Our annual gift guides for geeks and gamers are back for the 2016 holiday season. In this installment, check out gift ideas across a wide spectrum of hardcover art and coffee table books. Stay tuned for ongoing updates and gift ideas throughout the holiday season!
Check out our other gift guides at these links:
– VGBlogger’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guides for Geeks & Gamers: Hardware and Peripherals
– VGBlogger’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guides for Geeks & Gamers: Comics, Novels, Story and Activity Books
– VGBlogger’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guides for Geeks & Gamers: Toys, Collectibles, Stocking Stuffers & Beyond
The Art of Deus Ex Universe — Buy From Amazon:
Beginning with a wonderful torch-passing introduction by original creator Warren Spector, The Art of Deus Ex Universe provides an in-depth exploration through the artistic vision behind Eidos-Montreal’s Deus Ex universe, including artwork from both Human Revolution as well as its new sequel Mankind Divided. Deus Ex’s callbacks to Icarus and Minotaur mythologies, themes of futurist realism and transhumanism, and overall cyberpunk Renaissance aesthetic leap off of every single page, encapsulating all of the key characters and environments from the modern series starring Adam Jensen. Jensen’s conceptualization is of particular interest, a process that took two years on its own as the designers took the augmented hero through early phases lovingly referred to as “Douchebag Adam” and “Pinocchio Adam” before the final character was realized. Companion gift this book with a copy of the game (or copies of both games), and you’ll have one happy gamer to say “you’re welcome” to come Christmas morning.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: The Official Art Book — Buy From Amazon:
First released last year alongside the Xbox One exclusive launch, Titan Books’ art book for Rise of the Tomb Raider, sequel to 2013’s series reboot, is worth a re-mention this year for PC and PS4 newcomers to this tomb raiding party. The Crystal Dynamics art team has done such a remarkable job reinventing Lara Croft, and you get to witness the process of that evolution–from survivor to true tomb raider–within these 192 pages of character and equipment concepts, paintings of Siberian wildlife and other environments, and challenge tomb designs.
The Art of Titanfall 2 — Buy From Amazon:
Two years worth of artwork from Respawn’s creative team is compiled in this hardcover art book for Titanfall 2. Developer commentary accompanies concepts and mechanical sketches for all of the different Titans, pilots, weapons, tech, map locations, logos, insignias, and patches. There’s evil a neat section at the end in which Art Director Joel Emslie shares photos of some of his homemade kitbashed maquette models used as 3D reference points early in the design process. This section is only a few pages, but it’s the highlight of the whole book if you ask me.
StarTalk: Everything You Ever Need to Know About Space Travel, Sci-Fi, the Human Race, the Universe, and Beyond — Buy From Amazon:
Pop culture and sci-fi collide over 300 pages of hardcore science presented in a way that’s charming and approachable yet still thoroughly detailed and accurate and informed by real science. Astrophysicist icon Neil deGrasse Tyson does a splendid job of teaching crazy theories and complex topics so that you think about science in a new and enlightened way that also happens to be a whole lot more fun than learning the subject in the classroom. The book tackles pretty much everything, from serious topics like climate change, evolution, space travel, multiverse theory, science and religion, to lighter fare like whether or not zombies could exist, the physics and science behind superheroes, the accuracy of sci-fi movies, and answering the age old question of if women get aroused by porn. Sidebars accompany the body text with celebrity quotes, did-you-know facts, cocktail recipes, and tweets. This hardcover companion book to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s National Geographic TV show is the perfect gift for any science geek.
The Art of Tom Clancy’s The Division — Buy From Amazon:
“With The Art of Tom Clancy’s The Division, Titan Books yet again does a wonderful job of pulling gamers behind the scenes for a look at the painstaking creative process that goes into conceptualizing today’s blockbuster titles. The high-end production paintings combined with the thorough developer commentary brings a greater appreciation for The Division‘s rich depth of detail and visual sense of disorder and wonderment.” Read our full review here.
“Compiling Sideshow Collectibles‘ broad spectrum of busts, figures, and statues, Capturing Archetypes Volume 2 is a premium art book that celebrates the too often forgotten art of sculpture, its 192 pages overflowing with glossy, hi-res images of figures hailing from comics, movies, video games, and other pop culture precincts.” Read our full review here.
“The Art of XCOM 2 is another world class video game art book from Insight Edition, publishers of other recent coffee-table standouts from last year like Assassin’s Creed: The Complete Visual History and The Art of Halo 5: Guardians. (Don’t forget about the XCOM 2: Resurrection prequel novel either.) As a game and universe, I wouldn’t say that XCOM has a particularly unique or original art style–i.e. I don’t look at the art and immediately say, “Hey, that’s XCOM!”–but the work the Firaxis art team put into realizing the game’s visual identity certainly is to be respected and admired. XCOM fans and general appreciators of sci-fi art are in for a treat.” Read our full review here.
“Fable Legends is no more, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a moment to admire and appreciate the gorgeous artwork (and the years of hard work) that went into its conceptualization. Artistically speaking, Lionhead really did a spectacular job realizing the fairytale fantasy world of Albion that was to be depicted in Fable Legends. It’s just too bad the masses will never get the chance to experience it as a playable game.” Read our full review here.
The Little Prince: The Art of the Movie — Buy From Amazon:
“Anyone with an interest in animation and how movies are made absolutely needs to have this art book in their library. Anyone who simply likes to look at beautiful things can’t go wrong either. It’s both fascinating and inspiring to read about the movie-magic tricks that were used to bring texture, lighting, effects, and different styles of movement to the stop-motion sequences, and to see the process of how a single scene comes together, from painting, to storyboard, to color script, to final render, right before your eyes. The care and passion that went into bringing The Little Prince from book to the Hollywood stage jumps off of every page. If the art book is an accurate indication, moviegoers are in for a marvelous treat.” Read our full review here.
“Though strong in the Force, The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens doesn’t need to rely on any Jedi mind tricks to convince anyone of its pristine quality. Star Wars fans and sci-fi movie buffs are sure to geek out over the bountiful collection of conceptual paintings and illustrations highlighting the epic spaceship battles and Jedi lightsaber duels, gorgeous outer-space vistas, and distinct alien, droid, and vehicle designs the series is known for.” Read our full review here.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary and Incredible Cross-Sections — Buy From Amazon:
“DK’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens visual guides may be small in page count–the Visual Dictionary is 80 pages, while Incredible Cross-Sections doesn’t even crack 50 pages–but their oversized hardcover formatting and excellent image quality serve up fan service in a larger than life fashion that fully captures the sheer breadth and density of the Star Wars universe. Better yet, both are damn near bargain-bin cheap, listed at $19.99 but readily available from Amazon and other online retailers for even less than that. Do yourself a favor, Star Wars fans, and add these bookshelf beauties to your collection.” Read our full review here.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Art Book and Tech Manual — Buy From Amazon:
“The Art of the Film, a 12“ x 9“ landscaped art book that pulls back the mask on director Zack Snyder’s vision for the DC Universe, merging a decidedly different take on Batman from the Nolan trilogy with the aesthetical tone already established by the previous Superman film, Man of Steel. Interview commentary from Snyder, other key members of the creative and production teams, as well as most of the cast–including Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons (aka ‘Jermemy,’ as a glaring typo on one page calls him), Holly Hunter, and Harry Lennix–accompany an assortment of concept art, pencil sketches, posed actor photos, movie stills, production photos from the set and behind the scenes, and Snyder’s own storyboards.” Read our full review here.
Star Wars: The Original Topps Trading Card Series — Buy From Amazon:
“Abrams did a phenomenal job with the collectible packaging and presentation. For starters, each book includes a bonus pack of four physical trading cards, which is a really neat touch. The nostalgia is kicked further into hyperdrive by the dustjackets that mimic the wax paper and foil packaging of the original trading card series while simultaneously hiding the sticks of pink gum that are printed directly on the front and back hardcovers. Little flourishes like that only help to heighten the collector’s appeal.” Read our full review here.