THE CRPG BOOK, from the UK’s Bitmap Books, is the culmination of years of work by over a hundred contributors. It’s one of the most comprehensive histories of CRPGs ever written, and features in-depth review-style writeups of over 400 games, along with essays on the ancient history of role-playing games (going all the way back to the Prussian Empire), the early days of MUDs (multi-user dungeons, the earliest online games), the archaic but impressive PLATO computer system, and the importance of paper manuals and hand-drawn maps.
AMONG ALL THE games I’ve played over the past decade, Skyrim holds a special place. I’ve probably spent longer talking to Belethor, the smarmy but conveniently-placed Whiterun merchant, than I have playing many other titles from start to finish in their entirety. I’ve quested for hours to win the favor of a lone companion for the sole purpose of having someone to help carry my unwieldy piles of stuff – an apt if depressing analogy for real-world relationships.