I OWE A GREAT debt to all the better thinkers from whom I borrowed ideas. Without them, this book could not exist. My borrowing was so widespread that I couldn’t possibly list every source that influenced me. But I have, with difficulty, managed to pare down the list to the 10 richest seams of game design–relevant ideas I’ve ever found. These books expand on and clarify many of the concepts in this book.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman Most of game design hinges on understanding human minds—those of our players, our team, and ourselves. Kahneman’s book is an owner’s manual for the mind. It’s the best explanation I’ve found of how intuitive and systematic thought interact to generate our idiosyncratic human capacities and follies.
Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee Story is the best guide to basic story craft I’ve found. Ostensibly it’s about screenwriting, but the book’s lessons about story structure are broadly applicable.
The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses by Jesse Schell Schell’s an experienced game designer who cares about games, and it shows. He covers many topics that I don’t, and his conclusions and models sometimes differ from mine. The contrast is food for thought.
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb Taleb thinks about risk and chance differently from anyone else. In his signature pugnacious writing style, he outlines the idea of the Black ...