This past Monday, a dream finally saw fruition: I saw my first non-fiction book on a shelf at Barnes & Noble. Games’ Most Wanted has finally made it into the public eye.
Granted, it’s not the first time I’ve seen one of my books on a store shelf; I’ve seen, on several occasions, many of my BattleTech books on game store (and some mainstream bookseller) shelves. But this particular book marked something of a milestone for me.
My first “true” publication.
Okay, so how is it my first? I’ve contributed, written, and produced more than thirty books in the BattleTech line, so clearly it’s not a matter of my first. At least, not in the literal sense.
What GMW represents is more of a step out of my comfort zone. I’m very capable and comfortable of producing giant stompy robot universe material; I’ve been writing for the universe for eight years now.
No, GMW is what I consider my next step. As Obi-Wan would say, my “next step into a larger world.”
So what makes GMW a must-need book? Who are we targeting? What’s the point?
In GMW, we take a look at board, tabletop, war, and video games. We also look at the culture that has grown up around it – from the arcade junkies to online addicts, casual social gamers to hard-core professional leaguers. It’s a book aimed at anyone who is, was, will be, or knows a gamer.
I’ll let a little bit of my introduction in the book explain:
We wrote this book with a variety of readers in mind. If you’re a casual game player, we hope to broaden your experience to the enormous variety of games out there. If you’re a parent of gamers, we hope to explain some of the cultural idiosyncrasies that have arisen as gaming continues to grow. If you’re a hardcore gamer, we hope that as you read, you’ll relive some great gaming memories as we mention your favorite games. For those who are partnered with a gamer, we want you to better understand your significant other’s gaming personality—and give you some common points to discuss with them when you both have some “together” time.
Most important, though, is that we truly desire for our reader—no matter where they are on the gaming spectrum—to walk away an improved gamer. If you learn just one thing from these pages and apply it to your gaming experience, you’ll be a better gamer.
Table of Contents
GMW came about from an out-of-the-blue phone call by Kathryn Owens, who would end up being my main point of contact and editor of the project. She’d called me in 2009, wanting to know if I’d be interested in putting together some sort of book on games or gaming for Potomac Books, Inc. Considering I’d just been laid off from a prior employer and in the middle of job hunting, I jumped at the chance. Of course, I had my main cheerleader pushing me forward as well; my wife is really good at inspiring me beyond my own criticism.
I ended up pulling in a co-author on the project in 2010, after faltering with various chapter ideas. I’d come to the realization I was woefully unprepared to handle the swath of games that faced me for this book. Chris had many years in the industry and also was (at the time) a prominent host of the Fear the Boot podcast. He had some clout and experience in some gaming areas I lacked. After convincing him to jump aboard (it wasn’t that hard), we set about redefining the chapters, the content, and the workload.
About 2011, the book stalled again for a few reasons. It was mostly complete, just lacking a few final chapters as we ran out of steam. Potomac had designated the book as the last of their “Most Wanted” line and interest seemed to wane. So it was shelved.
In mid-2012, Kathryn again called me. The book had received renewed interest in completion and she wondered if we could finish up within a month. We certainly did, though we fell short by four chapters of the original 42 we’d planned. The word count was more than enough, however, even after the shedding of another chapter on conventioneering that didn’t fit the book’s tone and content. We were set at 37 chapters of game goodness.
And the rest, they say, is publication history. Or at least, standard publication workflow. Copy editing, corrections, red line check, final proof, layout, print, and viola! There it is, on the bookshelf, waiting to be bought.
So. That’s Games’ Most Wanted. In the coming weeks/months, I’ll revisit the book and some of the topics therein. In the meantime, please follow the book’s Facebook page. Of course, we’d love it if you bought a copy and read it. Hey, buy two and give one to a friend! And reviews are always welcome, especially on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, and other prominent bookseller websites.
Go forth and read. And then get gaming!