Art Books: Video Games

Despite both art and books being regular topics here on My Open Sketchbook, I’ve never chatted about art books here on the blog (though I did have this guest post over at Bookworms In Dresses!) I wanted to start this series to chat about the art books I have, as well as the ones I’m lusting after. I figured I’d kick it off in geek style with art books all about video games. Heads up – this post contains affiliate links. Any money earned goes towards my blog costs!

Back in 2014, my hubs gifted me the beautiful The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia.

art book hyrule historia

This book is glorious, especially as a massive Legend of Zelda fan. It is just overflowing with concept art, character design, and of course information about the games. I love seeing how Link has evolved over the years, especially as the technology advanced. Plus, seeing how the original levels were designed – with pencil and graph paper – was fascinating.

art book bioshock 2

Deco Devolution: The Art of BioShock 2 came with the special edition box set of the game (another gift from the hubs at the time it came out…he spoils me). And while Bioshock 2 is my least favorite of the series, I still adore the design. I’m a big fan of art deco, and unsurprisingly, this book is full of it. I love looking through not only the full room designs, but also the tiny details – filigree on the walls, the furniture designs…it really shows just how much work is put into it! Also, as a horror fan, seeing the concept art for the splicers and other baddies is just great eye candy.

art book mass effect

My most recent acquisition was yet another gift from the hubs, which he gave me this year for Christmas: The Art of The Mass Effect Universe. Drooooool. Reading through this has been amazing (and makes me want to play them all again.) I feel like it makes me appreciate the games so much more knowing the struggles the designers had with some things, most notably trying to find a uniquely recognizable look for a sci-fi series. No easy task. Plus, there are just oodles of character designs to drool over. I love seeing the concepts for (and reasons behind) early character design. The whole process is fascinating to me!

As for books I’m currently lusting over, at the top of my wishlist is The Art of The Last of Us.

It’s one of my favorite games of all time, and I want to pore over each page and read about all the design that went into it. Also on the list are The Art of Bioshock Infinite, Assassin’s Creed: The Complete Visual History, and The Art of Deus Ex Universe (out in August 2016).

What’s a game you’ve played where the art really stuck out to you?


  • I’ve never thought to buy an art book of the video games I love, but how cool are these?! That Zelda one looks gorgeous!

    • Kay

      I find them to be fascinating, even if you don’t consider yourself an artist! I liken it to watching the behind the scenes for a movie you really like haha. They are always packed with information, and it’s so cool to see the world and characters develop throughout the concept art!

  • I love video game art books! I got one little book with the Assassin’s Creed 4 collectors edition, and I also have one from World of Warcraft Cataclysm. My boyfriend gets a lot of inspiration from looking through them!

    • Kay

      Awesome! And yes, they are packed with inspiration. While I’m not a WoW fan in terms of the game, it art, characters, and world design are gorgeous – I bet that book is awesome!

  • Emma

    I’ve been incredibly tempted to get a Video Game art book ever since I saw one on Dead Space in Forbidden Planet, but thought it might have been a waste of money for very little content (as they’re quite expensive) but your Zelda book looks packed full of goodies. I think I’ve now changed my mind now.

    • Kay

      I think they probably can be hit or miss. I’ve loved the ones I’ve gotten, but they are for pretty big name titles and such. Also, I think it depends on what you’re looking for – to me, I’m happy if it’s just art and nothing else, but I can definitely understand people wanting a bit more written info/behind the scenes stuff. The Zelda book is HUGE and filled with an insane amount of both art and info. Whereas The Art of Mass Effect is gorgeous, but it focuses a lot more on art and concepts, with a few blurbs about it on each page. If you snag one at some point, I hope you enjoy it!

  • gamerwife

    I have the Dragon Age: Inquisition art book (gift from Rick) and it is beyond gorgeous. I’d love to own one of the Mass Effect books as well since it is my favourite franchise. When we were in Japan I got Rick an epic book of Mega Man art. Sadly it is all in Japanese, but the art is still really cool to look at.

    • Kay

      I bet the art is amazing to look at for sure! And the Dragon Age book must have some seriously great art. I find that even with the books that don’t have a lot of blurbs/explanation, I love them just to peruse the art. I definitely recommend the Mass Effect book; it’s lovely.

  • The Dragon Age: Inquisition art book. Oh my gosh I’m not even sure where to begin just stunning!!

    • Kay

      I bet – those games are so lovely to look at so I’m not at all surprised! I haven’t actually played it, but I’d love to drool over all the art. 😀

      • Kay! you should! It’s worth your time! I’m currently playing them and I will be streaming the 3rd game pretty soon if you are interested in seeing some game play.

      • BioWare never fails in the their art department.

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