Zach Gage

"Seriously, if you have any interest in game design or development, get this book." - Rami Ismael

"Spelunky might be our Understanding Comics." Adam Saltsman

"A fascinating tour of [Spelunky's] inner workings. [...] Coming from a developer who’s crafted one of the most intriguing, influential releases of the last decade, [the book is an] insightful look at how something so obsession-worthy comes together." - A.V. Club

"Well-written and humble throughout, the book humanizes a game that many developers and fans see as an unreachable pinnacle of minimalist design brilliance." - Destructoid

"Here everything is weaved in nicely, and I very much appreciate the touch of style and grace in this book." 8.5/10 - Paste

"If you’re anything like me, and you set Spelunky aside before delving into its considerable depths, this book is a superb enticement to return, better equipped and more knowledgeable, in search of still greater secrets." - ZAM

"It’s a great book for the fans of the game, as well as aspiring game developers." - Digital Trends, including the book on its Ten Books Any Gamer Will Love list

Excerpt: Kotaku, Gamasutra

Interview: PC Gamer

More Reviews: Goodreads

 

Shadow of the Colossus

"Suttner's Shadow of the Colossus captures the essence, both mechanical and emotional, of what made the game so special." - IndieGames.com

"A fascinating way to relive Shadow of the Colossus in a way that both felt familiar and new." - TNBBC

"I found this [book] to be refreshingly contemplative and a wonderful reflection on the art of video games which is more commonly reserved for finer films and stage plays." - Gaming with Swag

"Well-written, well-researched, and enlightening ...I loved the book." - Cultured Vultures

"A fascinating look into the quiet majesty of the game and will appeal to ardent fans and newcomers alike." - Small Press Book Review

"Shadow of the Colossus is an outstanding game worth playing, and Nick Suttner’s book by the same name is a worthy complement. [...] It helped me get a little closer to finishing an endless journey to understanding those parts of my experience that transcend words." - This Old Neon

Excerpt: Kotaku

Interview: Shall We Play Game? (Podcast)

More Reviews: Goodreads

 

Metal Gear Solid

"Ashly and Anthony Burch's work here is fascinating, thought-provoking stuff that has me considering the game in ways I hadn't thought of before. It also serves as a reminder that we can love something and be critical of it all at once." - Indie Games

"Metal Gear Solid is a great critical book about a game that the authors clearly love, and the switching of voices between Ashly and Anthony Burch provides a nice point and counterpoint that allows the text to disagree with itself fairly often. What emerges is some firm yet friendly back and forth analysis that opens up a canonical videogame further than it ever has been before." 9/10 - Paste 

"HULK'S FAVE TAKE ON THE MIND OF KOJIMA." - Film Crit Hulk

"Exceptional book about an exceptional game. [...] The Burches take off their silken gloves and hack the game to pieces with their analyst hammer. With love." - Dome.fi

Excerpt: Kotaku

More Reviews: Goodreads 

 

Baldur's Gate II

 "I simply plowed through this book in two sittings. Baldur's Gate II is a great read [...] I highly recommend you don't avoid it." - Dan Wickett, editor and publisher of Dzanc Books

"The manner in which Bell writes about these events feels so surprising to me: with straightforward clarity, full of anxious prevarication. This voice is [...] disturbingly open and honest. And disturbing in a good way: Bell clearly still struggles to reconcile these two selves—writer and gamer—and struggles too to figure out why it’s so hard for him." - Brooklyn Magazine

"Authors are far from free to write what they want [...] Baldur's Gate II is about exactly that. It’s an uneasy, courageous, and ultimately vulnerable attempt to bridge a divide [between literary fiction and genre fiction] most of us are unwilling to admit exists. Bell’s book succeeds because it lays this conflict bare." - The Rumpus

"At once a memoir, a lecture on storycraft, an apology, and a love letter to the classic Dungeons & Dragons video game. [...] Bell reminds us that to write well—and to live well—we must remain true to our hidden, buried selves." - Fiction Advocate

"The book thrives on those tensions between shame and love, denial and gratitude." - LA Review of Books

"Baldur’s Gate II is successful in nearly all aspects. It’s a book that offers something for every kind of reader [...] It is a book that comes from the heart, the story of becoming comfortable in your own skin, of embracing the things you once loved and probably, if you tried again, would probably still love." - Atticus Review

"A pleasure to read. [...] [T]his is as fine a work in this genre and theme that you’re likely to find." - Paste

"Baldur’s Gate II (the book) is the best sort of writing, and an exemplary of the essay form: it enlivens the subject at hand, it places it in a broader context (here, the place of games in culture, and it gives insight into the mind of the gamer), makes creative analogies (writing as analogy to character creation in gaming), and, most importantly, it is reflexive, it gives insight into the author and invites our own reflection." - Mike Woods

"Bell shows the humanity that lies between the lines of any RPG." - Heavy Feather Review

"Bell's book shows that it's okay to embrace the things you love because they're what make you who you are." - The Next Best Book Blog

Excerpts: Entropy, Cartridge Lit

More Reviews: Goodreads

 

Bible Adventures

"Gabe Durham's Bible Adventures is a riot and a joy. A+++" - Justin Taylor, author of Flings and The Gospel of Anarchy

“This fascinating book takes a look at the genesis of the infamous game company known as Wisdom Tree, as well as the development process behind its notorious video games. Gabe shares some insight into a side of early video game production that I had never stopped to consider before!” - Clyde Mandelin, author of Legends of Localization

"Brilliantly written and meticulously researched, Bible Adventures perfectly captures the wacky, wonderful story of Wisdom Tree from a larger perspective of the Christian product-consumer relationship. Featuring interviews with several ex-employees (including yours truly) and peppered with wit and personal anecdotes from the author, this book is a must-read." - Roger Deforest, Former Developer for Color Dreams/Wisdom Tree

Named on Unseen 64's Best Video Game Books

Named a "favorite nonfiction book of 2015 so far" by Dennis Cooper, author of The Marbled Swarm and My Loose Thread

"Durham refuses to rest on the easy ironies of mostly atheist coders creating Christian games ... Durham finds humanity where others might see cynicism." - Heavy Feather Review

"What brings it all together is the author’s sense of humor and his touch of earnestness ... I’m not one to impart my personal beliefs on anyone; but my opinion is you should probably read this book." - Obtain Potion

"Tells a fantastic story of very unusual area of the games industry ... The funniest videogame business book I've ever read." - Dome.fi

"Bible Adventures proves literally every game has an insane/important story to tell." - Brock Wilbur, comedian

"Compelling ... There’s  more to the story than just discussing that game’s mechanics, marketing, and development. Durham digs in with the developer’s history – and it’s more interesting than it has any right to be." - Cliqist

Excerpts: Electric Literature, GamasutraEntropy

More Reviews: Goodreads

 

Super Mario Bros. 2

"Super Mario Bros. 2 shines a much-needed light on a game whose significance has rarely felt fully understood ... This is required reading for game historians." - Nintendo Life

"Super Mario Bros. 2 is an extensive critique that explores the history, production ecology, and player experiences of that game. ... All of these things, impossibly, flow together. ... Super Mario Bros. 2 is an excellent example of the Boss Fight Books model of game criticism." - Paste

"A good Mario game is always about the secrets, about the warp zones, trick quicksand and Yoshi waiting atop the castle. Moments both humorous and poignant characterize this surprisingly human account… but I’ll leave you to discover them yourself." - Entropy

"A fascinating account of a moment in gaming’s past that most of us don’t know nearly about." - Cliqist

"There is a joy to this game - and to Irwin's writing about it - that feels very rare ... It's everything I hoped this series would be." - The Next Best Book Blog

Excerpt: Kotaku

Interview and Excerpt: Geek Dad

 

Jagged Alliance 2

"[Kazemi's book] weaves together industrial history, design analysis and Robert Yang-style code diving. The result is not just a good read, but also a blueprint for holistic critique." 8.0/10 - Paste

"An essential read about an overlooked game." - Marshall Sandoval

Jagged Alliance 2 has the perfect guide in Darius Kazemi.” - Rob Zacny

More: Goodreads, Kindle reviews

Excerpt: Motherboard (VICE)

Why I Wrote a Book About an Obscure '90s Computer Game - Kazemi on JA2 in The Atlantic

Finding Treasures in the Code - Polygon

Looking at Source Code - Kazemi's Presentation in Critical Proximity

 

Galaga

Best Books of 2014 - LitReactor

Top 10 Local Books of 2014 - Baltimore City Paper

"An extremely brave piece of work." - Cliqist

"Visions of a scared, scarred child clinging not only to an escape but the opportunity for success and self-esteem make this book something more than the standard, 'Hey, remember this bit of pop culture?'" - Prick of the Spindle

"...a testament to Kimball’s bravery as a writer ... Trust me, you’ll get your quarter’s worth." - The Small Press Book Review

"Kimball does an expert job of weaving his feelings, anxieties about his home life, and his desire to be in the arcade together into a wonderful tapestry." - Paste

“Galaga” rejects the Buzzfeeding of the immediate past, avoiding glib “Remember this thing?” obviousness and petulant “those were the days” nerd-culture nonsense for a literary experiment that takes aim at a classic arcade game and explodes it into 256 poignant pieces.  - See more at: http://www.citypaper.com/arts/books/bcp-arcade-games-saved-my-life-20140818,0,7492999.story#sthash.gZ0s9Yao.dpuf
“Galaga” rejects the Buzzfeeding of the immediate past, avoiding glib “Remember this thing?” obviousness and petulant “those were the days” nerd-culture nonsense for a literary experiment that takes aim at a classic arcade game and explodes it into 256 poignant pieces - See more at: http://www.citypaper.com/arts/books/bcp-arcade-games-saved-my-life-20140818,0,7492999.story#sthash.gZ0s9Yao.dpuf

"Galaga rejects the Buzzfeeding of the immediate past, avoiding glib 'Remember this thing?' obviousness and petulant 'those were the days' nerd-culture nonsense for a literary experiment that takes aim at a classic arcade game and explodes it into 256 poignant pieces."  - City Paper

"True to form Boss Fight Books has put out yet another video game book that is so much deeper than anything created in pixels ... Empty out your sack of quarters and go pick up a copy of this Michael Kimball’s Galaga. You will know you are in the hands of a master." - Cobalt Review

"If anyone in the world still believes that video games rot people's brains, I'd direct them to this installment of Boss Fight Books." - The Next Big Book Blog

"Galaga illustrates just how to achieve that Zen-like grace that only comes with just the right amount of disconnected relaxation and total body concentration." - JMWW

"Galaga is more than a book about a game—it’s a thank you from Kimball and a reminder to all of us that, with a little bit of help, things often do indeed get better." - Necessary Fiction

"[Kimball's] personal experiences about Galaga are lively, and he has many good points about why Galaga was such an important game. Very good read!" - Dome.fi

“Galaga” rejects the Buzzfeeding of the immediate past, avoiding glib “Remember this thing?” obviousness and petulant “those were the days” nerd-culture nonsense for a literary experiment that takes aim at a classic arcade game and explodes it into 256 poignant pieces - See more at: http://www.citypaper.com/arts/books/bcp-arcade-games-saved-my-life-20140818,0,7492999.story#sthash.gZ0s9Yao.dpuf
Excerpt: Electric Literature

More Reviews: Goodreads

 

ZZT

"Anthropy has set the gold standard for book-length studies of games with ZZT, and I would strongly encourage anyone even thinking about writing about games to start here." 9.8/10 - Paste

"ZZT should be required reading by anyone interested in game design." - Videodame

"Informative and evocative, ZZT shows how a game can be not just a toy but an important means of individual expression." - GameCritics

"Moving and interesting even if you've never played the game—and that might be the truest mark of a successful piece of criticism." - Matt Bell, author of In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods

"Reading through ZZT was such a joy. I say that as someone who had only the vaguest knowledge about it before reading. Although I had never touched the program, never played a game designed with it, or anything of the sort, I couldn’t help but keep reading. Anna is simply a tremendous writer." - Cliqist

"I’m glad somebody finally wrote the story of my people ... Highly recommended." - Bill Meeks, author of Dogboy Adventures series

"Her analysis effortlessly straddles computer science, design, art history, anthropology, and gender theory, all wrapped in a personal story of her childhood. It is a very easy, enjoyable, and insightful read." - Robert Yang

"It’s so grounded, so accessible, and so clear and, unsurprising for Anthropy, so grounded in a broader sense of culture and politics and not just Videogames as this thing disconnected from the rest of society. Easily the best book produced by Boss Fight Books to date." - Brendan Keough author of Killing is Harmless

"Fantastic." - Abnormal Mapping

"Anthropy’s ZZT invites the reader into a world where anything is possible." - Heavy Feather Review

More Reviews: Goodreads

 

Chrono Trigger

Recommended in Kotaku's 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

"At once an autobiography, an enthusiast’s ode to the early years of gaming, and a coming of age story of boy-meets-cartridge." - Ted Woolsey

"If writing about video games had always been this good, we'd be having very difficult discussions about the medium right now." - Nintendo Life

"The strength of this book comes from his desire and ability to look at the social codes, the basic assumptions, that enabled specific forms of development for the game he is analyzing. This comes in various forms ... that get to the heart of the material hardware restrictions and symbolic linguistic decisions that ultimately determined the shape Chrono Trigger took for the Anglophone world." 8.3/10 - Paste

"You had me at a 194-page book on Chrono Trigger." - Kill Screen

"Williams is willing to engage with videogames both from theories native to and outside of the medium, and to do so without being showy." - Heavy Feather Review

"Williams leads the reader through an exploration of the game in a warm, joyful manner. His keen attention to detail makes trivial elements of the game, for instance Frog’s archaic speech patterns, worthy of deep reflection and contemplation." - Barn Owl Review

"The book makes me want to dig for the box I know contains my copy of Chrono Trigger and all its siblings. ... Isn’t that what these books are all about? To not only remind us of why we love these games, and make us want to play them, but also to render them new again?" - Cartridge Lit

"Fascinating." - Dial H for Houston

"Anyone who has nostalgic, deeply personal feelings for a favorite game should be able to find something to relate to." - RPGamer

"Instead of feeling like a flat lecture, reading the book almost becomes a conversation ... [W]ith each and every page you fully understand the love the author has for his source material and how excited he is to be sharing it with his readers." - Nintendojo

"As a love letter to the game and the indelible mark it left on him, Chrono Trigger succeeds mightily. Anyone who loved the game at any age will instantly be transported back to that time in her life, with the added bonus of leveling up in historical knowledge and empathic engagement with a meticulous, passionate author." - Foxing Quarterly

"Williams did a great job. He remarkably balanced everything in the book while showcasing the right amount of personal insight, technical data and trivia to keep the reader engaged page after page." - 4 Color Rebellion

"In between similar engrossing academic explorations lie insightful tales of the possibilities and impossibilities of capturing the magic of adolescence." - The Austin Chronicle

Excerpt: Kotaku (or check out the hyperlink version at Rap Genius)

Interview: My So Called 8Bit Life, Boss Fight Blog

Party Like It’s 1999: Japanese Retrofuturism and Chrono Trigger - related article by Michael P. Williams in The Appendix

More Reviews: Goodreads

 

EarthBound

One of Entropy Magazine's of Best Non-Fiction Books of 2014

"At last, EarthBound gets the paperback it deserves." - Kill Screen

"Ken Baumann is breaking new ground." - The Collagist

"As much an exploration of the creation, content, and legacy of the role-playing classic as it is a self-reflective deep dive into the author's own psyche." - Joystiq

"It’s a book that aims to mirror the segmented, bizarro structure of EarthBound, and it’s a book that succeeds." - BuzzFeed

"The breadth of Baumann's interests and his infectious love for humanity make him the perfect writer to do this game justice." - The Rumpus

"I was rapt. I never thought I would be." - HTMLGIANT

"Excellent." 10/10 - Nerdlife

"So much fun." - Bookrageous

"Well-structured, sincere and compelling." -  The Fanzine

"The best nonfiction book I've read in a long time." - Matt Bell, author of In the House Upon the Dirt

"Long-time fans of the game will join in Baumann’s nostalgia for the classic RPG and dust off their Super Nintendo controllers. Newcomers will hunger to play the game in all its strange, rosy weirdness. Both will discover a book and a writer that are bold, wild, funny, smart. Just like the game that inspired them." - PANK

More Reviews: Paste, Coin Battle, Video Game Tourism, Goodreads, Amazon

Coverage and Author Interviews: Joystiq, Polygon, Digital Writers Festival (video), Gameological Society, BuzzFeed

Excerpt: Kotaku (or check out the hyperlink version at Rap Genius)

 

Praise for Boss Fight Books

"You can read plenty of books about video games, but there aren't many books all about one individual video game. Which is exactly why Boss Fight books want to step in and fix that." - Kotaku

"These books explore their subjects in wildly different ways. Some become very personal journeys through the author's past, some dissect the cultural landscape surrounding the game's release and the implications that has on the industry, some try to grasp desperately at the nebulous idea of what the game is and instead uncover other truths that reflect back on the player. Or author. Or audience? [...] Regardless of what angle an author takes, each read is insightful and unique." - Shogun Gamer

"Great games, whether they're AAA blockbusters that reached millions of people or fan-made efforts that touched only one person, deserve this sort of recognition." - Gamespot

"Forming a publishing company to put out a series of books about classic video games? That’s a great idea." - Geekosystem

Boss FIght "acknowledges the importance of the individual player even within transnational communities of gamers. All of the books are immediately accessible, even to a reader unfamiliar with the game under discussion." - Digital Asia

 

Interviews with Editor/Publisher Gabe Durham: Invisible Walls, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Cubed3, The Next Big Book Blog

More Press: Publisher's Weekly, Nintendo Life, Nintendo Enthusiast, TechHive, HTMLGIANT, The Financial Post