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!