Dungeons & Desktops : The History of Computer Role-Playing Games Matt Barton - 2008

History of videogames (focused book)

Dungeons & Desktops : The History of Computer Role-Playing Games

Author(s) : Matt Barton
Editor : A K Peters
Publication date : 02-01-2008
Language : english English

This is an heavy-weight (450 pages) book dedicated to the history of computer role-playing games. The purpose of the book isn't to provide information about how the game were made (there is no developer interview here), but to picture a general overview of the role-playing game genre through a detailed presentation of the most influential titles. The book is organized in chronological order. Each chapter focuses on a selection of games coming from a specific era: the pen-and-paper role-playing game origins (Dungeons & Dragons, etc.), the first computer role-playing games (Dungeon, DnD, etc.), MUDs, "golden age" games from the 80's (Ultima, SSI's Goldbox series, Might & Magic, Wizardry, etc.), "platinum age" games from the 90's (Daggerfall, Baldur's Gate, Planescape Torment, etc.), as well as modern games such as MMORPGs (Meridian 59, Ultima Online, Everquest, World of Warcraft, etc.). While it remains pleasant and easy to read, the large scope and the richness of the descriptions is quite impressive in this book. We can feel that the author actually played, if not completed, every game he mentions. For each title, the author writes down a quick summary of the plot, alongside with an analysis of the main game mechanics. The book is indeed written in an analytical tone, as the author tries to step back from his selection of games to analyze how they influenced each other over time. Overall, it's a brilliant and captivating book. It also manages to communicate the vibrant passion of the author for the role-playing game genre.


Keywords : history, computer, role playing game, rpg, ultima, might & magic, goldbox, mud