7 Best Gaming Books Of 2024 (All Reviewed)

best gaming books

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If anyone has ever told you to read a book once in a while instead of playing video games non stop, then this list of the best gaming books should scratch your gaming itch while keeping your parent, partner, or brain happy.

We all love playing the best SNES games and the best Master System games; that’s why you’re here on Retro Dodo, after all.

But do we ever stop to think about all of the work that went into making our favourite games?

Do we ever take a minute to think about the struggles that companies like Sega and Nintendo experienced as they fought their way to the top?

The answer for most people, including myself, is probably not. Once we get stuck into LylatWars or begin button-mashing our way through King of Fighters, we can’t help but get lost in the moment.

That’s where the best gaming books come in. They open up a-whole-nother side of gaming, an insight into the minds of the developers that make the games that have defined our lives.

1. A Handheld History

a handheld history

Firstly, the accolade of the best gaming book goes to our very own book; A Handheld History!

Yes, Retro Dodo’s new book A Handheld History has received some incredible love over the past few months. We hit our crowdfunding target of reaching $24K in one month in less than 23 hours, a phenomenal feat made possible by you, the Retro Dodo reader and the wider retro gaming world!

From the very first musings of Gunpei Yokoi to the best retro handhelds dropping today, A Handheld History tells the story of the gaming world and how the handheld console came to be as well as what makes it so popular in today’s world.

Take a trip back in time to playing Pokemon Red in bed, Harry Potter on the GBA with a worm light, and the data where AA batteries were more important than remembering your mum’s birthday.

Ok, so I know we’re biased, but look how good the book has turned out too. We’ve worked with some incredible creatives in the field including Jason Bradbury, Mike Driver, and Larry Bundy Jr, bringing you expert opinion, exciting info, and retro gaming goodness no matter where you are.\

We are also shipping a second book in the series which can be pre-ordered here.

2. Game Boy: The Box Art Collection

game boy book

Next up on our list of the best gaming books is Gameboy: The Box Art Collection from the genius minds over at Bitmap Books.

You’re going to be seeing that name a lot as we go through this article, as Bitmap Books have some of the most stunning gaming compendiums that we’ve ever seen!

Whether you’re a hardcore Game Boy fan or are new to the world of Nintendo, this book will give you everything you need to know about the handheld that defined a generation, and indeed an industry!

With perfectly captured images of the box art that kickstarted the handheld gaming industry and detailed information on the games and characters that have made Nintendo a household name, this collection provides a spellbinding journey into the history of video gaming from the very first page.

Bitmap Books have even gone the extra mile and professionally translated the titles of the Japanese games in this collection into Romaji, something that we’ve never seen in any compendium before now.

At 372 pages long and with a silver protective cover, this is one of the best gaming books we’ve ever come across. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy receiving this as a gift!


The evolution of home video gaming is a crazy story, there have been some incredible consoles that changed entertainment for good, and some that flopped shortly after launch.

Our good friend Mike Diver has crafted another book, this time on the last 50 years of gaming at home.

THE CON50LE is a comprehensive look back at consoles from SEGA, Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and even a look a unpopular consoles, Japan-only releases, and crazy modded consoles.

It’s an easy to digett book, with big lettering, many stock photos that make the book feel like a museum piece and lots of facts about your favourite games, developers and accessories.

It’s a great all-round book that you can scan through for hours on end, and a good one to keep in your games room for when you need to increase your knowledge about the gaming industry.

4. PACMAN: Birth of an Icon

pacman birth of an icon

If you loving playing the best PACMAN games, and have fond memories of the every so nostalgic wacka-wacka noise from the classic arcades, then this book is for you.

Created by Cook & Becker this book is designed to take you back through the past, and dive deep into how PACMAN was birthed, who was behind the yellow ball, and how it changed the game for game developers.

“Full of historical imagery, concept designs, marketing photos and more, the book examines the game’s design philosophy and origins through the artists, designers, developers, and other creative teams who brought PAC-MAN to life”.

cook & becker

What I love about this book is that it has been designed with art and research at its forefront. Not only do you have an endless supply of information but also impressive art pieces that merge perfectly with the book across hundreds of pages.

It also comes in a limited edition variant that come with a storage case, a collectors coin and a vinyl, how cool!

5. Retro Gaming – A Byte-sized History
Of Video Games

retro gaming book mike diver

Up next on our list of the best gaming books is Retro Gaming – A Byte-sized History
Of Video Games
, another personal favourite of mine that is jam-packed full of facts and interesting information for the nostalgic gamer.

This incredible book covers the complete A to Z of video gaming through the ages…

… so ‘Atari to Zelda’ or ‘Asteroids to Zoo-Cube’, for example!

This self-described ‘compact, comprehensive compendium’ is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to the best retro gaming facts.

Relive the exciting highs of your favourite games, laugh or cry at the lows and the ‘could have beens’, and discover some hidden gems that you may never have heard of along the way.

Expect references to Sonic, Link, Jumpan, Keith Courage, and all of the gaming greats. And with over 40 years of gaming crammed inside these pages, you’ll find it incredibly hard to put down.

6. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia

zelda book hyrule historia

Those of you that have read my articles before will know how much of a Zelda-nerd I am.

Hyrule Historia is one of the best reference books of any game that I have ever bought, and it’s crammed full of lore, character sketches, and information about the ‘Hero of Time’ timeline.

In short; if you know your Skulltulas from your Tektites and can strike a bargain with a Deku Scrub, then this is the book for you.

I can just sit and flick through this book for hours. From the early days of Hyrule right through to an in-depth look at Skyward Sword, Hyrule Histora gives fans a chance to see how their favourite green-garbed hero has developed over the years.

It’s a chance to relive some of the best moments from the franchise and to experience some new comic-book-stye adventures too!

Oh, and it was written and compiled by Shigeru Miyamoto himself too!

7. SEGA Master System: A Visual Compendium – Bitmap Books

sega master system book

The final book in our list of the greatest and best gaming books of all time is an absolute belter and the perfect title to end this list.

There’s a reason that the SEGA Master System is such a popular console in Brazil still; its a fantastic device with some of the best game storylines and characters going!

This book is a visual feast for both the eyes and brain. Featuring stunning images and backgrounds from classic SEGA titles, SEGA: A Visual Compendium is a one-stop-shop for every classic character, game, and level on this epic console.

At 424-pages long and holding information on over 200 amazing games, this is one book that fans of Sonic, Asterix, and Mickey need in their lives.

All of the pictures, in-depth interviews and feature pieces in this perfectly presented book are housed in a dust jacket and slipcase. It even comes with 3D glasses.

Bitmap Books really do go the extra mile!

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