Press Start to Play


You are standing in a room filled with books, faced with a difficult decision. Suddenly, one with a distinctive cover catches your eye. It is a groundbreaking anthology of short stories from award-winning writers and game-industry titans who have embarked on a quest to explore what happens when video games and science fiction collide. From text-based adventures to first-person shooters, dungeon crawlers to horror games, these twenty-six stories play with our notion of what video games can be—and what they can become—in smart and singular ways. With a foreword from Ernest Cline, bestselling author of Ready Player One, Press Start to Play includes work from: Daniel H. Wilson, Charles Yu, Hiroshi Sakurazaka, S.R. Mastrantone, Charlie Jane Anders, Holly Black, Seanan McGuire, Django Wexler, Nicole Feldringer, Chris Avellone, David Barr Kirtley,T.C. Boyle, Marc Laidlaw, Robin Wasserman, Micky Neilson, Cory Doctorow, Jessica Barber, Chris Kluwe, Marguerite K. Bennett, Rhianna Pratchett, Austin Grossman,  Yoon Ha Lee, Ken Liu, Catherynne M. Valente, Andy Weir, and Hugh Howey.

Your inventory includes keys, a cell phone, and a wallet. What would you like to do?


Praise for Press Start to Play

There are some fascinating takes on gaming in this short story collection. If you want some interesting, adult takes on aspects of your favorite hobby that you may never have thought of, this is worth picking up.

—Felicia Day

Even those who doubt the editors’ claim that “video games have come to play a vital role in modern human civilization” will be enthralled by these 26 stories exploring what video gaming does for and to its participants. […] Wilson and Adams have assembled a provocative assortment of thoughtful stories, making a valuable contribution to ongoing conversations about the future directions of video gaming.

—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

I’m hooked on John Joseph Adams’ short story anthologies. […] It’s a fantastic group of authors […] and the stories are as various and diverse as videogames themselves. […] If you like videogames and science fiction, you’ll find many stories here that will capture your imagination.


There are many good tales here and a couple of standouts […] Sci-fi fans will find it well worth their while.

—Kirkus Reviews

There’s plenty of variety in this volume, from outright comedy to deeply meaningful stories questioning the economics and ethics of games and the gaming industry. Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or an occasional dabbler, you’ll find much enjoyment and even some food for thought between these covers.


Press Start to Play did not disappoint. It was filled with video game related short stories, some of them horror, some science fiction, and some fantasy. Sometimes the video games would even converge with real life, and those were the ones that I ended up loving most, because they were creepy! This was also my first anthology read, and I have to say that I now absolutely love short stories. […] If you are a video game fan or love reading books about video games, this is the book for you. Press Start to Play is a new favorite that I will never stop recommending.

—Downright Dystopian

Press Start to Play makes me excited for the future of video game-related literature, and I think it’s a must-buy for fans of Ready Player One and video game stories.

—The Rumpus

One of the best anthologies published in 2015. […] Press Start to Play is highly recommended and comprised of so many brilliant tales, one cannot help but long for a second installment once unlocking the accomplishment of finishing this book.

—Eric J. Guignard