If you have, like myself, been dragged kicking and screaming by relatives and friends into the hellish nightmare reputation grind that is online social networking, you may be able to take some solace from the fact that there is a refuge for nerds even in these deep dark depths of despair. If you subscribe to the behemoth of online friend networks, Facebook, it will be well worth checking out the charming Dungeons and Dragons Tiny Adventures.
A nice in-depth review can be found here on the ever impressive Tor.com
For such a simple interface, in such an unlikely gaming environment, it provides one of the more compelling fantasy RPG adventures that I’ve had in a while. The little adventure stages, with their descriptive and evocative text, rather than the simple “WINNAR!” or “EPIC FAIL!” that would have been so much simpler for the developers to employ, take the game a level above what one would expect from a miniature application tucked into a social networking site. I find myself excited to log in and find out what adventure my character undertook and whether they were successful, it’s like reading a mini adventure story with your character at the center of it all, just as RPGs are supposed to be; the text is short but descriptive, and your imagination, assuming it is above the level of a lobotomised newt, can fill in the blanks and produce the visuals, as one does with any compelling storytelling.
I’ve yet to try adventuring with friends, but seeing as I have at least TWO WHOLE friends on Facebook who might be interested in trying it out, I expect I’ll have a go sooner or later.
A word of warning though, the game has been suffering with the usual launch problems, in particular I think their network/database back-end is having trouble coping with the number of players, and I assume that this may well only get worse as word gets around about this nifty! little application, that a lot of grown-up MMOs could learn a thing or two about usability and pure essence of fun from.
To that end my dwarf warlord is off adventuring through the Stronghold of the Drow again, starting from level one due to a rollback that had to be performed which reverted to a date before I had started playing, and even now I frequently experience the frustrating +1 Message of “Too many connections”.
However, should you wish to undertake this adventure, and should you make it past the demon-headed database dog of doom, you will find a tiny experience of what online RPG games should be about.