Read This, Then That: Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game that Changed Everything

Eric Smith

Staff Writer

Eric Smith an author, blogger, and literary agent based in Philadelphia. When he isn’t busy trying to discover new books, he sometimes tries to write his own. Blog: Eric Smith Twitter: @ericsmithrocks

minecraft book

There’s a wonderful moment in Chapter 2 of Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game that Changed Everything, when the authors Linus Larsson and Daniel Goldberg are discussing the concept of pixels on a screen.

I’m paraphrasing here, but they talk about how when you look close enough at a computer or television screen, you can see the little dots, the pixels, that make up an image. The smallest units of computer graphics, pixels are generally invisible unless you’re looking close enough to find them. And small as they are, to say they are incredibly important is a massive understatement. Without them, there’s no image, no graphic, no game.

And really, that’s what this book is. A pixel. And an incredibly beautiful one at that.

See, you might be familiar with the story of Minecraft. There are countless articles about its creator, Notch, and his rise to video game stardom. These pieces generally focus on his wealth, the sales of the game, the mad rush around Minecon (it’s like Comic Con or Book Expo America, but you know, for Minecraft), stuff like that. But this book takes his story and gives you a closer look. You learn about the man behind the game. His childhood, his family, the growth of his company and the lives of the people who work there. It doesn’t just give you the big enormous, glamour-filled cut scenes that you read about on the Internet. This book gives you the pixels, the details.

If you thought those incredible levels gamers built in Minecraft were amazing (remember these libraries?), the story of how the game actually came to be is even more awe inspiring.

Don’t wait for the inevitable movie (film rights to the book have already been sold), pick this book up when it hits shelves from Seven Stories Press in November. And while you’re waiting for it to come out, here are a couple great video game books to keep you busy.

jeffryanmarioSuper Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America: I talk about Jeff Ryan’s book whenever I can. A riveting read, you learn about Nintendo’s incredible rise (and almost failure), here in the United States.

It’s a must read for anyone who loves video games, even if you’re an Xbox, Playstation, or PC gaming fanboy.

All Your Base Are Belong to Us: While Jeff Ryan’s book might take you into the world of Nintendo, Harold Goldberg’s gives you glimpses into the creation of games across the spectrum, from classics like Kings Quest and Myst, to more modern titles like Grand Theft Auto and Bioshock.

The interviews in this book are wonderfully insightful, and you kind of want to own the book based on the title alone.


zeldaThe Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia: Last year Dark Horse Books released this incredible, beautiful hardcover book that detailed the history of the Legend of Zelda franchise. And the concept art! Gorgeous. It’s a big book that begs to be put on display.

There’s also a limited collectors edition of this book with a faux leather cover. Readers, if you find it, please let me know. Seriously. We should talk and perhaps barter. Just putting it out there.

Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter: Tom Bissell’s memoir / journalism mashup Extra Lives is a fun read, with hilarious musings mixed with insightful profiles on industry titans.



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