Like any well-written history book, Dungeons & Dreamers captures your attention from the very beginning. For those of us who are older and remember a time before video games were a major source of entertainment, this book is like going home again. It firmly establishes its roots in tabletop gaming and taking the reader through a step-by-step transformation to the wondrous gaming networks we have today. And if it stopped there, this would still have been a labor of love that justified the long hours spent researching and interviewing. But it’s more than that, it’s an exceptionally detailed accounting of the work of several pioneers in the video gaming industry.
Modern gaming owes much of its entertainment and viability to early roleplaying gamers like Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, who adapted other tabletop games into a more detail rich experience, allowing the player to move about in an unfettered landscape. Many people would come later on that would embrace this concept and take it to the next level. Richard Garriott was one of the first to act upon this, creating a multitude of text based games that eventually led to his massive multiplayer game, Ultima (and its sequels).
You read that correctly, it’s been four decades since Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson created what is arguably the greatest of all role-playing games, Dungeons & Dragons. Originally produced by TSR (Tactical Studies Rules, Inc.), the franchise was acquired by Wizards of the Coast in 1997. Both companies produced a wide variety of materials to supplement the game system, including pre-made modules, novels, trading card games, and much, much more. There are many different editions and the standard rules have changed much over the years, but throughout it all there is one common theme: fun. Because seriously, if it wasn’t fun, then why would we still be playing it 40 years later?