Page Created: 6/25/2014   Last Modified: 2/1/2021   Last Generated: 4/22/2024

The dungeon crawl is a fascinating genre.

I was first exposed to it via the Eamon text adventure games on the
Apple II+ computer.

The Eamon games combined elements of the RogueLike with InteractiveFiction, a combination that is not very common, which led to my interest in both of these genres.

In the years that followed, I enjoyed the following games which contain various elements:

  • Choose Your Own Adventure and Invisible Ink books
  • Richard Garriott's original "Ultima" (Apple II+)
  • Adventure (Atari 2600)
  • Tunnels of Doom (TI-99/4A)
  • Dungeons & Dragons (paper-based RPG)
  • Dark Tower (computerized board game)
  • Chase-N-Counter handheld LCD game called "Treasure Trek"
  • Final Fantasy Legend III (Nintendo Gameboy)
  • Diablo
  • Ultima Online
  • Dark Age of Camelot
  • World of Warcraft
  • Nethack
  • Pixel Dungeon

In 2015, I gave a presentation describing how several of these games influenced my own game designs.

I have been been playing the amazing and underappreciated Wurm Unlimited. Wurm isn't a dungeon crawl but is a medieval sandbox MMORPG where the "grind" isn't something to be avoided, but is an integral part of the game.

There are also two games that had a great effect on me, that were not in a medieval fantasy setting, but 1980's Japan and Hong Kong:

  • Shenmue (Dreamcast)
  • Shenmue II (Dreamcast)

There has a never been a videogame that has affected me more than the Shenmue series, and I've never seen these elements duplicated in modern videogames. They had a feeling that was real and geniune, something that I've tried to capture in my game designs over the years. I became a better person from those games, something I never thought a game could do. Amazingly, in 2019, Shenmue III was released for the PC from the same creator, and I was finally able to play this amazing sequel on my old hardware, 20 years after its predecessor, Shenmue II.

I watched one of my friends (a videogame master) solve the videogame Portal when it came out. He pretty much blazed through the whole game in real-time while I watched. It was one of the most amazing things I ever saw someone do and reminded me of when one of my childhood friends defeated Mondain in Ultima on the Apple II+.

I don't think it broke new ground, and it is not really a dungeon crawl, but Portal was well-constructed, and the rushed feeling of moving through the maze-like world with the AI gone awry created a weird realism, an "in the present" feeling I don't normal see in games or works of fiction.