Tactical Combat, Fantasy Adventure, and Political Intrigue: Five Books About Intricate Games

I’ve loved games since childhood, everything from tag to the medieval imagery of chess to Dungeons & Dragons and first-person shooters. (I am terrible at first-person shooters, but sometimes it’s just cathartic to shoot pixel bad guys. Or, in my case, to be shot by them?) As a corollary, this meant that I also enjoy books related to games. Sometimes they’re about game-playing, and sometimes they’re set in the world of a game. Sometimes, as with gamebooks or Choose Your Own Adventure, the book is the game itself!

 


The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks

This was the first of two Banks novels that I’ve read. (The other is Surface Detail.) Its protagonist is a master game-player who is recruited, through trickery, to compete in a society where there is not only rampant game-playing but casual torture. Not only is the depiction of game-playing fascinating, there’s ...