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

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Taylor & Francis, Feb 22, 2008 - Computers - 443 pages
Dungeons and Desktops looks at the history of computer role-playing games (such as Ultima, The Bard's Tale, Pool of Radiance, Diablo, and The Elder Scrolls), and seeks to identify and wrestle with the genre's key issues. Should the player control a single character or a group of characters? Should the player create his own character(s)? How should the game translate abstract concepts like "experience" into numbers and statistics? Should a game "rail" the player into a coherent plot structure, or allow him to roam freely about the world? What will be the consequences of the player's actions; how does the game deal with good and evil? Which perspective is more immersive, first or third person? Throughout the years, developers have responded differently to these questions, and each game is a part of a more general conversation about how computers can serve as a medium for creative and engaging role-playing.

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User Review  - dmcolon - LibraryThing

I sometimes fancy myself as a geek/nerd/dork/whatever. But having read Dungeons and Desktops by Matt Barton, I realize what an amateur I am. This book chronicles just about every imaginable game that ... Read full review

About the author (2008)

Professor Matt Bartonis 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 Stacksproduces a weekly series of YouTube videos with Matt Barton which focus on classic games and vintage hardware.

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