The Art of Computer Game Design
A book from 1982 that examines the art, science and philosophy of game creation at a time when the industry was new. It is particularly interesting when it examines classic arcade games familiar to all. From the introduction:
Games are a fundamental part of human existence. The parlance of games has insinuated itself into our language to refer to activities that are not truly games. We play along with activities we find distasteful. We play ball with those who require our cooperation. We play games when we are insincere. A willing participant is game for the enterprise. This broad penetration of gaming concepts into the entire spectrum of human experience presents us with two potential barriers to understanding games …
… Let us begin this endeavor by stepping back for a moment and taking our bearings. Let us take a brief tour of the universe of games, glancing briefly at each of the major regions. In the course of this tour I hope to refresh the reader’s memory of games and make some simple points before digging into the serious analysis of fundamental game characteristics. I perceive five major regions of games: board games, card games, athletic games, children’s games, and computer games.
The whole document is available to download as a PDF file here, and is also available for the Kindle from Amazon [US] here