Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Materiam superabat opus

This finding made it possible, three hundred years ago, to formulate a general theory of the Library and solve satisfactorily the problem which no conjecture had deciphered: the formless and chaotic nature of almost all the books. — Borges Of the contributions made by the 2214 Nakamura-Kreitz expedition to the fields of manuscript archaeology and […]

Scimitars and flying carpets: what "Arabian Nights"-style roleplaying games exist?

I just saw the mediocre Prince of Persia, and now I want to play a roleplaying game with flying carpets and sinister viziers. Where should I look?

> There is a zorkmid here.

How’s this for a blast from the past: while cleaning house the other day, I came across a little piece of gaming history: It’s a zorkmid, which as everybody knows is the currency of the Zork text adventure games. If you’ve never seen one yourself, it’s an actual metal coin, quite hefty and very atmospheric. […]

Tales of Gen Con

Here’s something interesting: a site devoted to the history of Gen Con, with a focus on personal stories from people who’ve attended during its 40-year history. It’s a cool idea. But how long must we wait before we get the sorts of stories we all really want to hear: the horror stories! It wouldn’t be […]

Ground-breaking roleplaying games (with commentary by yours truly)

There’s a good rundown over at Gamasutra of ground-breaking electronic roleplaying games. A few quick comments on their list: First, it does the heart good to see Planescape: Torment at #2 on the list; it’s certainly one of the most literary RPGs ever created. (I’d personally put it at #1, of course, but Fallout was […]

On the Minus World and the death of mystery

Ah, the Minus World. What teenage boy during the NES years didn’t spend countless hours of his life trying to unlock the secret entrance to that legendary, and possibly imaginary, hidden level in Super Mario Bros? The internet, in its all-seeing wisdom, has of course laid bare the secrets of the Minus World. Enjoy watching […]

Remembering the Silver Princess

Here’s a fun bit of gaming history: the story of Palace of the Silver Princess, an old Dungeons and Dragons module that was recalled by the publisher on the very day of its release. (You can download the module in PDF format at the above link.) The module was recalled due to objectionable artwork. As […]

TSR, we hardly knew ye

Whatever happened to TSR? The company that was almost synonymous with Dungeons and Dragons, the company that sat atop the RPG industry for decades? I’ve read lots of different online explanations over the years trying to pinpoint what exactly went wrong. Most of the rumors sound a bit too melodramatic to be entirely true, even […]

Run out the guns

I’m currently reading about the naval aspect of the Revolutionary War, and am finding it incredibly interesting. The Revolutionary War is one of those periods in history about which I should know far more than I actually do; it’s marked by some truly larger-than-life people and events. One such person is John Paul Jones, a […]

Worth reading

A couple of quick notes again today. If you’ve got some time to spare, you really ought to read Losing the War, about the general weirdness, horror, and confusion that was World War II. It’s incredibly lengthy, so if time is limited, I suggest starting in on the second half of the piece, which is […]