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Great books on classic video games. Baldur's Gate II, Metal Gear Solid, Bible Adventures, Spelunky, and World of Warcraft.
Great books on classic video games. Baldur's Gate II, Metal Gear Solid, Bible Adventures, Spelunky, and World of Warcraft.
Great books on classic video games. Baldur's Gate II, Metal Gear Solid, Bible Adventures, Spelunky, and World of Warcraft.
1,228 backers pledged $53,186 to help bring this project to life.

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Boss Fight Books: Season 2

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A Note from the Editor

Hey Everybody,

What a great month this has been. THANK YOU for backing the campaign, telling your friends, and showing us that you believe in this project.

And if you missed the Kickstarter, don't worry! It's not too late to secure your copies of our books from bossfightbooks.com, to order existing books from our site and the Kindle store, to review the books on Goodreads, and to follow/like us on Twitter and Facebook.

We can't wait to deliver these books to you over the next year, and to look ahead even further into the future.

Sincerely,

Gabe Durham

Editor, Boss Fight Books

Buzz

Check out new Boss Fight coverage at Joystiq, Eurogamer, Rock Paper Shotgun, indie(Function), Retrospekt, BITPULSE, Cliqist, Cartridge Lit, This Is Infamous, Entropy, AnaitGames, and 4 Color Rebellion. Also, we've got new posts on Tumblr from Matt Bell, Gabe Durham, and Derek Yu, and new interviews with Ken Baumann, Ashly & Anthony Burch, Gabe Durham, and Matt Bell. We are proud to be both a Kickstarter Staff Pick and a Kickstarter Featured Publishing Project of the Day.

The Story

Last year, Gabe Durham had the idea for a series of critical, creative, historical, and personal books about classic video games. When he pitched his idea for "the 33⅓ of video games" to the world, the world went, "YEAH DUDE, GO FOR IT!" and Boss Fight Books was born.

A year later, we've released six titles and sold more than 15,000 books worldwide.

Now we've got some new ideas.

  • A book about Spelunky by the designer himself.
  • A book about BioWare's D&D epic Baldur's Gate II.
  • A book about the most infamous unlicensed game of the NES era, Bible Adventures.
  • A book about Metal Gear Solid from the brother/sister duo behind Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'?
  • A book about World of Warcraft featuring new interviews from WoW developers.
  • And a new book about... any game you choose.

The Books

Each book will be numbered, collectible, and will look great on your shelf together thanks to our returning series designer Ken Baumann. All the books will be available in

  • Paperback: 5x7-inch, matte finish, 130-200 pages
  • eBook: DRM-free in EPUB, MOBI, and PDF formats

and will be sold both directly from bossfightbooks.com and from the Kindle store.

Metal Gear Solid by Ashly and Anthony Burch

Before they co-created the hit web series Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'?, before Anthony was lead writer of Borderlands 2, before Ashly lent her voice to Saints Row IV, Towerfall, and Adventure Time—Ashly and Anthony Burch were just a brother and sister who shared a weird obsession with Solid Snake and his 3D debut, Metal Gear Solid (1998).

And why wouldn't they? Hideo Kojima's attempt at creating the Playstation's greatest game featured groundbreaking stealth mechanics, a gruff and hunky leading man, a brilliantly claustrophobic setting, tons of cinematic cutscenes, shocking fourth wall breaks, and terrifying bosses. Several console generations later, Metal Gear Solid is still often touted as the series high water mark.

The only problem: Ashly and Anthony grew up but their all-time favorite video game didn't. After nearly two decades, Metal Gear Solid's once-innovative stealth mechanics seem outdated, the cutscenes have lost some of their action movie punch, and the game's treatment of women is often out of touch. Witness a celebration/takedown of this landmark game with the combination of insight and hilarity that Ashly and Anthony have made their careers on.

Ashly Burch is a voice actor and writer, and she speaks about representation and issues of gender and identity in the games industry. Anthony Burch is a former blogger and current writer at Gearbox Software. He was lead writer of Borderlands 2.

Baldur's Gate II by Matt Bell

Behold, Boss Fight's nerdiest gambit yet: a book about a computer game based in the world of Dungeons & Dragons. And what a game it is. Upon its release in 2000, BioWare's PC role-playing epic Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn was hailed as a paragon of its genre and named "RPG of the Year" by IGN, Gamespy, and Gamespot.

A game like Baldur's Gate II requires not just a master wordsmith but a dungeon master. Enter award-winning novelist Matt Bell, author of the surreal domestic novel In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods and co-author (with Matthew Simmons) of the Dungeons & Dragons novel The Last Garrison.

Bell's book takes a close look at BGII's immersive story and brilliant mechanics, how the Baldur's Gate series anticipates future BioWare releases, how play in the D&D universe inspires creativity, and how BGII helped pull Bell out of the darkest season of his life. Dig in, geek out, and go for the eyes, Boo!

Matt Bell is the author of the novel In the House upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods, as well as two previous books, How They Were Found and Cataclysm Baby. His next novel, Scrapper, will be published in Fall 2015.

Bible Adventures by Gabe Durham

From Boss Fight Books series editor Gabe Durham comes the story of a small, unlicensed game development company called Color Dreams who struggled to turn a profit until they were hit with divine inspiration: They could make a lot more money creating games for Christians.

The company changed its name to Wisdom Tree and got to work on what would become its first and biggest hit, a 3-in-1 platformer starring Noah, David, and Moses's mother, called Bible Adventures.

Based on extensive research and original interviews with Wisdom Tree staff, Durham's book investigates the company's rise and fall, the Christian retail industry, growing up in the 90s among spiritual warriors, our retro obsession with "bad games," and why we're finally ready for a fully playable Jesus.

Gabe Durham is the founder, editor, and publisher of Boss Fight Books. His novel FUN CAMP was one of BuzzFeed's 17 Books We Loved in 2013. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.

 Spelunky by Derek Yu

When Derek Yu released Spelunky for free on the PC in 2008, he had no idea that his roguelike-inspired platformer would catch on so quickly. The game's combination of throwback mechanics, extreme difficulty, and random level generation made it a paragon of what an indie game could be.

A year later, Yu assembled a team to remake Spelunky as something bigger, richer, and more beautiful. It went on to become PC Gamer's Game of the Year, GameSpot's Platformer of the Year and XBLA Game of the Year, Destructoid's Best Console Exclusive of 2012, and earned both an IGF Excellence in Design award and a rare perfect score of 10/10 at Polygon.

But how is a "perfect" game made? This time, Boss Fight is going straight to the source. Spelunky the book is our first autobiographical game development history: the story of a game's creation as told by its creator. Spelunky is a game design manifesto in which Derek Yu uses his own game to discuss wide-ranging topics such as randomization, creative process, team dynamics, the philosophy of challenging games, and player feedback. Grab some ropes, a mattock, and your favorite pug—this book is going to dig deep.

Note: Check out the new Spelunky Minis tier! 14 tiny figurines of your favorite characters: Spelunker, Damsel, Shopkeeper, Tunnel Man, Caveman, Jiang Shi, Yeti, Mantrap, Frogs, Idol, Old Bitey, Alien, Lord Yeti, and King Anubis. (Photo here, courtesy of Fangamer.)

Derek Yu is an artist and game developer. In addition to creating Spelunky, he co-created the underwater adventure game Aquaria. He's also editor-in-chief of The Independent Gaming Source, a long-running indie game development community and news site.

 World of Warcraft by Daniel Lisi

At more than 100 million user accounts created and over $10 billion made, it is not only the most-subscribed MMORPG in the world, but the highest-grossing video game of all time. Ten years after its launch, Blizzard's World of Warcraft is less a game and more a world unto itself, and it's a world Daniel Lisi knows well. His high school years were spent more in Azeroth than in his hometown of Irvine, CA—a home he happened to share with Blizzard itself.

Now that Lisi has founded the Los Angeles-based game development studio Game Over, WoW remains one of Lisi's greatest inspirations for what a game can be. Based in part on original interviews with WoW developers, Lisi's book will examine how WoW came to exist, how the game has shaped culture since its release, and what our increasingly online social lives will become.

In addition to founding Game Over, Daniel Lisi is the production editor at the world literature press, Unnamed Press. He has previously worked with Write Bloody Publishing, PEN Center USA, and has created literary events for the Associations of Writers & Writing Programs and USC.

Fan-Selected 12th Book by ???

If you could read a book about any game, what would it be? Answer carefully, because everyone who backs Boss Fight gets a chance to vote for the game they most want to read a book about.

After you donate, hop into the comments and let us know what game you choose. During the final week of the campaign, we'll tally all the votes, and everyone will get to vote one more time from a short list of finalists.

Bonus eBook

Continue? The Boss Fight Books Anthology

As an additional treat, everyone who subscribes to Season 1 and/or Season 2 of Boss Fight Books will receive a digital copy of our first multi-author anthology, Continue? The Boss Fight Books Anthology. (That includes you, subscribers from our original campaign!)

In these digital pages, Anna Anthropy celebrates her second favorite Epic MegaGames title, David LeGault offers a tour of the lost 80s Action Max console, and Mike Meginnis tells his Best American Short Stories-selected tale of a father and son who become obsessed with the saddest adventure game in the world.

The book collects a diverse survey of essays and short stories from Boss Fight series authors Michael P. Williams, Ken Baumann, Jon Irwin, Darius Kazemi, and Matt Bell, as well as newcomers Tevis Thompson, Rebekah Frumkin, Brian Oliu, Salvatore Pane, Mike Lars White, and Rachel B. Glaser.

What People Are Saying About Boss Fight Books

Since the series launch, Boss Fight Books has been written up in top-tier publications like Kotaku, Polygon, BuzzFeed, Joystiq, GameSpot, Paste, Wired, The Onion A.V. Club, Kill Screen, GameTrailers, VICE, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. Check out a small sample of our press:

"Great games, whether they're AAA blockbusters that reached millions of people or fan-made efforts that touched only one person, deserve this sort of recognition." - GameSpot

"Forming a publishing company to put out a series of books about classic video games? That’s a great idea." - Geekosystem

"You can read plenty of books about video games, but there aren't many books all about one individual video game. Which is exactly why Boss Fight Books want to step in and fix that." - Kotaku

"It’s a book that aims to mirror the segmented, bizarro structure of EarthBound, and it’s a book that succeeds." - BuzzFeed on EarthBound by Ken Baumann

"If writing about video games had always been this good, we'd be having very difficult discussions about the medium right now." - Nintendo Life on Chrono Trigger by Michael P. Williams

"The Chrono book is excellent!" - John Romero, creator of Doom

"Anthropy has set the gold standard for book-length studies of games with ZZT, and I would strongly encourage anyone even thinking about writing about games to start here." 9.8/10 - Paste

"An extremely brave piece of work." - Cliqist on Galaga by Michael Kimball

Jagged Alliance 2 has the perfect guide in Darius Kazemi.” - Rob Zacny

"Super Mario Bros. 2 shines a much-needed light on a game whose significance has rarely felt fully understood ... This is required reading for game historians." - Nintendo Life

You can check out our Press page for more coverage, read some five-star and one-star reviews of our books at Goodreads and Amazon, look at Andrew Hayward's Joystiq piece about the writing of EarthBound, or check out an interview with Gabe and Ken over at BuzzFeed.

Free Reads

Try before you buy! Check out excerpts of: EarthBound, Chrono Trigger, ZZT, Galaga, Jagged Alliance 2, and Super Mario Bros. 2.

Timeline

November 2014: Digital anthology arrives.

January 2015: First book arrives.

March 2015: Second book arrives.

May 2015: Third book arrives.

July 2015: Fourth book arrives.

September 2015: Fifth book arrives.

November 2015: Sixth book arrives.

Expenses

We need your help to keep Boss Fight Books going! Our expenses include:

  • Printing
  • Layout
  • eBook conversion
  • Rights to high-resolution cover images
  • ISBNs
  • Shipping
  • Boss Fight website upkeep
  • California LLC Fees
  • Advances: If our campaign hits a stretch goal of $10,000, each of our Season 2 authors will receive an advance of $500.

Stretch Goals

Here's what will happen the more money we raise:

$5,000 - Initial Goal: We will be able to put these six books out into the world!

$10,000 - Author Advances: If we hit our stretch goal of $10,000, each of our authors will get a $500 advance.

$15,000 - Spelunky Figurines: We'll offer a special tier that bundles Season 2 subscriptions with 14 adorable Spelunky figurines.

$20,000 - Author Interviews: We'll conduct exclusive interviews with each of our Season Two authors and post them for free online.

$25,000 - Forewords: Each title will contain a short foreword by an established writer, game designer, translator, or artist.

$30,000 - Brick and Mortar: We'll work to create an easy way for independent bookstores to stock Boss Fight titles.

$40,000 - Print Edition of Continue? The Boss Fight Anthology: We'll plan a print run of our first multi-author anthology.

$45,429 - Demolish Season 1 Funding Record: We'll go back in time and slap our past selves in the face for thinking we ran the best Kickstarter campaign of our lives.

$50,000 - Nintendo Force Magazine: If we can hit $50,000, the awesome people at NF Magazine will give a full year's worth of digital back issues to everyone who backs us at $20 and up.

$55,000 - Work with New eBook Stores: Based on your feedback, we'll work to get our eBooks in the online store of your choice. (Nook, iTunes, etc.)

Rewards

This Kickstarter is a bit different than some in that we are reaching out to both old fans and new. In this campaign, we're offering:

  • A digital copy of Continue? The Boss Fight Anthology with every subscription.
  • Less time between the campaign and the first book of the season: We already have complete first drafts written of Metal Gear Solid, Baldur's Gate II, and Bible Adventures, and work on Spelunky and World of Warcraft is underway.
  • Cheaper international orders.
  • Big savings on Season One "Instant Subscription" tiers.

If you've been with Boss Fight since Season One, we hope you'll take this opportunity to renew your subscription. Your support will allow us to keep Boss Fight going another year, and you'll keep receiving each of our books before its public release.

If you're new to Boss Fight, we're glad you found us! You can subscribe to the new season, get an "Instant Subscription" to Season One, or pick up all of the above and save.

Get Social

Stay in touch by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook, and checking in often at bossfightbooks.com!

Risks and challenges

All of our authors are already hard at work on their books, and some titles may take more time than the author expected.

As with Season One, we won't know what game the fan-selected title will be about until the end of the campaign.

Our publication model ensures that as long as we meet our initial goal of $5,000, we can accommodate any volume of sales. And no matter what, we will keep our backers updated throughout the launching and printing of these titles.

Please be sure to check back in with us throughout the campaign for news, interviews, press, stretch goals, and updates.

Thank you so much for your support! Let's get these books out into the world.

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    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    VOTE! After you make your pledge, simply hit the "Comments" section and let us know what game you'd like to read a book about. The game that receives the most votes will become the subject of the next fan-selected Boss Fight title.

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    EARLY BACKER DIGITAL SPECIAL *** Digital eBook copy of the book of your choice, sent to you before the general release date. Available DRM-free as a MOBI, EPUB, and PDF. + A chance to VOTE.

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    TWO DIGITAL BOOKS *** Digital eBook copy of the two books of your choice, sent to you before the general release date. Available DRM-free as a MOBI, EPUB, and PDF. + A chance to VOTE.

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    EARLY BACKER PRINT SPECIAL *** Both a PRINT COPY and a DIGITAL COPY of the book of your choice, sent to you before the general release date. Includes shipping. (U.S.) + A chance to VOTE.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    SEASON ONE INSTANT DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION *** Digital downloadable copies of ALL SIX Season 1 titles: EarthBound, Chrono Trigger, ZZT, Galaga, Jagged Alliance 2, and Super Mario Bros. 2. We will send you all the books at once at the end of the Kickstarter campaign. You will receive each book DRM-free as a MOBI, EPUB, and PDF + A digital copy of The Boss Fight Books Anthology. + A chance to VOTE.

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    SEASON TWO DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION *** Digital downloadable copies of ALL SIX of our new titles: Baldur's Gate II, Metal Gear Solid, Bible Adventures, Spelunky, World of Warcraft, and the fan-selected 12th book! We will send you each book DRM-free as a MOBI, EPUB, and PDF before it is released to the public. + A digital copy of The Boss Fight Books Anthology. + A chance to VOTE.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    TWO PRINT BOOKS *** Both a PRINT COPY and a DIGITAL COPY of the two books of your choice, sent to you before the general release date. Includes shipping. (U.S.) + A chance to VOTE.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    ONE PRINT BOOK + SEASON TWO DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION: You pick which book you want a print copy of. Then get a digital subscription of ALL SIX Season Two books. We will send you each book DRM-free as a MOBI, EPUB, and PDF before it is released to the public. + A digital copy of The Boss Fight Books Anthology. + A chance to VOTE.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    DIGITAL SUPER-SUBSCRIPTION *** Digital downloadable copies of ALL TWELVE Boss Fight Books plus a digital copy of The Boss Fight Books Anthology, all DRM-free as a MOBI, EPUB, and PDF. We will send you Season 1 at the end of the Kickstarter campaign and each Season 2 title before it is released to the public. + A chance to VOTE.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SEASON ONE INSTANT PRINT SUBSCRIPTION *** As soon as the Kickstarter campaign is over, we will send you PRINT and DIGITAL copies of ALL SIX of our Season One titles: EarthBound, Chrono Trigger, ZZT, Galaga, Jagged Alliance 2, and Super Mario Bros. 2. Includes shipping. (U.S.) + A digital copy of The Boss Fight Books Anthology. + Thanks by name as a supporter on the WALL OF FAME on bossfightbooks.com. + A chance to VOTE.

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    GIVE ME ALL YOUR SPELUNKY AND NOBODY GETS HURT *** (This is just like the $200 SPELUNKY FIGURINES tier, but without the other books.) Both a PRINT COPY and a DIGITAL COPY of Spelunky by Derek Yu. + A complete set of all 14 collectible Spelunky Minis. Includes shipping. (U.S.) + A chance to VOTE.

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    SEASON TWO PRINT SUBSCRIPTION *** We will send you PRINT and DIGITAL copies of ALL SIX of our new titles: Baldur's Gate II, Metal Gear Solid, Bible Adventures, Spelunky, World of Warcraft, and the fan-selected 12th book! We will send you each book before it is released to the public. Includes shipping. (U.S.) + A digital copy of The Boss Fight Books Anthology. + Thanks by name as a supporter on the WALL OF FAME on bossfightbooks.com. + A chance to VOTE.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    PRINT SUPER-SUBSCRIPTION *** PRINT and DIGITAL copies of ALL TWELVE Boss Fight Books. We will send you Season One as soon as the Kickstarter campaign is over and each Season Two title before it is released to the public. Includes shipping. (U.S.) + A digital copy of The Boss Fight Books Anthology. + Thanks by name as a supporter on the WALL OF FAME on bossfightbooks.com. + A chance to VOTE.

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    SPELUNKY FIGURINES *** A complete set of all 14 collectible Spelunky Minis. + Your name on the SPECIAL THANKS page of each of our launch titles. + All rewards for SEASON TWO PRINT SUBSCRIPTION.

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    SIGNED COPY TIER *** Author-signed copy of the book of your choice. + Your name on the SPECIAL THANKS page of each of our Season Two titles. + All rewards listed under SEASON TWO PRINT SUBSCRIPTION.

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    GAMER PROFILE TIER *** One of our authors will do a profile on you, your gaming history, and your favorite games! We will publish the profile on bossfightbooks.com. + Your name on the SPECIAL THANKS page of each of our launch titles. + All rewards for SEASON TWO PRINT SUBSCRIPTION.

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    DINNER & GAMING TIER *** An evening of dinner and video games with 2-3 Boss Fight authors in Los Angeles, CA. (Must provide your own transportation.) + Your name on the SPECIAL THANKS page of each of our launch titles. + All rewards for SEASON TWO PRINT SUBSCRIPTION.

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Funding period

- (29 days)