It’s World Book Day! And while we mainly do our work via video games, we’re relatively sure that most of the staff can read. Probably? Actually, maybe best not to ask. Still, we know at least some of them can, as we amassed a whole range of recommendations on what the Eurogamer crew is reading outside of work.
If you’re looking for new reading material and hoping for something superb to bookend your weekends, we’ve got some advice on where to begin. Or head to the page we put together on Jelly Deals for everything you need to know on how to make the most of World Book Day!
Tom Philips: Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot
I’m now one of those people converted by Chris Donlan into recommending Skyfaring to anyone. Written by veteran British Airways pilot Mark Vanhoenacker, this book offers an experienced, inquisitive and infectiously romantic view of the wonders of flight – and it’s one I frequently find myself dipping back into while stuck at home and on the ground.
A couple of years back I was struggling a bit with flying and had a bunch of long-haul trips looming on the horizon. Donlan bought me this book and, while it hasn’t cured me, there really is no arguing with its wide-eyed enthusiasm that describes flying as something extraordinary.
There’s a reason people have loved Microsoft Flight Simulator so much over the past year, and why so many are now looking forward to it on consoles. In video games and in the real world, flying provides a literal means of escape, a sense of scale, and for all but the most world-weary of fliers, a child-like sense of wonder. Skyfaring describes all this brilliantly. (Tom Philips)
Matt Reynolds: Boss Fight Books (Spelunky)
Boss Fight Books is a series where authors write an entire book about a game they love. The Spelunky entry is unique; penned by the game’s own developer, Derek Yu, it serves as an illuminating deep dive into the game’s development, from its conception as a freeware PC game to a commercial project to Xbox Live Arcade, a burgeoning era for indies making it big on consoles.
As one of the games which helped usher in the modern roguelike, learning how a game as multifaceted and beloved as Spelunky came to be is a delight, especially in a book that’s as easy to read as this; one particular highlight is explaining how procedural generation works, using ASCII-like diagrams to show how ‘segments’ flow together. It also offers an insight into the realities of development you rarely hear about – publisher relationships, working in a team, and the vital experience you gain from bringing projects to the finish line – that anyone interested in the process of making games will find fascinating, whether you’ve played Spelunky or not.
Bertie Purchese: BioWare: Stories and Secrets from 25 Years of Game Development
This is a big book. A big coffee table book you could clout an intruder with. It’s that way because it’s stuffed with artwork and photographs and design documents from 25 years of game development. There’s a lot we didn’t know in here. There are cancelled projects we had no idea about, revealed over multiple pages, and design changes and tidbits about some of our most beloved games. But what really comes through is a sense of personality. A sense that a group of people, not faceless corpo bots, had a simple dream of making great games, and how, through hard work and organised chaos, achieved it.
Lottie Lynn: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Creating a Champion
If you’re a Legend of Zelda fan then Creating a Champion is a great addition to your bookcase. Not only is it filled with concept art for Breath of the Wild, but it gives small insights into pieces of Zelda lore which are only hinted at in-game. Want to learn more about the mysterious ruins in the Faron region or simply know more about the final days before the calamity? Then Creating a Champion has you covered! The book is also packed with information about the game’s development, including interviews with the developers, revealing exactly how one of the best Zelda titles was created.
Christian Donlan: Cold Comfort Farm
Is there a sweeter love in all of fiction than the love of Adam for his little mop? Until the arrival of the mop, Adam had used a twig for clettering the dishes, but then Flora arrived, and then the mop arrived. Sheer romance. Sadly, the little mop was too beautiful to use, though, so Adam continued clettering with a twig.
Flora Poste is always doing things like this. Following an education that was “expensive, athletic and prolonged,” and the death of her parents, she leaves London to settle in with her distant relatives in Cold Comfort Farm. What follows is a miracle: a parody of a literary form that no longer exists, but which is still vibrant and hilarious. Stella Gibbons pulls apart the rustic potboiler in a manner that is stunningly inventive. Flora is an agent of change for the bizarre relatives she encounters at Cold Comfort Farm. But in between delivering little mops and getting brooding Seth off to Hollywood there is time to learn about a film in which everyone wears glass trousers, a bull named Big Business, and something nasty that happened in the woodshed. Or maybe the potting shed.
Whenever I re-read Cold Comfort Farm I always forget that it’s moderately futuristic. Kensington is a slum, I think, and the characters talk on video phones and knock about in twin-props. What I never forget is the astonishing richness of this hilarious book. And I never forget about the little mop, neither.
Make sure to leave your comments below about your recommendations when it comes to great books and literature! Of course, there’s plenty more great deals on books at our sister site Jelly Deals, or check out what games you can get cheap right now on the current Humble Choice subscription! Or just head to the Jelly Deals Twitter and find out all the best deals as they appear!