Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Dungeons and Dreamers: The Rise of Computer Game Culture from Geek to Chic Hardcover – August 19, 2003


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$3.99 $0.01

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

What If? by Randall Munroe
From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, find hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. Learn more

Product Details

  • Series: One-off
  • Hardcover: 273 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media; 1 edition (August 19, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0072228881
  • ISBN-13: 978-0072228885
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,535,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

... documents manically creative lives of gamers by tracing the career of eccentric "Lord British," as Garriott is known... -- Wired News, July 8, 2003

A great beach read, Dungeons & Dreamers will leave you feeling proud to be a game geek. -- Philadelphia Inquirer, July 3, 2003

Anecdotal and close-up it's a highly readable peek into a whole 'nother social realm. -- TexasMonthly.com

King... Borland ...pulled off a neat trick – managed to write a book as compelling as a really cool game… -- ComputerUser, August 2003

More About the Author

Brad King earned his master's from the University of California at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism in 2000. While there, he won the Wired magazine "Excellence in Technology Writing" award. After graduating, he worked for Wired and Wired.com.

In 2004, he was the producer and senior editor for the MIT Technology Review Web operation. He's been an advisory board member for South by Southwest Interactive for more than a decade, and he's hosted its Accelerator program since 2009. He's an editor and advisory board member for Carnegie Mellon's ETC Press. In 2014, he joined the advisory board for the Carmel Arts Council and the board of directors for the Indiana Writers Center.

King is currently an assistant professor of journalism at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where he's also the director of the university's Digital Media minor. In his spare time, he's running The Geeky Press, a small, experimental long-form writing collective.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Garcia on October 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am a 41 year old gamer. I was around for Pong! to Atari to Colecovision to the PC of today. Although I thoroughly enjoy playing computer games, I never knew how this whole medium got started. By drawing from interviews of the gaming pioneers, who played endless nights of Dungeons and Dragons, to the dreamers of new virtual worlds, this book lays out how the electronic games industry got to be the multi-billion dollar entertainment monster that it is today. Most notably, Richard Garriot and his rise from computer programming hobbyist to one of the most succesful "Dreamers" of the Role Playing Games genre. Other stories, such as how John Carmack, John Romero, and Warren Spector are considered game gods. As we strive for more avenues of entertainment today, this book has the insitefulness of sharing what drives these digital storytellers to dream up new worlds for gamers to play in. Pick up this book if you are interested in an entertaining history behind computer games roots. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Lye on September 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Overall, the book provides a good overview of the evolution of the genre detailing the early use of university computing resources for covert sessions of SpaceWar, Adventure and Colossal Cave thru to the emergence of the Professional Gaming League.

Where the narrative starts to get bogged down is when it gets to Richard Garriott (aka Lord British), the creator of the Ultima series of games. (For the record, I'm a huge Ultima fan - the original Ultima packaging, with a knight on a black warhorse facing off against a dragon emerging from hot lava, was the reason I bought my first computer.) Once the authors get to Garriott, the pace slows as we explore his life in extended detail from his early family life to the release of Ultima Online. In contrast, significantly less time is spent on the other pivotal computer games like Doom, Half-Life and EverQuest. While I'd be the first to point to Garriott's role in the development of this genre, all roads don't necessarily lead to Lord British.

Net/Net: Decent overview of a topic that has often been eclipsed by the more glamorous console videogames industry. Would have appreciated less detail on Garriott, and more on the other games.

Full Disclosure: Reviewer works as a marketer for Windows and Xbox games at Microsoft.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jen on November 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What first surprised me about Dungeons & Dreamers is that it's entertaining. I picked it up intending to get a quick sense of it then couldn't put it down--this book is funny, from Richard Garriott's whacky childhood projects before he developed games to the inside spats that tore up later, successful developer teams. What continued to surprise me is the book's scope. All the history is there, from star developers, companies, and even players like PMS (psycho men slayers) and LAN party-goers who shaped the gaming world. But the book pushes further to tell why people play games, why games have progressed the way they have, and why they're here to stay. Gaming is elevated from just a "mind-numbing weird thing" to the creative, productive community it is; I don't think anyone--gamers or anti-gamers or anyone in between--can read this book without gaining a deeper understanding and respect for the community and where it's headed.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Very enjoyable and non-heavy book stretching back to Gygax and his crew of Chainmail folks up through the current crop of MMORPG play (yeah, Carmack and Romero and all those guys are in it too). A great read and a diverse one too, in that it discusses the technical issues of game development and game play, video games in a social context and under fire from concerned activists, and also a cool look at the personal lives of the key players who introduced the games themselves, Never boring, and although it's not a super heavy read it's got definite gems of inspiration and insight. It's well written and engaging. If you're a fan, (especially if you had a C64/Atari/Pong and spent time with the 20 sided die) it's a must have. Lots of fun! I'd disregard the 1-star bad review (if you read past page 14, it gets much more interesting Kathy82...that goes for most books, btw).
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is a well-crafted and focused look at the rise of computer games in popular culture. Anything involving the gaming community will generate flaming and name-calling but this book tries, and succeeds, in writing some of the early history of the gaming culture. Rather than cover too much, it limits its focus to mainly Richard Garriott and his Ultima series and Doom. It examines the people, decisions, accidents and politics that brought these two gaming worlds into existence.
As I read it I remembered the great fun I had playing the early Ultima games and the sheer amazement I felt the first time I played Doom. I have played computer games since Carter was President. Reading this book brought back some of the great memories of that early gaming and some of those "wow" moments.
The culture and rise of computer games so closely mirrors the rise of the computer culture. I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in both.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Tod Curtis on October 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
After finishing Masters of Doom and the Ultimate History of Video Games I found Dungeons and Dreamers to be fairly choppy and unfocused. Masters of Doom was an interesting (albeit odd) focus on the rise to fame of John Carmack and John Romero and provides the insight as to how the average person became famous and the changes in technology that took place during that time period. The Ultimate History of video games is a very thorough read and chronicles the changing faces and times during the rise of technology and has the inside information on about any event or video game phenomenon you can imagine. Unfortunately, the first 1/3 of this book is an interesting tale about the famous 'Lord British', which I enjoyed, but the remaining 2/3 is a bit of a mess. A brief rehash of the Doom phenomenon (which is done much better in the Masters of Doom book), a very boring (and lengthy) section on the correlation of video games and violence (Columbine is mentioned WAY too many times) and some snippets of the LAN party and MMOG phenomenon fills out the book. The writing is choppy, feels like it hasn't been thoroughly proofread, and makes the intellectual side of me cringe. It is not uncommon for a concept to be described in one paragraph and described in the same words two or three paragraphs later. A full book on Richard Garriott probably would have been a better idea, as his life is very interesting and many of us would associate our gaming lives with him more than any other figure. This book seems to be geared towards complete non-gamers, which is a shame, because I would imagine most people who would buy this book understand the gaming world and the important events in its history. I was looking for the real insider/behind the scenes view of video games and was stuck with an uninsightful overview instead. Stick with the other two books if you have to make a choice where to spend your dollars.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search