Book review: Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python

Already in its 4th edition, Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python is pretty close to the ultimate how-to-learn python book. First, it combines an easy ramp up from expecting you to know virtually nothing to having you try out – and understand – Python. Second, it provides the code, the tools, and the explanations required for you build a number of increasingly sophisticated games and the know-how to branch out to creating games completely on your own.


If you're not convinced, take it from me -- just making it to the 4th edition is a sign of a seriously good book.


Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python should appeal to three types of readers – those looking to learn to program, those who want to get started with the process of building games, and those who want to do both. If you're already a seasoned Python programmer, you'll probably glide through some of the early material, but you're likely to learn a lot of new programming “tricks” and have a lot of fun as you move further through the book


It's a great introduction to Python and a great introduction to building fairly simple but interesting games. The author's not just a talented coder, but a Python maestro. And his programming techniques provide good lessons on how to approach programming tasks.


It provides extremely good explanations of how code works generally and for specific example programs. And, as a plus, you can download and run all of the code (or type it in if you're anal) and the book tells you everything you need to do that – including how to install Python itself and the pygame module that's required for some of the later games, and how to load and run (i.e., play) the games.


Instructions for installing the pygame module are included in the book's resources that you can download from no starch press. Go to and look for “Download the book's resources”. Along wit the code for all of the games, you will find instructions for installing pygame (needed for some games) with these links:

I did run into a couple of very small discrepancies while setting up and running my first games, and they've already been listed on the updates page:


Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python is an excellent book on Python, on programming, and on coding techniques for building games – appropriate for pre-teens to adults. You're not going to build the next Minecraft, but you're bound to enjoy getting started with your game-making adventures. And what better motivation can you have to learn a new language than the promise of having a little fun in the process?

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