Non-Fiction to Notice: Boss Fight Books

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Posted: June 11, 2020

Category: Staff Picks

A book cover showing a blue crystalA few years ago, Gabe Durham came up with an idea to write books that would each focus on a single notable video game. He ran a fairly successful Kickstarter campaign, wrote the first book in the series himself, and then started asking for pitches from others.
Seven years and multiple Kickstarter campaigns later, Boss Fight Books has published 23 books in the series, covering all ages and genres of video games.

Each book is written by an author with a personal connection to a particular game, and the books each include a mix of history and details about the game, plus an autobiography of the author – at least, the portion of the author’s life that heavily involves the game under discussion.

Earthbound by Ken Baumann, the designer for Boss Fight Books, kicks off the series. Baumann talks about one of the larger cult-classic role-playing games from the 16-bit era, and how events in his life mirrored those in the game’s narrative to some extent.

Final Fantasy V was written by Chris Kohler. It’s a story of (arguably) the most mysterious Final Fantasy game, due to the circumstances of its initial non-release in North America, combined with Kohler and America’s simultaneous discovery of Japanese culture.

Spelunky is a bit of an anomaly among the Boss Fight Books, as it was written by Derek Yu, the game’s developer. He describes his earliest ideas for the game, the process of developing it in the public eye on PC, his struggles to port it to Xbox Live Arcade, and some neat things about the game that many players will never discovery on their own.

In addition to the three books listed above, GPPL purchased another nine Boss Fight Books late last year for our young adult non-fiction section: Chrono Trigger by Michael P. Williams, Katamari Damacy by L.E. Hall, Kingdom Hearts II by Alexa Ray Corriea, Metal Gear Solid by Ashly Burch, NBA Jam by Reyan Ali, Shovel Knight by David L. Craddock, Super Mario Bros. 2 by John Irwin, Super Mario Bros. 3 by Alyse Knorr, and World of Warcraft by Daniel Lisi.

All of our Boss Fight Books are shelved in the young adult non-fiction section, and are available via curbside pickup. For more information on our curbside pickup, please see this page.

If you enjoy any of the Boss Fight Books, you may also enjoy Blood, Sweat, and Pixels by Jason Schreier. Schreier is a long-time video game journalist, and in this book, he explores the development process behind a handful of games including Stardew Valley, Shovel Knight, and Destiny. GPPL does not own a copy of Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, but our staff members would be happy to place a request for it from another library for any interested readers.

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