DUNGEONS & DREAMERS: The Rise of Computer Game Culture from Geek to Chic

Brad King, Author, John Borland, Joint Author . McGraw-Hill/Osborne $29.99 (273p) ISBN 978-0-07-222888-5

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. (Aug. 15)

Reviewed on: 08/04/2003
Release date: 08/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 278 pages - 978-0-9912227-2-8
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