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Dungeon Master is My Childhood Favorite

Of course, the winner of the top ten PC games of my childhood is Dungeon Master.


Dungeon Master had a ton of firsts.  3D realtime combat, 3D realtime movement, 3D audio, falling damage, dynamic spell system, and on and on...  I could gush about this game for hours.

When I think of spell systems that are fun, I think of Dungeon Master.  Its spell system allowed you to combine symbols to make spells.  Symbols represented different things such as amount of power, elemental, types, etc.  You could spend hours trying to find spells in their system.  You could find scrolls that had complete spells in the dungeon, as well.  Skills trained up through usage, so if you discovered a fireball spell early on (before you found the scroll) and used it over and over down a hallway, you would train up the relevant skill (and be able to cast better fireballs).

Items falling onto the ground had been done before.  I don't remember a game that would let you throw items down a hallway and have them hit a target (psuedo-3D), then fall to the ground for you to collect.  Throwing stones down a hallway for them to land on a pressure plate to cause something to happen (doors open/close, pits open/close) was a mechanic they used in their puzzles.


Death in the game made you haul your friend's bones to a resurrection altar.  The sight of seeing a party member die and all their stuff fall to the ground with their bones on top of it I don't remember seeing before, either.  Those bones were heavy to carry and you had to dump all sorts of stuff to haul some dead schlub back to the altar (if there was an altar nearby).

Combat had cooldowns on actions.  I'm not sure which RPG had combat actions with cooldowns first (Final Fantasy and Dungeon Master shipped in the same year - 1987).

I played this game with many friends looking over my shoulder.  We coined the phrase "left is best" for navigating mazes.  We'd chant our maze phrase whenever we came to a branch in a hallway (I found that I did that in Fallout 3 last month, so it's stuck with me).


A free java version of the game is available at:



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