Dungeons and Dreamers

Whenever I finish a book, I feel like I should post a review. But then I visit Amazon and discover that someone else has already said exactly what I would have.

So, after finishing Dungeons and Dreamers, I found this review by Tod Curtis, written back when the book was first published:

I found Dungeons and Dreamers to be fairly choppy and unfocused.

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.

Yep, that about says it.

I have a modest collection of books about the history of personal computing.  Richard Garriot’s story is a worthy addition. The rest of the book is a breathless, unfocused, uneven history of video games. Can you tell it was written collaboratively by two young tech journalists? I can.

That said, it was an easy, quick read. It’s fun to wander down memory lane. And there is worthwhile historical material in here.

I think the authors were trying to make a point about the socializing aspects of gaming, but they never quite stated their case. It so happens that I paused to read this while I am halfway through Reality is Broken, which makes that case forcefully. Stay tuned for my cherry-picked Amazon review of that book!


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