The CRPG Book Project is a collaborative, non-profit effort to create a free, easily available ebook on the history of Computer Role-Playing Games.
Our goal is to gather all the knowledge currently spread across countless websites, books, forums and minds in a single, accessible and visually pleasing tome – for free. We share the Internet Archive’s belief that “access drives preservation”, so we want to demystify gaming history, offering a reliable and attractive resource for people seeking information – or just a fun game to play.
The project began in 2014 after the RPG Codex published a Top 70 PC RPGs list, featuring small fan reviews on each game. The reception was overwhelming, leading to the idea of expanding the list into a book, covering the entire CRPG history.
The completed ebook was first released as a free PDF in 2018, getting over 100,000 downloads. A deal was then made with Bitmap Books, which published a limited hardcover version of the book in 2019. All the author’s profits (£20.992 as of January 2022) were donated to Vocação, a Brazilian NGO that helps kids and teenagers from poor areas to get a better education and find employment.
In 2022, a new expanded edition was released, now with 160 extra pages, addressing issues with the previous release and expanding it to include games that were never released in English.
- The expanded edition contains 680 pages, talking about over 400 games from 1975 to 2019.
- Several articles on the history of the genre and some particular scenes, such as French, Korean and Chinese RPGs, MMORPGs, RPG Maker games and fan-translations.
- Developer quotes, mod suggestions, trivia and tips on how to run games on modern hardware.
- Over 2,000 game screenshots, plus a cover art gallery.
- Written by 151 volunteers – fans, AAA developers, indies, journalists, modders and industry personalities such as Ian Frazier, Scorpia, Ferhegón, Richard Cobbett, Mandalore, Brian ‘Psychochild’ Green, Durante, George Weidman, Chris Avellone and Tim Cain, among others.
- Entirely free and non-profit, with another volunteer group currently making a Chinese translation.
- Martin Woger – “The CRPG Book Review: The new standard”. Eurogamer.de.
- Kevin Murnane – “The CRPG Book is a magnificent love letter to the genre”. Forbes.
- Robin Kunimune – “EP. 34: THE CRPG BOOK”. The Video Game History Hour Podcast.
- Randall Colburn – “This gallery of 16,000 RPG screens is a monument to the genre”. AV Club.