Computer role-playing games (CRPGs) are a special genre of computer games that bring the tabletop role-playing experience of games such as Dungeons & Dragons to the computer screen. This genre includes classics such as Ultima and The Bard’s Tale as well as more modern games such as World of Warcraft and Guild Wars. Written in an engaging style for both the computer game enthusiast and the more casual computer game player, this book explores the history of the genre by telling the stories of the developers, games, and gamers who created it.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – Intro to Computer Role Playing Chapter 2 – Origins Chapter 3 – The Dark AgeChapter 4 – The Bronze Agee Chapter 5 – The Silver Age Chapter 6 – The Early Golden AgeChapter 7 – The Golden Age, Part I Chapter 8 – The Goleden Age, Part II Chapter 9 – The Bigger They ComeeChapter 10 –The Platimun Age Chapter 11 – The Modern Age Chapter 12 – Indies and Mobile CRPGs Chapter 13 – The Future of a Genre
Professor Matt Barton is a professor of English at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where he specializes in writing and new media. He is a co-founder of the award-winning website Armchair Arcade and the author of scholarly and popular articles on games and writing.
Shane Stacks produces a weekly series of YouTube videos with Matt Barton which focus on classic games and vintage hardware.
Featured Author Profiles
" phenomenal, first-class job. Dungeons and Desktops is so insightful and thorough, it is a must-read for all RPG fans, and every RPG designer. Don’t miss it!” -February 2008
""Dungeons & Desktops: The History of Computer Role-Playing games is an incredible tour-de-force of a recreational industry."" -The Midwest Book Review, April 2008
""In a Gamasutra holiday bonus feature extracted from his new 'Dungeons & Desktops' book, author Matt Barton looks at 'The Silver Age' of role-playing games, from Richard Garriott's Ultima I through Sir-Tech's Wizardry and beyond."" -www.gamasutra.com, May 2008
""...this is not a casual book - it's a very serious treatment of the genre ... Barton writes very well, as his language is neither pretentious nor dim-witted. He clearly loves his subject and does an excellent job of sharing his enthusiasm and insights with his readers. A real pleasure to read. "" -www.amazon.com - by Michael E. Strupp, May 2008
role-playing games have moved the traditional board game to the desktop, and includes a cast of popular games: while many books cover rules and playing, few provide the essential overall history of the genre's development and evolutionary process. DUNGEONS AND DESKTOPS: THE HISTORY OF COMPUTER ROLE-PLAYING GAMES surveys not only game development and milestones, but issues affecting the industry and playing computer role-playing games. From how players create and interact with characters to the ethics of good and evil in gameplaying, DUNGEONS AND DESKTOPS is an outstanding choice for any high school to college-level collection catering to computer gaming fans."" -California Bookwatch, August 2008
""This . . . is not a programming manual, although the content is just as useful to the budding games programmer. . . . Dungeons & Desktops is a good reference and insight into the thoughts and implementations—both successful and not so successful—of some of the biggest and most resilient game designers, creators and publishers."" -The Game Creators Newsletter , September 2008
Dungeons and Desktops: The History of Computer Role-playing Games chronicles the rise and fall of the Computer RPG industry, from Akalabeth to Zelda and everything in between. While the bulk of the book is devoted to the genre's 'Golden Age' in the late '80s and early '90s, author Matt Barton explores the entire history of CRPGs, from their origins in the mid '70s to the very recent past. While not entirely comprehensive, the book covers not only the major players and award-winners, but also dozens of obscure 'also-ran' as well as notable games in related genres. ... [T]he book is well worth picking up if you're a fan of CRPGs or fantasy games in general. -Michael Fiegel, Slashdot, July 2008
Listen to an interview with Matt Barton on a Phoenix radio show about games. -ChatterBox Video Game Radio, September 2008
""Without doubt, gamers will appreciate the game comparisons and the enormous detail Barton offers (especially if they are familiar with the games in question), as well as the quotations from famous (worshipped?) game designers. 'Older' gamers—those in their thirties—will hugely enjoy the nostalgic trip on which Dungeons & Desktops takes them .... Scholars and gamers alike, who might be interested in reviewing/analysing/playing earlier games, especially for the first time, will find the book an absolutely invaluable resource for sorting through what would be most productive and/or enjoyable. Hardcore CRPGers, of course, will love the book through and through. ... [Barton's] love of games and gaming is made apparent throughout the text, a quality of his writing much appreciated, at least by this reader. His credibility as a gamer is, ultimately, unquestionable."" -Matthew S. S. Johnson, Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds , December 2008"