The The CRPG Book: A Guide to Computer Role-Playing Games started out as an eBook covering the history of Computer Role-Playing Games and it was created by Felipe Pepe as a collaborative effort back in 2014. The feedback was immense and soon Felipe decided to create an extended online version of the book, which soon prompted calls for a physical version from fans. Felipe approached Sam Dyer at Bitmap Books and thus, the physical book was born.
As you’ve come to expect from Bitmap Books, the sublime fantasy art that wraps around the entire cover is simply stunning. This was created by artist Jan Pospisil who I must confess I was not familiar with but who perhaps created one of the best looking book covers I have ever seen. The book measures 254mm x 203mm and untilises beautiful lithographic printing a gold foil blocked cover/spine and the content is spread across its mind boggling 528 pages.
Delving into the content, you are greeted with over 400 reviews dating from 1975 to 2015. These are split into era’s of gaming so you can focus on the more retro or more modern games by simply going to that section. Many of the role playing classics we all know and love such as Ultima, Wizardry, Bloodwych and Borderlands are covered inside the book – all brought to life with vibrant and engaging in-game images. Each entry also shares articles on the genre, mod suggestions and hints on how to run the games on modern hardware. I must admit to being a part time role-game player, so many of the titles covered within the book have passed me by, even some of the classics. What this book has shown me is how vast this genre really is, how many titles I would have loved to played and I certainly will be using the info found inside to book to play some of them in the near future.
The book is completely by written by fans, AAA developers, indies, journalists, modders and industry personalities which makes for a fascinating read. There are lots of varying opinions on games, snippets of info and a large variety of content that add much more to the book than I actually thought it would. What makes this book so special, though, is its non-profit nature. All of the author’s profit will be donated to the Vocação charity in Brazil, where the books author/editor Felipe Pepe comes from. Vocação helps kids and teenagers from poor areas to get education and employment, who then go on to help others around them to do the same, and change the community for the better. So that alone makes this book worth a purchase.
Finally, Bitmap Books has taken Felipe Pepe and his contributors’ original creation and created something very special indeed. Sam Dyer and his team know how to create art in book form and this book is an example of that. It hits the heights set by all the previous titles these guys have released. Bravo Team Bitmap Books.
Simply one of the best looking gaming books around, the content is a joy to behold even to someone like me who is not a massive role playing gaming fan.