Twenty Years of EQ

My career in games is based on a series of unplanned events. My story is hardly unique in that regard. But at the foundation of all of them all rests a single name: EverQuest. And on this twentieth anniversary of its release, it’s only right that I send it a birthday card. Since high school, I was a diehard Ultima fan. It was the fourth installment in the franchise that changed my perspective on what video games could be, and once Ultima Online was released, I could not conceive of ever leaving it. But when my guildmates started disappearing to a newly launched rival that boasted 3D graphics, I thought I’d at least try out the game and give my new Voodoo graphics card something to do. I never looked back. Warrior was the first class I tried–a human, at that. Bread and butter of the fantasy RPG. But it…

A Seat at the Table

GDC is always a mixed bag of usefulness and frustration. There are great sessions to hear and participate in, but also disappointments and stinkers. While writing in video games is kind of my thing, I don’t typically find value in attending the narrative roundtables. The useful bits and helpful advice tend to get overshadowed, at least for me, by frustration. There’s always some amount of  complaining from writers who feel slighted by the development process, or who lament the lack of narrative gigs in the business. It’s not that I don’t sympathize with these points of view, but the roundtables can devolve into venting sessions rather than outlets for creative collaboration. Others may disagree. Your mileage may very. So it was with trepidation that I attended a narrative roundtable at this year’s GDC. And whether my fears proved true or I simply turned it into a self-fulfilling prophecy, the talk became what I…