While scouring the wilds of the internet, staving off an imminent post-Easter sugar crash, I came across this post on Rock, Paper, Shotgun. It details a 450-page book dedicated to the history and technology of the CRPG (computer role-playing game) genre. I read the post out of curiosity, and the whole time I was thinking to myself, “I should buy this thing. Hopefully there won’t be an exorbitant shipping fee.” To my great surprise, the book is available for free, and it’s definitely worth picking up if you’re a fan of the genre.
“The cRPG Book Project” is a work-in-progress by Felipe Pepe. It began in 2014, and compiles information and artwork from nearly 300 games, spanning the decades between 1975 and 2014. It’s being helped along by numerous contributors, including legendary game designer Chris Avellone. It bills itself as “a 450 page preview”, but the entire book in its current guise is available for free, with gorgeous images and a lovely layout. Since it isn’t yet complete, Felipe is looking for more contributors eager to share their thoughts on CRPGs.
If you’re a fan of the genre, or just want some really awesome free stuff, you can download it here. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the past of this venerable genre, written by some very passionate creators. The project has a blog you can follow for more updates. Felipe has also written many posts on Gamasutra about RPGs, so check those out if you’re interested.