Christmas is a time for giving. And if you're over the age of 13, that usually means giving (or asking for!) books. That being the case, here are some good books you can buy (or ask for!) for someone who is into video games, or is just a cool person around video games.
A note before we move on: because we're talking about gifts here, I've tried to steer away from novels. People's tastes can be fickle when it comes to stuff like that, so most of the books I've listed below are "safer" options, namely coffee table and/or art books.
A must for anyone who loves Nintendo. Before Mario tells the story of the company before it specialised in video games, with beautiful images and thorough research showcasing the neat toys, gadgets and trinkets Nintendo came up with in the decades before the NES and Donkey Kong.
Yes, this is a little biased (that's mine and Brian's name on the cover). But I'm super proud of the book and think it makes an awesome Christmas present for anyone who's into - or even curious - about cosplay. Along with hundreds of amazing photos of the world's best cosplayers, there are interviews and profiles that break down the history of the scene, from its origins in the early 20th century to raunchy masquerades in the 1970s to the big conventions of today.
SEGA MEGA DRIVE/GENESIS: COLLECTED WORKS
This is the best coffee table book about video games of all time. It's historical, yes, but it's also gorgeous, packed with art, design documents and schematics of Sega's most famous console. Seeing the actual design notes for games like Streets of Rage is a highlight.
D&D 5th EDITION
"This is the best, most exciting kind of D&D we've had in twenty years, and that's not all", says Quintin in our look at the RPG classic's 5th edition. "It's never been more beginner-friendly." If you've ever wanted to buy someone Dungeons & Dragons, the new 5th edition is the best place to start.
Hey, it's 2014, why not read a book about Chrono Trigger. A book that goes deep into the game. It's not about how it was made, but about what it all means, comparing its systems and values to that of our own world, and examining just why it's regarded as one of the best RPGs of all time.
MECHS & THE CITY
This is the second sketchbook by Ian McQue, an artist who spent almost 20 years at Rockstar North, the developers of the Grand Theft Auto series. If you're like me and dig the raw, unfinished nature of sketchbooks - they're like daydreams recorded for posterity! - this is awesome.
EVERY DAY IS PLAY
Another beautiful coffee table book, Every Day is Play celebrates the work of video game fan artists, collecting some of the best illustrations, comics and photos of the past decade and presenting them in a gorgeous hardcover.
HELLBOY: THE FIRST 20 YEARS
There are few people on the planet with an art style as iconic and adored as Mike Mignola. So when a book celebrating the first 20 years of Hellboy is released, full of sketches and ideas and unblemished cover art, you get it. For someone else if you love them, or if not, then treat yourself.
THE ART OF DESTINY
There were so many great video game art books released this year. Assassin's Creed Unity, Titanfall...but the best one is Destiny's. It's a gorgeous thing to flick through, even if you've never played the game, which I think is (aside from insightful commentary) the sign of a really great art book. We've posted a ton of Destiny art on the site this year, but that's only scratching the surface of what's in here.
There simply aren't enough books like this. Console Wars goes beyond the marketing and heresay to take a detailed look at the 90's rivalry between Sega and Nintendo. We're talking over 200 interviews with former employees of both companies. It's a must-read for anyone into video game history.
Got an idea of your own? Drop it in the comments below. Unless it's a comic book. We've got a separate guide for comics coming soon.