Book Review

Moon Reads: The Art of Bioshock Infinite

The Art Of Bioshock Infinite by Ken Levine and Nate Wells

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

Read before: No, but I have played the game several times before.

Ownership: Ordered through Abe Books as you can only get the German version here for some reason

Spoiler free review: No, art of books are all about the game the art is of, so spoilers may be included.

Bioshock as a series of games is one of my favourite comfort games (yes, I know it is not actually a sweet fun game) and the pushing the boundaries and asking but what if this was taken to the extreme with DNA modification and in this particular period of time, what would happen?

Which is part of the interesting part because the Art of Bioshock Infinite explores what could have happened if America had gone more religiously extreme and designated themselves and whiteness as better than others. On top of that it adds the theory of multiple universes and it was great to have a good AI character to help you through your journey.

The book has a lot of the “we knew we wanted to explore this topic, so we tried so many iterations of this and then figure we liked some parts of it and not others or had to redo some other parts”. For example, the concpet of Songbird was initially too close to another Big Daddy and you get sketches of it or way too far away mythical mechanical feel creatures that when you look at the game did not fit as well.

I always enjoy seeing some of the things that didn’t make it into the game and how they coloured the final product, for example the scene below of Elizabeth’s room gives that idea of her being a dreamer and wanting more, and how that ties to her innocence and loss of it throughout the game.

Overall, it was worth trying to get the book from the US as a version here is too expensive or only in German unsure why), but realising it was hard to get meant I ahve started prioritising Art Of books more now.

Recommended for fans of Bioshock, and for those that like Art Of books or if the topic suits your drawing isnpiration style.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Art of Concrete Genie

The Art of Concrete Genie by Pixelopus

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought for myself.

Spoiler free review: Yes

Concrete Genie is a very underrated game that is probably one of the games that own the PS4 motion sensors of the controller. I absolutely loved it, it did take me a while to get used to the controls but once I did, I was hooked and didn’t want the game to end because it was so good.

But this isn’t a review of the game, that is to come, instead, I found that there was an art of book and HAD to buy it. The whole premise of Concrete Genie is that our main hero slowly brings back the town by drawing and creating “genies” in the concrete and clearing the bad graffiti and bad stuff from the town with them. Basically, the make something ugly pretty premise with a sweet story. So a book for that, yes, please!

And the book doesn’t disappoint, it is crammed full of the concepts and explanations of the details they wanted to include for each character, the concepts for the town and different areas, and many other things. For example, you get an idea into how Luna, the main genie that starts the genie thing, developed as a concept and why they chose the version of Luna you get in-game.

Overall it is the perfect kind of Art of book, with commentary, conceptual art, discussions of it, and art that influenced the final game, alongside little extras that didn’t make it into, but that would have been fun or something and yet don’t make it any less.

Recommended for gamers, if you are interested int he game but don’t want to play it, or if you like the concpet of saving a town and remaking it with beautiful art and art genies. Or you just enjoy Art Of books.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Horizon Zero Dawn The Sunhawk

Horizon Zero Dawn – The Sunhawk by Anne Toole, Ann Maulina, Bryan Valenza and Jim Campbell

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Ok, when I found out that there was a Horizon Zero Dawn comic, I preordered the hell out of it. So much I have all individual issues in at least 3 different versions of the cover, plus this one and the Forbidden Planet edition of the full volume. I genuinely love the game and have played it many times, so this was a natural add on to my shelves.

But what about the actual story?

It is very exciting and makes me want the Forbidden West game to come out today or as soon as I started reading the comics. I fully appreciate getting a comic while we wait which like an appetiser of what is to come.

Mostly it is a story about Talanah going on a mission/quest to hunt a new machine that looks dangerous and the slight scrapes and adventures she gets into. We also meet a few other characters that I suspect will show in-game and I can’t wait to play it! It is also nice to see a comic and the drawings of the machines and the adventures plus new areas. And it makes me want to draw some fanart and replay the main game. You definitely get less Aloy in it but I liked the focus on Talanah and how she’s faring being the Sunhawk of the Hunter’s Lodge, since the game will still focus on Aloy.

Overall, I recommend it for fans of the game and series and if you can’t wait to play the second game, you should totally read this.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Art of Ghost of Tsushima

The Art of Ghost of Tsushima

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I ended ordering The Art of Ghost of Tsushima after realising that books of this kind for older games had sold out and I was desperately trying to find them. I have many reasons to buy an Art of book, but for hte most part is to see what is conceptual art, what was promotional, what ideas where bounced around and a few other details that you don’t see in the game or film.

The other reason I buy them is for reference, as sometimes I want to study the artwork, style or motifs and other I want to make fanart. So this would be a great encyclopaedia for drawing Jin and company.

The game has blow you away stunning visuals and as you can see from my chosen flat lay of the book, you can find the same alongside more details on clothing and character design and scenery. Honestly I just went page by page through it thinking that I’d love to just transplant myself to the scenery but preferably without the drama. Don’t want to be fighting mongols in real life thank you very much.

So, if you like game art and conceptual art or Japan or are intrigued by the artwork from it, this ia good book, the quality is stunning, presentation also wonderful. No faults from me except that I would like more pages and more art for the book.

Wrap-ups and Tags

The Gamer Tag

I just discovered this over on A Reading Brit and had to do it. Gaming is a huge part of me (as is reading) so this was a perfect tag to try out.


Aloy fights off a Corruptor, drawn by me

1. What is your all-time favourite video game?

I don’t like favourite questions. I can’t pick one. My favourite video game for “it is a work of art” is defnitely Child of Light. My favourite “I spent my childhood on this” is Jazz Jack Rabbit 2, Duke Nukem 2 and Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego? (yes, I have aged myself, haven’t I? I played all of them on Windows PCs…). My favourite “comfort game (think comfort blanket but game)” is Bioshock series and Alice Madness Returns.

2. What is your current favourite video game?

Still difficult to choose. “I am too tired to do anything but don’t want to sleep yet” is Let’s Go Eevee. Mindless open world wandering is Skyrim and Dragon Age. I love Dishonored series and adore Prey (the Bethesda new one, not the old one). I also love Fire Emblem series as a comfort game.

3. What is your favourite video game genre?

Semi open world first person shooters (?). Think Fallout 3, New Vegas, 4 and 76 (but not Multiplayer I suck at multiplayer) Or Bioshock series, or Horizon Zero Dawn, or Prey or anything Bethesda brings out.
Strategy RPG (Fire Emblem only, Final Fantasy drives me nuts somehow despite being initially very similar). and a little of JRPG (Child of Light)

4. How long have you been playing video games?

Very young. My dad was computer crazy (at a time you could build a PC from a weekly magazine…) and he would let us play games. I remember playing Chip’s Challenge. And Mine sweeper and Pinball…

5. What’s the first game you ever played?

Apparently I replied early to this question. Probably Chip’s, or Carmen San Diego.

6. What game have you clocked the most hours into?

Bioshock series and Fallout series.

7. What’s your longest gaming session?

Not sure. I used to game longer during a difficult time in my life, most of the day. But now I play less and divide hours more.

8. Who is your favourite game developer?

Bethesda, specifically Arkane. And I loved Ken Levine and American McGee as game masterminds

9. Who is your favourite hero character from a game?

Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn. She’s such a personality. I also have a soft spot for Link who keeps getting called Zelda 😛

10. Who is your favourite villain?

The Typhon. (Prey)

11. Who is your most hated character of any game?

I am not entirely sure. I really hated Fontaine from Bioshock series. But do you mean playable character or Ai character? Those are harder to choose which one I hate… I love/hate any Assasin’s Creed main character (but the first two were the worst) because they would easily fall down and commit suicide or break cover with a tiny movement from the controller. It drove me mad.

12. What gaming systems do you own?

PC (custom). PS4, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS Lite, DS and 3DS, Switch, Wii (old one). I also play on my phone.

13. What was your first game system?

Not counting PC. The first I played was Atari, then Nintendo 64. First owned was Nintendo DS Lite. (I always had friends/neighbours who had a console and we would play at theirs, until I got older).

14. What’s your favourite gaming system and why?

I love PC as it usually has all games I want and I can just plug a controller or play with keyboard-mouse, and enjoy PS4 a lot (it is my main gaming console at the moment). Recently the Switch has been winning me over with how portable and versatile it is.

15. Do you prefer to play male characters or female characters?

If given the choice I usually choose female. But if the game has a male character only I don’t mind. For example, Dishonored only lets you play Corvo (male), but Dishonored 2 let’s you play him or Emily (female). I have played both, and prefer Emily mostly because she has new powers that differ over Corvo’s.

16. Do you follow walkthroughs, or do you play through on your own?

I try to play on my own, but if I have spent ages trying to figure something out and I just can’t crack it, then I will look that part up. I like walkthroughs mostly for the “trophies” part (I am a sucker for trophies/achievements, I will replay games until I get as many as I can without being too frustrated by it).

17. Have you ever been to a gaming convention?

No. I would love to attend E3 but it is too far.

18. What game are you most excited to come out in the future?

CONTROL.

19. What’s your best memory of a video game?

One of my favourite things is that I went off videogames for a little bit and my little sister found American McGee’s Alice (the first Alice game he did) and she convinced me to play. I was SO bad at it. But she would coach me through it. And when Alice Madness Returns came out I was in the US so I bought it for her. In my head it was her game. I moved away and ended up playing it and beating it before her, which was a shock to me, but a fun memory because it felt like beating the master.

20. What’s your worst memory of a video game?

I do not want to remember those. But funny worst are the glitches that happen in some games 😛

21. Which video game character do you see yourself as, or if you had to be represented by a video game character, who would it be?

I would probably be a female Morgan (Prey). I would love to say I am an Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn), but I am more Elisabeth Sobeck (don’t google if you intend to play this game, it is a spoiler to find out who she is) than Aloy.


I tag Justine, Asha, Lauren and Lilly-Beth plus anybody else that wants to do this!