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Matt Barton's picture

What's a CRPG? Some Thoughts on CRPG Genres

As you well know, I've been doing quite a bit of research into the CRPG, particularly the early years of their development. I just finished my "Golden Age" article that covers the years between 1985 and 1993, and I've been thinking more about what makes a "CRPG" a "CRPG," and how different developers have modified the concept over the years.

Matt Barton's picture

A Review of DynaMicro's The Dungeons of Daggorath (1982)

DynaMicro's Dungeons of Daggorath, released in 1982 for the Tandy CoCo, is one of the earliest examples of a first-person computer role-playing game. I recently had the chance to play this innovative title a few weeks ago as part of my research on the Tandy CoCo, and I must say that I'm impressed with the title--and can easily see why the game has managed to retain such a devoted cult following that's lasted nearly a quarter of a century. So, what makes the game so great? What I want to talk about here are three features--the immensity of the game world, the intensity of the action, and the creative use of sound. Although Tandy's CoCo arguably suffered from a rather dismal game library, DoD really stands out as a true classic.

Essentially, DoD is a game in the tradition of first-person "D&D" games in the vein of Richard Garriot's Akalabeth (1980, Apple II) and Sir-Tech's Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord (1981, Apple II). All three of these games focus on exploring 3-D wire-frame dungeons, killing monsters, and picking up various goodies along the way. The basic story behind DoD is of the usual ilk; an evil wizard has built his home deep in a monster-infested dungeon. A terrible curse has come upon the village, and the only way to lift it is for some foolhardy warrior to saunter down there and liquidate him.

Matt Barton's picture

Neverwinter Nights Platinum: Some Thoughts on CRPGs

Although I greatly enjoy playing adventure games and the occasional strategy game (Civilization IV being one of my favorites), the genre I always find myself returning to is the computer role-playing game. My fixation with the genre began at the tender age of 12 (or maybe 13), when I started playing the Bard's Tale series on the Commodore 64. If you remember, the first Bard's Tale is extremely difficult starting out. Fortunately, the cracked copy we had still had a saved game from whoever copied it, so I was able to play with high-level characters and thus get a better feel for what the game had to offer. However, it wasn't really until I got Pool of Radiance (the original SSI "gold box" game) that I really fell in love with the genre.

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