Holiday shopping can be stressful, especially if you’re trying to find unique gifts for the gamers in your life. What can you get them that they don’t already have? Well, books aren’t the first thing many people think when it comes to video game related gifts, but there’s actually quite a few worth checking out.
From books to help you catch up on Halo lore before the release of Halo Infinite, to art books, comics, books about the industry, and more, there’s a lot on offer. To help you sort through it all and find the perfect book(s) to give as a gift, we’ve put together a gift guide with some of our favorite must-read video game books!
Holiday Gift Guide 2021 | Must-Read Video Game Books
The release of Halo Infinite on December 8 is fast approaching. If it’s been a while since you’ve played the Halo games prior to Infinite, or you never soaked up much of the lore and want to have a better understanding as to what’s going on, there’s a great way to get yourself caught up that doesn’t involve going back and replaying each and every Halo game.
Now, don’t get us wrong, there are a lot of Halo books and it can take a while to get through all of them. We don’t recommend buying every single book, but we do recommend the first couple of books, particularly The Fall of Reach.
We also recommend the Halo Mythos: A Guide to the Story of Halo for an even more concise recap of the story. And with that, here are some links to help get you started…
- Halo Mythos: A Guide to the Story of Halo
- Halo: The Fall of Reach
- Halo: The Flood
- Halo: First Strike
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
- Halo: Contact Harvest
- Halo: The Cole Protocol
- Halo: The Great Journey... The Art of Building Worlds
- Halo: Battle Born (A Halo Young Adult Novel Series #1)
- Halo Warfleet
Other Video Game Book Series
Halo isn’t the only video game series with helpful companion books. Other games from World of Warcraft to Starcraft to Mass Effect and beyond have written books you can read to help you learn more about the games. A lot of these books make for entertaining reads.
Here are some links of books worth checking out, if you don’t see books for a particular game, be sure to search Amazon and Barnes & Noble as you’ll either find books pertaining to that game, or books for games that are similar.
- The Last Wish: Introducing The Witcher
- Sword of Destiny (The Witcher, 2)
- Blood of Elves (The Witcher, 3)
- StarCraft: Liberty's Crusade
- Queen of Blades (StarCraft)
- Mass Effect: Revelation
- Mass Effect: Ascension
- World of Warcraft: Book One
- World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas Volume 1
- Dragon Age: The World of Thedas Volume 2
- The Fallout Saga: A Tale Of Mutation, Creation, Universe, Decryption
- NieR:Automata: Short Story Long
- God of War: Lore and Legends
Books About The Video Game Industry
Setting aside fiction books that walk readers through a game’s story in written form, there are nonfiction books about the video game industry as a whole. We’ve talked about some of these in a previous feature, but we want to include this section again.
Who knows, one of these books may prove to be the perfect gift for the person you’re shopping for!
- Ask Iwata: Words of Wisdom from Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's Legendary CEO
- Game On!: Video Game History from Pong and Pac-Man to Mario, Minecraft, and More
- The Comic Book Story of Video Games: The Incredible History of the Electronic Gaming Revolution
- The Game Console: A History in Photographs
- Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design
- Unity Game Development Cookbook: Essentials for Every Game
- Games, Design and Play: A detailed approach to iterative game design
Sometimes the person you’re shopping for doesn’t want to read so much as they want a book to display, or a book to page through every now and then. For this category, we recommend art books as they aren’t heavy on text and feature some truly gorgeous illustrations.
There are a surprising number of art books on the market for video games, so if you don’t see what you’re looking for in our example links, be sure to do a separate search to see what’s available out there. More often than not, you’ll find something!
- The Art of God of War
- The Art of Cuphead
- The Art of Street Fighter
- The Art of Ghost of Tsushima
- The Art of the Mass Effect Trilogy: Expanded Edition
- The Art of Fire Emblem: Awakening
- The Legend of Zelda: Art & Artifacts
- The Art of Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Kirby: Art & Style Collection
- Art of Mana
- The Art of Horizon Zero Dawn
- Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers -- The Art of Reflection -Histories Forsaken-
- The Art of Splatoon 2
- The Art of Death Stranding
- Marvel's Spider-Man: The Art of the Game
- Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales: The Art of the Game
- The Art of The Last of Us Part II
Want to do a little less reading, and a little more cooking? There are some fantastic video game cookbooks out there. Here are a few we recommend!
- The Ultimate Final Fantasy XIV Cookbook: The Essential Culinarian Guide to Hydaelyn
- Street Fighter: The Official Street Food Cookbook
- The Elder Scrolls: The Official Cookbook
- Fallout: The Vault Dweller's Official Cookbook
- Heroes' Feast (Dungeons & Dragons): The Official D&D Cookbook
- World of Warcraft: The Official Cookbook
- Overwatch: The Official Cookbook
Game Guides and Encyclopedias
Finally, there are an assortment of game guides available that are worth picking up. Here are a few examples!
- Octopath Traveler: The Complete Guide
- Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition: Official Game Guide
- Cyberpunk 2077: The Complete Official Guide-Collector's Edition
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild The Complete Official Guide: -Expanded Edition
- Super Mario Encyclopedia: The Official Guide to the First 30 Years
- NieR: Automata World Guide Volume 1
- FORTNITE (Official): The Ultimate Locker: The Visual Encyclopedia
- Inside the World of Roblox
- Roblox Ultimate Guide Collection: Top Adventure Games, Top Role-Playing Games, Top Battle Games
- Street Fighter World Warrior Encyclopedia - Arcade Edition HC
- Super Extra Deluxe Essential Handbook (Pokémon): The Need-to-Know Stats and Facts on Over 875 Characters
- The World of the Witcher: Video Game Compendium