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The Legend of Tolkien and Computer Games

Joy Bhattacherjee
February 10, 2018

The Legend of Tolkien and Computer Games

The works of J.R.R. Tolkien and it’s influence on modern Computer Games through Dungeons & Dragons.

Joy Bhattacherjee

February 10, 2018


  1. “And some things that should not have been forgotten were

    lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the ring passed out of all knowledge.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien, Lord Of The Rings
  2. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien 1892 - Born in South Africa

    1895 - Leaves of England Father passes Home at Worcestershire, Schooling at Birmingham 1900 - Mother Converts to Catholic 1904 - Mother passes away Fostered by Father Morgan
  3. Studied Latin & Anglo-Saxon Found Conlanging in his teens -

    Animalic, with cousins - Nevbosh - Naffarian 1909 - The Book of Foxrook - Invented Scripts 1911 - Exter College, Oxford - Classics - English language and literature 1914 - First World War 1925 - Prof. of Anglo-Saxon, Oxford Bag End Manor Outbuilding, Dormston
  4. Early Works Middle English Translations Sir Gawain and The Green

    Knight One of the more famous Arthurian Chivalric Poems about Knights of Round Table versus the Giant Green Knight Sir Orfeo About a King rescuing his wife from a fairy King Old English Translations Beowulf Old English Tale of the Scandinavian mythic hero Beowulf versus the monster Grendel To that spot that I in speche expoun I entred in that erber grene In Augoste in a hygh seysoun Quen corne is corven wyth crokes kene. On huyle ther perle hit trendeled doun Schadowed this wortes ful schyre and schene: Gilofre, gyngure, and gromylyoun, And pyonys powdered ay bytwene. Yif hit was semly on to sene A fayr reflayr yet fro hit flot. Ther wonys that worthyly, I wot and wene, My precious perle wythouten spot ~ Pearl, middle English Poem
  5. Influences Beren and Luthien Beren a mortal falls in love

    with the elven maiden Luthien. He is tasked by her father to steal one Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown. Beren and Luthien manages to steal it with the help of the hound Huan. But loses it in the maw of the great wolf Carcharoth. The Silmaril is won after the hero hunts down Carcharoth. Culhwch & Olwen, (Welsh) Mortal prince Culhwch falls in love with Olwen, a Giant’s daughter. The Giant sets Culhwch to many impossible tasks to win the hand of his daughter. He hunts down the great boar Twrch Trwyth, and kills the Giant to finally marry Olwen. He is helped by faithful hounds Garm, Gelert and Cafall.
  6. Children of Hurin Classic tragedy about the son of Hurin,

    Turin Turambar and his sister Nienor. Kalevala, Story of Kullervo (Finnish) Tragic tale of Kullervo and his sister. Gimli The Dwarven Race Nibelungen (German Epic) Alberich the Dwarf The One Ring & Anduril / Narsil Ring of Power, Reforged swords Der Ring des Nibelung Magic ring forged by Alberich that grants power to rule and a broken sword reforged
  7. Gandalf and the 12 dwarfs: Thorin, Dwalin, Balin,Ori, Nori, Dori,

    Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Filli, Killi, Oin, Gloin Names taken from the Norse Epics Prose and Poetic Edda Rohirrim Names and culture Anglo-saxons Red Book of Westmarch Red Book of Herghest (Welsh vellum) Elves Semi-divine beings who were exiled and faded away on death Tuatha Dé Danann (Celtic) Semi-divine beings who migrated to Ireland, and engaged in fierce battle with the natives. Later exiled to underground where they faded. High Elves / Gray Elves Calaquendi / Moriquendi (Nordic Elves) Balrog on the bridge of Khazad Dum Surtur the Fire Giant on Birfrost (Norse)
  8. D&D

  9. Story of the first CRPG: Colossal Cave Adventure Mammoth Cave,

    Kentucky Willie ‘the thief’ Crowther (DARPA) Dan Woods (SAIL)
  10. D&D on PLATO Mainframe, 1970s Moria, PLATO Mainframe Akalabeth, Apple

    II 1981 Ultima I Multi-platform 1981 Wizardry: Proving Grounds of The Mad Overlord, Multi-Platform 1981 Rogue, Unix, 1980
  11. WORLD CHARACTERS CONFLICT QUEST Author defined Author Sketched Author Scripted

    Reader cannot influence choices Pre-built / Self-defined Self-created within world ruleset Scripted campaigns with freedom of choice / self-written Choices + Randomness = Emergent Developer-built Limited by Computing Power Self-created within world ruleset Scripted campaigns with freedom of choice Very limited choices as all possible paths cannot be simulated