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  ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ Tabletop Goes Digital  
Posted 2007-08-21 by Tony Walsh
I first started playing the legendary tabletop role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons around 1980 with my grade-school friends, so it's with a veteran's eye I've watched the game morph over the years and through its various editions. Although I haven't been following D&D closely, my understanding is that the game has been "dumbed down" in recent years in order to lower the barrier to participation. In the last year or so, it seems to have returned to its roots as little more than a miniatures-based battle game.

Earlier this month the 4th Edition of D&D was announced, including D&D Insider, an internet-based platform for the game allowing players to connect remotely. Today, technology developer Vivox (about which I've previously written) announced it will be bringing voice communication to D&D Insider. So much for the venerable tabletop.

Maybe I'm wallowing in nostalgia, but the best role-playing game experiences usually involve face-to-face participation. I ran a 3 year-long D&D campaign using Neverwinter Nights a few years ago, and while the digital environment is great for bringing people together from all parts of the world, it lacks the visceral quality that tabletop and live-action gaming is drenched in. Scenes painted by the human imagination trump the best computer graphics any day of the week.
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Comment posted by MattMihaly
August 21, 2007 @ 1:45 pm
Tony wrote:

Scenes painted by the human imagination trump the best computer graphics any day of the week.

Darn right. That's why there's still a fanatical userbase surrounding text MUDs. No graphical virtual world comes close to competing with them on immersion.

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