Book Title: Dungeons & Dreamers

Subtitle: A story of how computer games became a global community (Second Edition)

Author: Brad King & John Borland

Cover image for Dungeons & Dreamers

Book Description: In 1974, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson published the tabletop game Dungeons & Dragons, a fantasy role-playing game that put players at the center of an interactive story. Unbeknownst to the two developers, their game would help ignite the computer game revolution just a few years later as D&D players tried to replicate their experiences on the new digital platform. Those two forces -- D&D and the computer game developers inspired by it -- have created rich, virtual spaces where people not only played, but also found friendship. This narrative non-fiction story follows the designers, developers, and players who built the virtual games and communities that define today's digital entertainment landscape. On the 40th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons, the game that inspired the computer gaming revolution, the story explores the nature of what it means to live and thrive in virtual communities.

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Book Information

Book Description

Computer gaming reaches back to Dungeons & Dragons, the popular paper game that let storytellers lead their charges through mystical worlds where the only limitation was imagination. Millions would play the game, but it would particularly resonate with a group of kids who were in the midst of discovering the birth of home computers.

The first time Richard Garriott played Dungeons & Dragons, the tabletop role-playing game, he was hooked. The game was a mix of imagination, storytelling, and social interactions played in small groups. The intimate setting and the interactive nature of the game meant that no two adventures were ever the same. That game, and Garriott’s fascination with it, helped inspire the modern computer game landscape, which now include sprawling real-time pervasive worlds filled with millions of players around the world.

By the late 90s, sports, war simulations, and relationship games found their place. Millions of people were logging onto their computers, making friends, and playing. But, always at the heart of computer gaming, were people who wanted to create worlds where people could gather and play. For years, people dismissed those worlds and those players. In doing so, they missed the compelling stories of not only the people like Garriott who wanted to develop these large story worlds, but also the players who have increasingly exerted their own control on these spaces and created rich friendships and group collectives.

Today’s modern computer games have become a central part of American culture, and they are far more than just virtual spaces where people hack-and-slash each other with swords or mow each down with guns. These games are as varied as the books in a library, and Dungeons & Dreamers tells the story of what it means to live and thrive in virtual communities.


Brad King & John Borland


Dungeons & Dreamers Copyright © 2014 by Creative Commons. All Rights Reserved.


Dungeons & Dreamers
Brad King & John Borland
Carnegie Mellon University: ETC Press
Publication Date
March 15, 2014
Ebook ISBN
Print ISBN