Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Gaming Art of the Book

In an era where print media is becoming obsolete, books are on the rise once more with their crafty antics. I know that sentence seems like an irony, and it totally is. But what's helped in sell books has been not the traditional market of content. It's not just 'Harry Potter' that has been driving sales. The boon of the adult coloring book genre and coffee-table pieces are the reason people are buying physical books these days. Sure you can draw on a tablet, but it's not the same as whipping out a box of crayons and color pencils and going to town.

As for the coffee table books, these are no longer limited to the 'Time Magazine Photos of the Year' collage. Now they include cosplay photographs and gaming memorabilia. Who would have thought 'Art of Atari' would be a need-to-have gift? The collection of gaming books, compiled on Destructoid, you can pick up this year are quite a sight. And these are books that you can't simply read on a tablet or eReader. They only work in their physical form. The easy answer for this is that everyone has slightly different screen resolution so the true look of photos and advertisements is never realized on a digital format. But on print, you see the artist's final work in all of it's glory.

'Legends of Localization Book 2: EarthBound' is a wonderful example of this. The book is over 400 pages long so it's not a traditional coffee-table book. But the shot by shot comparison between EarthBound and Mother 2 is so vast, that the book wouldn't work in a digital format. It looks beautiful when you can crack open the binding and flip the pages.

My favorite are the art books. If you have the money to plop down, get into the BioWare and Star Wars art books. It is page after page of environment and character designs, from concept to completion. All of them will make your eyes go wide with wonder. Sometimes it's costume porn (holy crap I'm so happy I got this book before it went out of print) and other times it's jaw-dropping landscapes. It's inspiring to see people create these worlds, cities, towns, and people out of thin air. And having them captured in a book makes it all the more rewarding to flip through.

So go forth and get them gaming books! One day manuals and strategy guides will become a collector's items. Just wait.


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