From Publishers Weekly
King and Borland's crisp study of computer game specialists reads like a screenplay and would make ideal film material. The authors offer an intriguing protagonist in Richard Garriott, who overcame disapproval from his astronaut father and the lonely isolation of being a geek to produce the Ultima Online series. Vowing to create dungeon worlds as rich and frightening as Tolkien's, Garriott went into business with his brother and pursued his goal through lean years and unsatisfying corporate alliances. The authors, both journalists, also profile other colorful characters, such as Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw, creators of the first MUD (multiple-user dungeon), a place where gamers could meet online; John Carmack and John Romero, creators of Doom ("the ultimate visceral experience of kill-or-be-killed"); and Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, Dungeons & Dragons' masterminds. King and Borland cover dramatic events, including attacks by conservative Christians, who felt Dungeons & Dragons was satanic and encouraged worship of the occult, violent behavior and suicide. Equally involving is the gaming world's exclusion and harassment of women until such rebels as college student Vangie Beal formed a women's gaming network called PMS (the Psycho Men Slayers). Garriott comes across as an inspiring figure when he introduces a system of ethics and morals into the games, stressing honesty, compassion, values, justice, sacrifice, honor, spirituality and humility. Even non-tech-inclined readers will be intrigued by the sense of community King and Borland describe, and their epilogue image of Garriott living in a castle, complete with moat, will delight fantasy lovers.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Back Cover
"Dungeons and Dreamers has the best attributes of the sometimes geeky computer culture it chronicles: compassion, humor, and computer-like accuracy. Anyone interested in the history of computer gaming should read this book." --Lisa Mason, Game Informer Magazine
"If you've read King and Borland in Wired and CNET, you don't need convincing. If you haven't, buy this book. Read it, visit their blog for daily infusions, and thank me later. --Brad Hill, The Digital Songstream
"Gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry. How it became one is possibly the biggest business story of our day." --Richard A. Martin, Complex Magazine
From the dreamers who created the medium to the players who make it a worldwide phenomenon, witness computer games' laser-beam rise from blips on university computer science program screens to their pervasive presence in our everyday lives. Inside, you'll meet the creators, the crusaders, and the celebrity players, including:
- Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, masterminds behind Dungeons & Dragons--the role-playing game that inspired generations of computer game developers
- Willie Crowther and Don Woods, creators of the early text-based computer role-playing game Adventure, which eventually became Zork!
- Richard Garriott, whose popular series of Ultima games eventually spawned the massively multiplayer online world, Ultima Online
- Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw, creators of the first MUD, a place where gamers could meet online and go adventuring in a shared world
- John Carmack and John Romero, the programming geniuses who created DOOM!, the ultimate visceral experience of kill-or-be-killed
- "Thresh," whose deathmatch skills were so great he won Carmack's Ferrari and earned a front-page profile in The Wall Street Journal
- Henry Jenkins, the media critic who found himself unexpectedly defending such violent games as Mortal Kombat before a Senate subcommittee
Dungeons and Dreamers weaves together threads of influence from Gary Gygax's Dungeons & Dragons and Richard Garriott's Ultima through John Carmack and John Romero's DOOM and beyond. The story of computer gaming's early days stretches from California's balmy shores through the hill country of Texas to a sleepy little town in the south of England. It is the ultimate "revenge of the nerds" tale in which D&D players, Society for Creative Anachronism aficionados, science fiction fans, and young computer programmers come together to produce a multi-billion-dollar industry that merges with the burgeoning telecommunications industry and the Internet boom of the 1990s to explode into a mass-market phenomenon.
Former Wired correspondent Brad King and CNET writer John Borland take you on an all-access tour of the wild, weird, wonderful world of PC gamers. Learn why violence seems to be inherent in computer gaming, why the medium attracts mostly men, and why the violence sometimes spills over into reality, as it did at Columbine. Explore how the face of the average gamer is changing with deathmatch teams such as PMS--Psycho Men Slayers--the first all-female Quake clan, as well as the women who use Quake templates to create online sex parlors. Go inside the increasingly popular LAN parties, where gamers spend sleepless weekends in the dark glued to glowing monitors, as well as Internet gaming parlors--also called PC Bangs--that are sprouting like mushrooms along the West Coast. Visit the EverQuest Fan Faires where role-playing gamers come full circle and actually meet in person.
Electronic games have become so culturally pervasive that they influence the way we perceive the world. Dungeons and Dreamers serves up a slice of the origins of today's computer game culture and gives us a sense of the amazing realms into which it may be heading.