Dungeons & Dreamers (Second Edition)

In 2002, John Borland and I were having a beer at San Francisco’s 21st Amendment when we decided we wanted to write a book. John was a writer for Cnet’s News.com and I was writer at Wired.com. We covered the same beat — the convergence of technology, entertainment, and society. At the time, that meant: Napster and lawsuits.

And so we decide wanted to write about something more interesting. Something more significant. We settled on the computer games. Particularly the way this tabletop game — Dungeons & Dragons — permeated nearly thirty years of computer game development. That book would become Dungeons & Dreamers.

When we finished the first edition in 2003, we were flummoxed. The end of the story we wanted to tell hadn’t happened yet. But our publishing date was upon us. We decided then and there that we’d revisit the story when all the pieces had come into place. And they did in 2014, eleven years later.

So we wrote the definitive history of computer games, the Internet, and the online world that is spawned.

In 1974, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson published the tabletop game Dungeons & Dragons, a fantasy role-playing game. Through the next 40 years, computer game developers used these fantasy worlds as archetypes for the budding virtual game worlds. These games would become as varied as books in a library, but the essence of each was built upon community. Dungeons & Dreamers: A story of how computer games created a global community follows the designers, developers, and players who built the virtual games and communities that define today’s digital entertainment landscape and explores the nature of what it means to live and thrive in virtual communities.

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