Matt Barton’s outstanding history of computer role-playing games is now out in a second edition. I haven’t read the whole thing yet (it’s HUGE), but the last ten years have brought about some enormous changes and tons of new games to the genre. This is kind of funny to me, as Matt had kind of closed the previous edition on a down note, thinking the era of quality single-player RPGs had come to a close.
Oh, Matt… The indies, the kickstarters, all that was only beginning to hit its stride. He admits to the failure of his crystal ball and rectifies things with a vengeance in this new edition, featuring a lot more content, color screenshots, and a lot more colorful commentary. (And to be fair… in some small ways, he has had his own influence over recent developments. So he’s been helping to make the history he’s recording… )
Oh, and Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon has a mention in the appendix. Yay, I’m in the history books! Well, a history book. THE history book.
Besides the new material, the original book has been revised and refreshed. I haven’t compared all the changes yet, but like the original it covers the origins and “evolution” (I hate that term, but … such as it is) of the genre. Aside from the dice-and-paper origins, it also goes back into the early mists of history, uncovering the ancient predecessors of modern games as they existed on university mainframes in the 1970s (and were frequently deleted by administrators, making this a very challenging area of research). Matt traces the different styles and influences through almost fifty years of history, maintaining both objectivity as well as letting his absolute love of the subject matter show through.
Matt has always had an entertaining writing style, but the assistance of Shane Stacks and the additional commentary throughout has made this *anything* but a dry read. After all, it deals with an obsessively fun style of game, so it ought to be a fun read, right? Mission accomplished!
Yeah, this is not a cheap tome, but it is well worth it IMO. You can grab it from Amazon at this link, and probably other fine book dealers.
Original URL: http://rampantgames.com/blog/?p=12228