Dungeons & Dreamers PDF – A Story of How Computer Games Created a Global Community by Brad King
In the beginning were the pencil, and graph paper, and the rattle of twenty-sided dice rolling against a tabletop.
To generations that have grown up associating games with screens, keyboards, and multi-buttoned controllers, this might sound as quaint as hand-cranked automobiles or phones with wires. But in truth the seeds of one of the world’s largest entertainment industries, as well as of some of the most vibrant cultures native to the new digital environment, lie here. From pencil, paper, and dice came digital swords and magic spells, chainguns and rocket launchers, clans and guilds, and, ultimately, rich virtual worlds filled with people who, in many cases, wanted to do nothing but talk.
This book is about the rise and maturation of computer game developers and communities of computer game players since the early 1970s. As the story opens in 1972, the arcade video game craze was just starting to build, driven by game designers and players at Atari and other smaller companies. But in the small Wisconsin town of Lake Geneva, a group of people was gathering who had no interest in playing games electronically, and saw no point in moving pixels around a screen. They were concerned instead with storytelling, and with the ability to play parts in each other’s stories. That desire and the Dungeons & Dragons game that resulted from it would over time have a profound impact on the development of computer games and their players’ communities.
It’s almost impossible to overstate D&D’s role in the rise of computer gaming. Scratch almost any game developer who worked between the late 1970s and the early 2000s, and you’re likely to find a vein of role-playing experience. Some of the biggest computer games have explicit roots in D&D. Richard Garriott’s landmark Ultima series was originally based directly on his high-school D&D games. The 1996 hit Quake was named after a character in the long-running games played by the developers at id Software, and the game was originally conceived as a medieval-themed role-playing game. Indeed, without D&D creators Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, the history of computer gaming communities would likely have taken a radically different path.