Book Reviews, First Edition


PC WORLD — Books: Dungeons and Dreamers. February 26, 2004. King and Borland are primarily interested in how gaming has created communities during its history — from school nerds and developer startups to clans of online gamers.

PC GAMEREye Witness, Page 60. December, 2003. The magazine issue isn’t up online yet, and not sure if it will be. The reviewer liked some aspects of the book, but had some issues with the details in the story. They also weren’t too fond of the side-stories about gamers. (ED note: They also complained about a lack of photos, which is strange, because we have 8 pages of photos in the middle).

CINCINNATI CITYBEATGeeks Just Wanna Have Fun. November 19-26, 2003. Familiar with Ultima, MUDs, Doom, PMS? BRAD KING is, and he wants you to be, too. These are just a few of the gaming phenomena he explores with John Borland in their new book, Dungeons and Dreamers: The Rise of Computer Game Culture From Geek to Chic.

TELEPOLISBook Review. September 27, 2003. Oh, it’s in German which automatically makes the book sound cool. We’ve been assured by our German-speaking friends that there is nothing buy HIGH praise for our story.

PLAYSTATION EXTREME MAGAZINEBook Review. September, 2003. The issue isn’t online, however, we received a silver star rating.

DENVER POSTGeeks Found Way to Play. September 2, 2003. Entertainment Section. An exerpt: Hearing firsthand from Garriott how he struggled to turn his love of D&D into a computer game worthy of the all-night gaming sessions that filled his parent’s home or Doom programmer John Carmack dismissing the innovations of networked gaming he pioneered as “obvious” brings immediacy to the narrative.

COMPUTER GAMES MAGAZINEBook reviews September, 2003. Opinion Section. Page 85. Here’s how it begins: “Dungeons & Dreamers, by Brad King and John Borland, is a light but surprisingly compelling exploration of the computer games industry and its culture.”

PUBLISHER’S WEEKLYForecasts August 4, 2003. Forecasts Section. PP 70-71. Unfortunately, these aren’t up on the site. Trust me, though, when I tell you they enjoyed it. Here’s how it begins: “King and Borland’s crisp study of computer game specialists reads like a screenplay and would make ideal film material.”

GAME INFORMEREct August, 2003. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss the blurb on page 118. There is a nice cover photo. I dig our cover

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRERBooks for Gamers at the Shores July 3, 2003. An overview of the gaming books out this Fall.


GAME GIRLZQ&A Interview. April 2004. John and I are particularly witty in this Q&A about the genesis of the book. These are actually some of the most original questions that we received. No cutting and pasting here, which is a rarity.

THE AGEYour History (3rd item). October 28, 2003. (T)he book’s authors, IT journalists Brad King and John Borland, make you feel like you’re sitting at an ordinary table, with ordinary people who are players in an extraordinary tale.

GAMESPYSpecial Feature. October 27-29. 2003. GameSpy’s George Jones put together a three-day spread featuring excerpts from Chapter 7 (part 1, part 2, part 3), interviews with the myself and John, Richard Garriott, Bill Trost, and Richard Bartle. A kick-ass series right here.

GAMING WORLD XReview. October 17, 2003. A really nice review of the book: All in all, the book is definitely worth picking up. There’s a lot of history here, from the 1970’s to the present, and it’s handled in a very intelligent manner.

THE GLOBE AND MAILBooks. October 6, 2003. A quick review of the book. My favorite part of the review: In this sense, the defense of the industry and its swamp scum culture is provocative. Somehow, I don’t think this reviewer totally buys into the idea of video game culture. But, it was a pretty fair treatment of the book otherwise.

TWINCITY.COMTechnology. October 6, 2003. BOOK REVIEW: Multiplayer formats are bowling leagues for the ’00s. A luke-warm review of the book.

GAME INDUSTRY NEWSIndustry Happenings. Saturday, September 20, 2003. A nice overview of the book. “King and Borland explore the phenomenon of gamers, and most specifically, the communities of computer game players that have sprung up and matured over the past 30 years.”

THE GUARDIAN ONLINEComment. September 18, 2003. Jane Perrone does a really nice job (better than John and I) articulating what the book is about: “Here, in the introduction, the book’s twin themes are laid out – the power of sociality and an interest in the latest gadgets and computer technology, not for how they look, but for what they can do .”

GAMEPARTISAN.COMSpecial Section. August 19,2003. A Q&A with John and I about the game industry, the culture, and where this whole phenomenon of computer gaming came from.

GAMEDEV.NETBooks. August 15, 2003.A nice review here. My favorite line: “In short, this book provides you with a highly detailed, very insightful look at the history of the culture behind computer games.”

DAILY GAMEInterviews. August 10, 2003.Big thanks to Jonas at Daily Game for putting together the most interesting set of questions yet. I’m wordy as it it, and these questions really got Borland and I going.

COMPUTER USERChic geeks. August 2003. Nadine Cruit has a nice overview of the book. We always have trouble writing short synopsis, but apparently other writers don’t.

WIRED NEWSSecrets of Dungeons and Dreamers July 8, 2003. Xeni Jardin wrote an overview about of the book, discussing the goals we hoped to accomplish with the book.

TEXASMONTHLY.COMTexas Monthly New Releases A quick overview of the upcoming book, listed in the “August releases” section.

IGN.COMMusic In Games Part I / Music In Games Part II March 18, 2003. Brad discussed how indie musicians can promote their music through video games.


INTERNATIONAL GAME JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION. Interview. Saturday, January 31, 2004. I gave a rather lengthy interview to this fledging organization, where I talked about the genesis of Dungeons, the new book, and game writing in general.

RANDOM DIALOGUE.Archived Post. “Something that I found especially enjoyable about the book was the unassuming tone it took in describing the realities of geekery past. Much discussion of geek history has this put-upon angst that is pretty off-putting. This book is very assertive about the past and about the realities of the profitability of gaming.”

RETARDED JIMMY.Archived Post. November 4, 2003. Somebody hates cool people. 🙂 “If you are a fan of gaming, however, it’s a neat cultural review of what’s happened so far in computer gaming. It’s a light read, informative if a little biased, and if you like their style, the book is so hip it even has its own blog.”

SALOON JAVARANCH.Archived Post. October 29. 2003. “the focus here is not on the games themselves, but on the people that have produced the culture that computer gaming is today. The authors present this culture through biographical sketches and interesting anecdotes from the lives of developers, players and others that have been influential on it.”

EVIL AVATARFrom Geek to Chic. August 1, 2003. Okay, this is really less of a review than a preview. But, Evil Avatar has become one of my favorite sites, so I had to put this up.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT BERKELEYGrad Writes Book on Computer Game History. July 21, 2003. It’s obligatory, actually, since both John and I graduated from the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Still, it’s nice to see.

SLASHDOT GAMESSecrets of Dungeons and Dreamers. July 8, 2003. Okay, special thanks to the Slashdot Games crowd for posting this article. I’ve spent a lot of time writing and talking about technology and culture, but these folks are the people who are changing the world. I’m pretty much beside myself about this post.

BOING BOINGSecrets of Dungeons and Dreamers. July 8, 2003. All I ever really wanted out of life was to be blogged by Boing Boing, the coolest site on the Internet. Now it’s happened. Honestly, it’s all down hill from here.

BOB BONNIOL’S BLOG-O-RAMASexism is alive and well in the virtual world too. June 23, 2003 (Monday). Salon’s Bonniol has some nice things to say.


AUSTIN NEWS 8. News 8. Friday, November 7, 2003. My buddy Steven Phenix arranged for this in-studio interview on the day of the book signing. It ran all day, thanks to some string pulling by SP.

G4 TV.. G4 TV. Friday, November 7, 2003. John and I shot a segment on, an Icon segment for Dungeons and Dragons, and several Filter segments. The segment airs Nov. 7.

KNTV-TV.. Tech Now. Saturday, Oct. 4, 2003. We were on this Bay Area television show hosted by Scott McGrew. John and I will be on discussing the book, game communities, and issues of media violence. We were also added to the FeedRoom, a streaming television application.

KTBC-TV.. Austin Fox 7. Thursday, Sept. 11, 2003. 5:45 AM!!! CST. The nice folks at Fox had had me in-studio to talk about video game communities, the conference, and Austin’s role in the rise of online gaming.

TechTV. Screen Savers. Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2003. John Borland will be on the show, talking about video game communities and our new book (which you may have heard of by now) called Dungeons and Dreamers.


SCI-FI OVERDRIVE. Business Talk Radio. Monday, October 20, 2003. Hour 3. After an aborted attempt to get on the show, we’ve ironed out the wrinkles. I’ll be on the show for an hour at the end of October.

On24. Web Radio Corporate Broadcasts. Thursday, Sept. 18, 2003.Phil Leigh hosts a streaming show about trends in technology. John and I will be talking turkey about game communities and the business of online gaming.

CKTB-AM. CKTB. Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2003. 5:35 PM EST. More Canadian Bacon as I join the folks at CKTB, just outside of Toronto in St. Catherine’s, for a 10-minute interview about Dungeons and Dreamers.

KXEL-AM. On the Air with Mike Bunge. Thursday, Sept. 4, 2003. 5:00 PM CST. John was be on this Waterloo, Iowa show discussing the latest and greatest in video game communities. Clearly, a can’t miss winner. I got the boot because my phone proved to be uncallable.

CJOB-WINNEPEG. CJOB. Wednesday, Sept. 3. 12:05 EST. I’ll be joining Charles Adler, a representative of our friends to the north, to talk about video game culture. I’ll will try hard to repress my South Park references and my confusion about Canadian bacon. I have too many Canadian friends who would hunt me down.

LA NPR. Day to Day. Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2003. Check out John, just after Marketplace, at the bottom of the hour. He talks with host Alex Chadwick about Dungeons and Dreamers.

WILL-AM. The Morning Show. Friday, August 29, 2003. 10:06 AM CST. John and I will be on this Urbana-Champaign, Illinois NPR affiliate discussing all the wonderful things about our new book. It was lively, with several callers upset about violence and video games, which isn’t what our book is about strangely enough.

THE DAVID LAWRENCE SHOW. Hour 2. August 20, 2003. My old pal David Lawrence agreed to have me back on the program, even thought I’m not with Wired News anymore. I think he misses yelling at me. Always a good time. Check the show’s Website for local affiliates.


BBC NEWS. What Ever Happened to Dungeons & Dragons. Monday, April 26, 2004. Brad King, author of Dungeons and Dreamers, which charts the influence of D&D on early videogames, says D&D should not be confused with board games. “It was the first really interactive game. If you play board games there is always an objective or goal.”

AUSTIN CHRONICLE. Geeks Get Paid. Thursday, March 7, 2004. Article about an upcoming appearance at Austin’s SXSW Interactive festival kick-off, where I’m moderating a talk with Richard Garriott and Warren Specter.


SXSW KICKOFFSXSW Interactive Kickoff Event. Friday, March 12, 2004. 7:30-8:30 pm. This special Friday evening pre-event presentation brings together two international gaming legends for an intriguing philosophical discussion of the future of this medium.

SXSW MUSIC CONFERNECEPlaying Music With Games. Friday, March 19, 2004. 12:30-1:45 pm. Sure, you can blame video games for distracting the kids from the music world, but why curse them when you can join them? Music placement in video games gets your tunes into the ears of our youth in a most effective way.

WASHINGTON POST CHAT. Online Chat. Friday, January 30, 2004. 10 AM CST. John and I had a good time chatting with people around the country about video games, role-playing, and the future of online gaming. By far the most insightful set of questions that we’ve gotten so far, leading me to believe the the WP may be a good paper. 🙂

LOVELAND HURST HIGH SCHOOL. Loveland Hurst High School. Monday, November 24. 10:30-12:00 AM EST. Back to my alma mater for a 90-minute chat with journalism classes about life as a writer, and living with Steve Kenyon my freshman year in college. When I stopped by his class, his students thought 1) I was a former student, or 2) I was his brother. Good times.

KALDI’S COFFEESHOP & BOOKSTORE. Kaldi’s Coffee Shop & Bookstore. Saturday, November 22. 6:00-9:00 PM EST. I’ll be doing a book reading and signing at the place where I penned my first article. My buddy Kevin Fox will join for a short accoustic set.

CINCINNATI BARNES & NOBLE. Barnes & Noble’s Fields Ertel. Saturday, November 22. 2:00-4:00 PM EST. I’ll be doing a book signing here, just outside of my home town.

BUZZCUT. Buzzcut Forums. Tuesday, November 11, 2003. I’ve been talking with Dave Thomas’ students for the last month over at Buzzcut, where he teaches an online course in video game journalism.

AUSTIN BOOK PEOPLE. Austin Book People. Friday, November 7, 2003. 7:00 PM CST.NCSoft’s Richard Garriott, who developed the first commercially successful online role-playing game, is slated to join us. This was a kick-ass event with about 75 people in attendance. Richard, of course, charmed everyone.

THE GUARDIAN ONLINEOnline Chat. Friday, Sept. 19, 2003. John and I will be participating in an online chat with England staffers from The Guardian, one of the largest papers on that side of the ocean. (Really, we were pro-colony.)

Other News

U.S. Book Release News

Dungeons and Dreamers Hits Bookshelves. August 19, 2003. U.S Book Release Details.

Foreign Book Release News

John and I wrote a piece on gaming for an English bookstore magazine. It’s be reprinted on England’s Amazon affiliate. October 2003.

Dungeons and Dreamers Coming to Europe. Upcoming English Book Release Details. July 21, 2003.

The book will be translated into Italian, although we’re not quite sure on the details of when it will be released and who will be doing the publishing. By we, I mean John and I. McGraw-Hill has a good idea. August, 2003.

We’re #32 on the Amazon U.K.’s Top 50 Hottest Selling Pre-Sale Books. July 8, 2003.

Softbank, one of Japan’s largest publishing companies, purchased the rights to the book. The company plans to begin selling a translated version in conjunction with the launch of its online gaming portal. July 4, 2003.