Release Date :
August 31st, 1984
Although it was originally programmed in BASIC in 1976 by Daniel Lawrence while attending Purdue University, DND would go on to enjoy several years of additional ports and coding that ultimately resulted in its "official" 1984 release by R.O. Software of Plano, Texas.Â The title of the game is shared with a similar but completely unrelated project that emerged on the PLATO system in 1975, though the acronym for that game has always been displayed in all lowercase.Â The titles leave little speculation that they were directly influenced by Dungeons & Dragons (originally published in 1974 by TSR) and are some of the earliest CRPGs ever created by anyone, anywhere.
In DND, the player creates a character by rolling the six classic D&D attributes and then choosing between a cleric, fighter, or magician.Â From there, you can choose to enter one of five different dungeons: The Cavern, Lamorte, Shvenk's Lair, Telengard, or The Warren.Â The dungeon of Telengard sounds familiar for good reason - Mr. Lawrence went on to create Telengard as a similar but real-time title and release it commercially through Avalon Hill in 1982.
Although commonly referred to as a roguelike, DND has a few elements that differentiates it from other such titles.Â First, all five of the dungeons are static, with only the encounters and treasure within being randomly generated.Â Secondly, only the immediate portion of the dungeon where the character is adventuring is displayed to the player, making it important for players to keep track of their whereabouts at all times.Â Most players will likely find that learning the early levels of each dungeon doesn't take too long, courtesy of the game's challenging difficulty and lack of character saves.
Within each dungeon, the player will encounter a host of monsters ranging from bugbears to minotaurs to dopplegangers, an assortment of magic items (weapons, armor, shields, rings of regeneration, elven boots, and elven cloaks), and a variety of landmarks, including pits, thrones, altars, fountains, trapped puzzle boxes, and more.Â The player must return to the dungeon exit in order for their character to level up from any experience and gold they've earned, at which time they'll gain hit points and additional spell castings (cleric or magician only, four total spell levels each).