Mr. Cruickshank's been reading...

Persona 4: Official Design Works - Atlus

This was an interesting look 'behind-the-scenes' of one of my all-time favourite video games. The book documents the development of all the characters in the game and includes interviews with key members of the development team to illustrate their thoughts and feelings as time progressed. It also gives a fantastic insight as to the development process behind video games, including snippets of planning documents and timelines. Recommended for fans of video games!

Persona 3: Official Design Works - Atlus

Having read the Persona 4 equivalent, I was somewhat disappointed by this book. It didn't go into anywhere near as much depth as the other book, and only featured commentary from the then-head of Koei games, who wasn't actually involved in the 'day-to-day' development of the game. Read it if you're a fan of the game, otherwise, give this one a miss.
The Forth Bridge: A Picture History – Sheila MacKay

This book detailed the construction of the Forth Rail Bridge from it's beginnings as a crude hand-drawn document, through its opening in 1890, right up to the seemingly constant need for repainting.  The book has given me a renewed respect for the engineers of the age, especially as it's road counterpart has barely lasted 50 years before needing a replacement. It includes documents and quotes from people involved in the design and construction of the bridge, aswell as tributes from famous engineers of today. Well worth a read!
Grand Prix Battlegrounds – Christopher Hilton

As a Formula One nut, I was always going to like this book, so you may want to take this review with a pinch of salt. Grand Prix battlegrounds details the history of Grand Prix racetracks, from the first event at Silverstone back in 1950, right through to the ultra-modern, high-tech circuits of today. It also includes a section on 'dead tracks', circuits which have fallen into disrepair or those which are no longer used for racing. Of particular interest to me were the sections on the Monza oval and the old circuit at Hockenheim in Germany. Cannot recommend it enough to Formula One fans, however, general interest readers may find it heavy going in parts.

Tales of Xillia, Milla's Story – Namco Bandai & hu-ko

The Tales series is by far my favourite modern series of videogames, so when I learned that it had been turned into a comic series, I had to give it a read. Unfortunately, the comic follows the in-game storyline to the letter, so I was a little disappointed by it. Perhaps I was expecting too much, but I had hoped for more detailed storylines, or an epilogue of sorts. Though this was still a good read, it is aimed more at people who have not played the games before, rather than long-term fans like myself.

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