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Barton’s D&D

• Intro & Origins of CRPG

• Dark Age
• Bronze Age
• Silver Age
• Early Golden Age
• Golden Age (I & II)
• Platinum Age
• Modern Age
• Future
Rob Use "Rob" (Baltimore, MD)

“I would hesitate to call this book a history

of CRPGs - a chronology would be more
appropriate. Barton is comprehensive -
every major CRPG from the inception of
the computer is covered, but as another
reviewer pointed out it is more of a
collection of review summaries - I would
liken it to Maltin's capsule reviews of
By Sazan Aisu "3x3eyes"

(London (UK) + Melbourne (Aus))

“Wow! What a comprehensive book. The

book consists of several sections covering
the history of computer RPGs. It starts
with the origins, and goes into the bronze
age, silver age, early golden age, golden
age and onward into the platinum age and
the modern era.”
What is it?
“The only common factor that stretches across
the entire span of CRPGs is the statistical
system that determines how characters fare in
combat (or whatever other tasks they are asked
to perform). Unlike an adventure game, where
tasks are always and forever solved by entering
the correct commands (or performing the right
sequence of tasks), there is always a random
element to the outcome in a CRPG.”

(p. 5)
The “Torch” principle

(p. 4)
• Baseball Sims
• Tabletop Games
– Wargames
– RPG’s
• Colossal Cave Adventure
• Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs)
• Interactive Fiction (IFs)
The Dark Age
• The 1970’s
• The “text” game
• PLATO games
• ‘Rogue’ and ‘Roguelikes’
• MUDs
• Graphical MUDs

*Text games opened the door for CRPG

The Bronze Age
• 1977
• Apple II, TRS-80, Commodore PET
• Private “hobbyists”
• “Wizard’s Castle” p. 49
• “Eamon” p. 50
• “Akalabeth” p. 59

*Games moved from text to graphics slowly and

painfully but in ways that made sense!
The Silver Age
• 1981
• Ultima p. 64
• Apshai
• Wizardry p. 70
• Telengard p. 77

*Games evolved in complexity before they evolved graphically in

ways such as: multiple characters, dynamic levels, party and
player options, etc. - But perhaps more significantly, they can be
Early Golden Age
• 1985
• Mainframes revisited and classics remade (Ultima for example)
• Expedition Amazon p. 90
• Tales of the Unknown:
– Bard’s Tale p. 93
– The Destiny Knight p. 95
– Thief of Fate p. 96
• Centauri Alliance p. 97
• Neverwinter Nights “Gold Box” p. 160
• And MANY others…

* An explosion of innovation and diversity with hundereds of titles and a

great deal of experimentation.
Late Golden Age
• 1987(ish)
• Zelda Series
• Dragon Warrior Series
• “Final” Fantasy
• And MANY others

• * The 8,16, 32, 64, bit eras each meant better

graphics, bigger more complex games, and the
franchise was king! The rise of “real-time 3D”
was the big change.
Platinum Age
• 1990
• Overlaps a MAJOR crpg failure time (ch 9)
• Ultima Underworld
• Elder Scrolls (p. 298)
• Daggerfall (p. 300)
• Series play “catch up”
– Might and Magic (VII – IX) (p. 305)
– Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (p. 304)
• Diablo (p. 323)
• Baldur’s gate
• Fallout

• *Technology and Graphics finally catch up, and the idea of if you
can think it you can find a way to do it becomes standard – though
not without some major headaches.
Modern Age
• 2000(ish)
• Neverwinter Nights
• KotR
• Fable
• MANY others…
• …And whatever comes out next year.

* Possibly the last transition time before truly realistic and

intuitive roleplay. A time of great refinement and MASSIVE
content development. “The standards have been set.”
Matt Barton says:
• “Read my book!”*

*No he doesn’t – I made that up, but I bet he would. Now go home and write your papers.