Update 29 – The expanded edition is released!

The CRPG Book Expanded Edition brings 152 pages extra pages, 56 new game reviews, several new articles, a lot of revised content and a glorious cover art gallery! The total: 680 pages! 

You can freely download it here: DOWNLOAD THE CRPG BOOK PDF

The road so far

Eight years. It’s been now eight years since that poll at the RPG Codex to determine “the best RPGs ever”, which then became a massive list with 72 RPGs, until evolving into a book with over 400 titles. 

Overall, I’m extremely happy and grateful for everything that happened – I met a lot of amazing people, the PDF got over 160,000 downloads and the physical book raised £20.992 for charity!

And people are also happy with it – look at the reviews on Goodreads!

It was Eurogamer’s Editor’s Choice, calling it “The New Standard”, and was featured on many websites, videos and podcasts! Hell, we even have a team of volunteers doing a Chinese translation of the book! (BTW, they’re looking for Traditional Chinese volunteers)

Still, I’m very critical of its shortcomings, which led to this update.

Expanding the book – and the video game canon

This new edition adds new games from 2017-2019, but the goal of this project was never to keep up with recent releases. This update is all about fixing the flaws of the original release – errors, typos and important games that I missed, like Tunnels of Doom, Adventure Construction Set, SpellForce and Boiling Point – but also entire scenes or historical events that I overlooked or didn’t even know about.

For example, some might be surprised that I included Swords and Sandals: Gladiator in the book.

But it was a big mistake to not skip it before – an RPG that has been played over 350 million times!

During these past years, I came across many situations like these – important or extremely popular games that exist outside of the traditional “video games canon”. Some are small but influential, such as BBS ‘door games’ or the early French RPG scene, others are absolutely massive, such as Flash games or the hundreds of RPGs only available in Korean or Chinese. 

I was quite ignorant about these when creating the first edition of the book. I added Chinese Paladin as a curiosity, I had no idea that it was one of the oldest and biggest RPG series in the world – so influential that it managed to impact the world of cinema, TV shows and novels in a way no western RPG ever did.

The people I met, the games I played and the excellent books (Video Games Around the World, Video Games in the Global South and Gaming the Iron Curtain) that came out in these past years showed me how biased and limited our image of video game history truly is – and how the book was echoing this same distorted image.

As such, the main goal of this new version is to expand the video game canon. We already had a nice chronicle of the main RPG titles, but now it’s complemented by more Mac-only titles, Flash RPGs, RPG Maker games, MUDs, Online RPGs, untranslated RPGs, etc. I couldn’t go in-depth into them without derailing the book, but I hope they help expand our perception of the genre and lead to more in-depth explorations in the future.

What we currently understand as “video game history” is but a tiny fragment of what people are actually playing all across the world. We should celebrate efforts like the translation of 80s Slovak PC games, the Primeiro Contato podcast that explored the Brazilian game industry or the Russian Video Game Comrade channel, and I humbly suggest people write more about their local scenes – make videos, scan boxes and magazines, take screenshots, help fan translations, or simply write your memories about things like playing ShacraMUD in Chile, creating IGM’s for Legend of the Red Dragon, running a game BBS in Egypt, playing Czech adventure games, going to a PC Bang in Korea, etc…

These might sound like basic things for those who lived them, but it’s shocking how little information we have in English about some games that are cultural landmarks or sold millions of units.

A new printed version & a final appeal

Finally, yes, I am working with Bitmap Books to produce a printed version of this update, once again sold as a charity fundraiser. But due to production schedules, it won’t be available until 2023.

In the meantime, if you download the PDF and enjoy our work, please consider donating. I don’t ask for donations to myself, but rather to Instituto Dara, an NGO that helps families get access to food and support during this time of crisis: https://dara.org.br/en/conheca/quem-somos/sobre-nos/

I know that the last 2 years have been hard for everyone, but Brazil is in a frightening economical and political crisis, and even 5 dollars is a significant amount when converted to local currency.

If you donate, please send me a PM or email with a receipt and I’ll include your name in a special thank you page for the printed version & accompanying PDF. [UPDATE April 2nd: closing this since we’re now preparing the book for print]

Thank you for reading, hope you enjoy the book. Stay safe!

Update 28 – Three years later

It’s been now a bit over 3 years since the CRPG Book was released as a PDF, back in February 2018.

In this time, the PDF had over 160,000 downloads, while the hardcover book sold out and raised £18,473 for charity.

I’m extremely happy with how things turned out, Bitmap Books even asked for a reprint of the hardcover version. However, I still want to do one last, big update to the book, fixing some mistakes and oversights that really annoy me.

Goals for the updated version:

  • Add new games up to 2019 and a few older games that were missing, such as SpellForce
  • Add the long-promised section explaining what’s an Amiga, a C64, a ZX Spectrum, etc
  • Add an article on MUD & MMORPG history
  • Add a section on important RPGs that were never released in English, especially those from France, Turkey, China & South Korea
  • Update some old articles with new info, such as the Wasteland remaster and the Skyrim SE
  • Fix some mistakes of the original release, ESPECIALLY the contributor’s credits, as I made a mess and a few people weren’t properly credited 😦

Don’t expect this to be finished in 2021, but some of them are already done and can be enjoyed now, as I either post them on twitter or publish them as stand-alone articles on Medium as they get done:

The article on MUDs & MMORPGs history

Last year I wrote an extensive article on something entirely absent from the CRPG Book: MUDs and MMORPGs. While they deserve an entire book about them, it’s important to see how their evolution influences single-player RPGs.

The article on Chinese RPGs

China produced over 200 PC RPGs in the 90s and early 00s, almost all of them never released abroad. The CRPG Book has Chinese Paladin, an extremely important title that got a fan-translation, but there’s MUCH more to examine here.

The article on Korean RPGs

While not as massive as the Chinese industry, Korea still produced over 80 PC RPGs in the 90s and early 00s, most of them never translated, including the popular War of Genesis series and several adaptations of manhwa and TV shows.

Podcast interview

This week I had a fun chat with Frank Cifaldi and Kelsey Lewin at the Video Game History Foundation about the CRPG Book, how to make old RPGs accessible and the goals in updating the book. You can hear it here.

Once again, a call for reviews

As I mentioned, there’s still a few games I would like to add to the book, so we’re in need of volunteers willing to write about games like Outward, Caves of Qud, Planet’s Edge, Nioh 1 & 2, etc. You can see the full list here.


That’s it, thanks everyone for reading and for the support during all these years 🙂

Update 27 – One year later…

After almost one year of silence, I’m back with two updates:

  • First, Bitmap Books and I just did the second donation of royalties from the CRPG Book to the NGO Vocação: £5,998 pounds (33,096 Brazilian reais). This brings us to a total of £18,473 pounds donated, or 91,100 reais! And we have the receipts:

  • Second, I’m now updating the CRPG Book, adding games from 2016-2019, plus a few other goodies. Work just began, there’s no release date and I don’t know if we’ll be able to make a hardcover version again – but the original one is still on sale.

    If you want to help with a review or suggestions, you can find the list of games we are adding HERE, as well as my email for contact.

As always, thanks everyone for the support! 🙂

Update 26 – Three great news!

I’m back with three wonderful news:

  • The hardcover book raised £12.475! All this money is being donated to Vocação, a NGO in Brazil that helps children and teenagers in poor communities get access to better education. It’s a lot of money, equivalent to 64 minimum wages in Brazil!
  • The updated & proofread PDF of the book is freely available for download again! It has everything added to the hardcover version, plus hyperlinks and bookmarks, and you can download it and share it as much as you want! Grab it HERE.
  • But, if you still want a hardcover version, we’re making a limited reprint! Same rules, all my profits go to charity, and it should be out in July. You can sign in for it at Bitmap Books website: https://t.co/kMmfzYdaLU

Thanks again everyone who helped & bought the book! It has been wonderful to see so many people enjoying it, and to see all that money helping others. 🙂

EDIT: Some people asked for PDF in higher quality, so here’s a HQ Version.

Update 25 – You can buy the book now! :D

Finally, the physical, hardcover version of CRPG Book is on sale!

It will ship in March, you can pre-order it here: https://www.bitmapbooks.co.uk/collections/all/products/the-crpg-book-a-guide-to-computer-role-playing-games

As a reminder, this is still a non-profit project, ALL the money I would make from this will be donated to Vocação, an NGO that helps young people in poor areas of Brazil.

Also, as a treat, here’s the book’s full cover art, done by Jan Pospíšil:

rpgbookfinalsmall

(Here for higher resolution)

It’s included as a poster in the Collector’s Edition of the book. Both editions are limited, my contract is that I get the rights over the book back and can distribute the updated free PDF once it becomes sold out – or after a certain time has passed.

Thanks again to everyone who helped made this possible!

Update 24 – Moving the screenshot gallery

Since I began working on the CRPG Book in 2014, I took thousands of high quality .png screenshots of all the games included in the book. I also got a lot from contributors and from the amazing CRPG Addict, and uploaded all to Flickr.

Unfortunately, Flickr recently announced that they will reduce the upload limit of free accounts to 1,000 photos. 😦

As such, the CRPG Book gallery is now on Google Drive, where you can easily download over 12GB of screenshots of 488 different RPGs!

Hope you all enjoy it! And if you have .png screenshots to share, just message me. 🙂

Update 23 – Physical Edition, revealed!

Today, I’m proud to reveal the physical edition of the CRPG Book, to be published by Bitmap Books, creators of the most beautiful and polished books on video games!

This edition will be hardcover, fully proof-read, feature new reviews, several updates and the amazing cover artwork you see above, done by artist Jan Pospíšil.

This is still a non-profit work, so all these updates will be later freely available for download, and ALL the money I would make from this will instead be donated to Vocação, an award-winning NGO in Brazil that helps kids and teenagers from poor communities to advance their education and earn a job, giving them the tools to improve their lives and of the people around them.

The pre-orders will begin on January 14, with a very special limited edition also available! You can sign up here to be informed.

Cheers, and thanks to everyone who helped me take this project so far! 🙂

Update 21 – The Hardcover Book

Hello everyone, I got a few news to share today.

First, I’ve updated the book to version 1.0.4, fixing more typos, fixing issues, updating some reviews (Barkley 2 still had a 2016 release date!) and adding an article about the unreleased RPG Citadel of the Black Sun on page 509.

Second, some people have been making their own physical version of the book:

books

That’s awesome, but it won’t be needed anymore, as I now signed a deal for a limited print of the book – fully proofread and in hardcover! Of course, since this is a non-profit project, we’ll use it as a charity fundraiser! More info on this soon!

However, as part of the hardcover book deal I agreed not to release any more files while the book is being produced & sold. So 1.0.4 will be the last version for a while and I’ll be removing the files in this blog – starting tomorrow! Grab them while you can!

Once the contract ends, things return to normal and I’ll be able to freely share this new & improved version with all of you. I think that’s a fair trade. 🙂

Update 20 – Thanks, ePub & Project Files

Hello everyone,

It has been an overwhelming week! In less than 5 days the CRPG Book got over 100k downloads and it has been a blast to see everyone enjoying it. 🙂

Several volunteers appeared to help with proofreading and I’m trying to come up with a good system for this. I’ve also “patched” the book to version 1.0.2, fixing a bunch of typos, grammar mistakes and adding three contributors whose name had been left out.

A lot of people want an ePub version. This is hard to do with such complex layout, but I’ve exported it as well as I could. Please get in touch if you know how to do this better.

ePub Version

Also, some groups are now translating the book to Spanish, German, Russian and Chinese! Besides the translations, a lot of people wanted to print a copy for personal use, make “abridged” versions,  or simply check the files to see how the project was made.

So here’s a link to the full InDesign project.

The CRPG Book uses a CC BY-NC 4.0 Creative Commons license, meaning you can use it however you wish – as long as you credit the authors and don’t use it for monetary gain.

Finally, I received a few offers to publish a hardcover version! The idea is to turn it into a charity fundraiser, so I’ll keep everyone updated as things progress.

But for now, I’ll rest a bit. Thanks everyone for an unforgettable week! 🙂