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Current Topic: Games

From the Basement to the Basic Set: The Early Years of Dungeons & Dragons
Topic: Games 10:03 pm EDT, Jun 18, 2008

Thirty-one years after the invention of Dungeons & Dragons, the original role-playing game remains the most popular and financially successful brand in the adventure gaming industry.

This fact is so well established in the conventional wisdom of the adventure games industry that it's difficult to find adequate sourcing for the assertion, and it seems ridiculous to even try. In that time, D&D has introduced millions of readers to the concept of role-playing. Even those who eventually move on to other systems usually get their start with D&D. Most gamers' understanding of "what happens" in a role-playing game is therefore shaped by how D&D explains these concepts. An analysis of how D&D's manuals have explained the duties and roles of players throughout the game's many printings therefore offers a glimpse at the evolution of the role-playing form itself. If Dungeons & Dragons is the lingua franca of most role-playing gamers, its definition of the role-playing experience defines an important touchstone helpful for critical study of the role-playing phenomenon.

This article gives a broad overview of D&D in its first era, from its origins in the basements of two Midwest game designers to its evolution into a boxed set of simplified rules aimed at the mass market. By the end of this period, Dungeons & Dragons had entered the common consciousness of the American public, and all subsequent revisions (and there have been many) can accurately be described as variations on the original. But how did the original come to take form?

From the Basement to the Basic Set: The Early Years of Dungeons & Dragons

Fly Guy
Topic: Games 7:08 am EDT, Jun 12, 2008

You are the Fly Guy.


Fly Guy

New D&D Rolls a 20 for Playability
Topic: Games 6:25 am EDT, Jun  9, 2008

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition is going to change just about everything for the dice-rolling set.

New D&D Rolls a 20 for Playability

Rage against the machines
Topic: Games 8:15 am EDT, Jun  6, 2008

Modern video games mean big business, and big controversy. Yet most of the charges levelled against games—that they stunt minds and spark addiction—are based on an outdated understanding of what gamers do when they sit down to play

Rage against the machines

What Shall I Be? The Exciting Game of Career Girls
Topic: Games 9:51 am EDT, Apr 21, 2008

On a recent visit to an old friend's childhood home, Amie discovered a piece of board-gaming history, and I'm compelled to share it. Its mere existence fascinates the hell out of me...

It's called "What Shall I Be?", and I imagine that when the Bay Shore, NY-based Selchow & Righter Company sent it to toy store shelves in 1966 that they saw it as a progressive step. "Let's get our little American girls ready for the wide-open working world!".

What Shall I Be? The Exciting Game of Career Girls

Hate the Game, Not the Player
Topic: Games 7:08 am EDT, Apr  3, 2008

My experience was that it was very easy to stay under the radar of casinos if you didn’t feel the need to do any of that. Just play solo at the quarter tables, never spike your bet above 5:1, and play no more than one hour at casino before you move on to the next one. There are about 100 casinos in Vegas, so you can play ten hours per day every other weekend and only visit a given casino once every two or three months (for an hour each time). No pit boss will know who you are or care what you’re doing because you’re so far down in the noise. You can make a lot of money this way. Of course, nobody will ever know that you are taking them, and the emotional satisfaction arises from walking into this multi-billion dollar enterprise and walking out with their money because you’re smarter and more disciplined than they are. In a bizarre way, you succeed through classical bourgeois virtues: self-discipline, frugality, ego control and steady work.

Once you realize all this, of course, you figure out that you can make a lot more money in that giant casino called Wall Street.

Hate the Game, Not the Player

Dungeons and Desktops: The History of Computer Role-playing Games
Topic: Games 11:31 am EDT, Mar 29, 2008

Matt Barton:

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.

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

'Mind Gaming' Could Enter Market This Year
Topic: Games 6:59 am EDT, Mar 24, 2008

In an adapted version of the Harry Potter video game, players lift boulders and throw lightning bolts using only their minds. Just as physical movement changed the interface of gaming with Nintendo's Wii, the power of the mind may be the next big thing in video games.

'Mind Gaming' Could Enter Market This Year

Games, Storytelling, and Breaking the String
Topic: Games 6:59 am EDT, Mar 24, 2008

Before 1973, if you had said something like "games are a storytelling medium," just about anyone would have looked at you as if you were mad - and anyone knowledgeable about games would have assumed you knew nothing about them.

Before 1973, the world had essentially four game styles: classic board games, classic card games, mass-market commercial board games, and the board wargame. None of these had any noticeable connection to story: There is no story in chess, bridge, Monopoly, or Afrika Korps.

But in the early 1970s, two things happened: Will Crowther's computer game adventure Colossal Cave, and Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson's tabletop role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons.

Games, Storytelling, and Breaking the String

Gary Gygax, Game Pioneer, Dies at 69
Topic: Games 7:10 am EST, Mar  5, 2008

Gary Gygax, a pioneer of the imagination who transported a fantasy realm of wizards, goblins and elves onto millions of kitchen tables around the world through the game he helped create, Dungeons & Dragons, died Tuesday at his home in Lake Geneva, Wis. He was 69.

Gary Gygax, Game Pioneer, Dies at 69

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