- Longtime online game journalist Marek Bronstring (he co-founded Idle Thumbs, you see!) has his own blog called Gameslol, and I particularly appreciated a recent entry about 'Books on game design, creativity & marketing'.

In some ways, the later entries (on marketing and 'other media') are more interesting, but let's stick to the games stuff - Bronstring firstly appreciates Salen & Zimmerman's Rules Of Play, which is, "...as far as I am aware, the most solid theoretical framework for understanding games and game design. It’s a pretty epic textbook, but it’s absolutely worth digesting." He also gives nods to the Rouse and Adams/Rollings game design books, which I would also concur with.

There's also a hearty recommendation for a Valve opus: "Most gaming coffee table art books are disappointing, but not Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar. Valve shows how their sausage is made, revealing countless early prototypes, concepts and ideas that for some reason never made it into the final game. At times you can clearly picture multiple alternate versions of Half-Life 2 (some of them horrible, some of them great)."

[Random note: I kept Marek's Amazon referrer in these URLs, because he originally wrote the recommendations, and I thought that was fair. There was an interesting weblog post recently about the etiquette of removing and/or changing Amazon associate codes when you're quoting other sites - bonus points for anyone who can remember where it is, because I certainly can't.]