An Interview with Robert Woodhead, Creator of the Genre-Defining RPG, Wizardry

Robert Woodhead, inventor of the modern RPG videogame, is discovered hiding in plain sight amongst a community of sci-fi sandbox sociopaths. (Part 1 of 5)

Featured Columnist

Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.

Published Feb. 7th 2013
  • Mat Westhorpe
    Featured Columnist
    I think we can agree that there was a movement in the late seventies and early eighties that defined the RPG genre for the decades to come and Robert Woodhead's contribution was a key part of that. There were many creatives in play at the time, including Richard Garriott and his top-down strategy view Ultima series (and the less successful first-person Akalabeth that preceded it). The transition of pen-and-paper RPG material as championed by the likes of Gygax and Livingstone was spearheaded by Woodhead and his peers.

    They're all legends in my opinion.
  • Kuan Yida
    I was an enormous Wizardry addict, as were many of my friends. My brother's band had a song called "Makanito." The full and proper name of the song was "Makanito Kills Poison Giants."

    Temple of Apshai was a bit primitive--I think Wizardry is still technically the first of the true genre. Otherwise I'd say HACK was the first.
  • Mat Westhorpe
    Featured Columnist
    A tweet is hardly the place for detailed descriptions and pinpoint accuracy. Wizardry, along with Richard Garriot's works, were the first titles which launched a genre. Robert himself said that the titles were developed independently without knowledge of each other. Irrespective of who was first to market, I still think it's hugely impressive.
  • Poetic Stanziel
    Featured Contributor
    Temple of Apshai and Akalabeth: World of Doom predate Wizardry. Your tweet suggested that Wizardry was the first in the genre.

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