Grendel's Cave Logo
|Developer(s)||Grendel Enterprises, L.L.C.|
|Release date(s)||August 1, 1998|
Grendel's Cave is a real-time browser-based role-playing video game. It is published by Grendel Enterprises and runs exclusively on the Internet. It is based on Anglo-Saxon mythology and Beowulf, and is set in the historical medieval period. It is considered both an artistic depiction of Grendel and the poem, Beowulf, as well as a modern adaptation and a derivative work of the epic. It has been online since 1998. Grendel's Cave is used as an Internet learning aid for medieval literature and is considered an online Beowulf resource.
Literary Significance 
Grendel's Cave is an online Beowulf resource that goes beyond the written text by allowing players to participate in the story. It is considered a modern adaptation of the original Beowulf poem. Glenco McGraw-Hill uses the site as part of their Study Guide for Beowulf. Educational websites use Grendel's Cave as an online reference for Medieval literature.
Mars Software Products wrote the first version of Grendel's Cave in 1981 as a single-player video game for the SWTPC 6800 microcomputer. This version was a fully text-based game but included many of the features of the later Internet incarnations of the game. It was based on an older pen and paper dungeon game with the same name.
In 1997 Grendel's Net took over the project and began development of an Internet version of the game. Grendel's Net's development was conducted as an experiment in Classic ASP and Microsoft SQL 6.0 programming for the World Wide Web. Version 1.0 was rolled out in August 1998. This version ran until July 2001. The last year of its run was plagued by hacking and cheats which finally brought about the demise of the game.
In early 2005 Grendel Enterprises acquired the rights to all of Grendel's Net assets. Grendel Enterprises' programmers found the original Grendel's Cave source code on an old database server in an office closet. Soon after, they started work on Grendel's Cave v2.0. The first beta, v1.8A, was rolled out on April 1, 2005 and over the next two years was followed by four more pre-2.0 versions, 1.8B, 1.8C, 1.9, and 2.0 betas. Finally, on November 11, 2007, version 2.0 went live. Version 2.0 contained many aspects of the original Grendel's Cave with the addition of many Norse mythological elements and NPCs.
In 2010 Grendel Enterprises released version 2.1. It expanded the Quests available in the game, relaxed all of the anti-bot measures and made it easier for new players to get started by greatly reducing their penalty for death.
Grendel Enterprises is currently working on version 3.0, an ASP.NET rewrite of the existing code.
Grendel's Cave's graphics and user interface have remained mostly unchanged throughout its history, giving it and old and outdated look.
On 30 August 2011, it was announced that Grendel's Cave would suspend operations while it undergoes a major upgrade to version 2.5 and that it would return on 27 September 2011. On the morning of 12 September 2011, Grendel's Cave was no longer available and the site was replaced with a Test Pattern page. On 24 September 2011, it was announced that the game would not return on the date planned and that it would not return until early November 2011. Grendel's Cave v2.5 went online on 13 November 2011 and is still running as of today.
Gameplay involves creating Thanes, the player characters in the game, killing monsters, primarily found in Grendel's Cave, increasing value and stats and collecting items. Thanes obtain gold rings, the game's currency, by selling obtained items or Singing of Deeds before King Hrothgar. They gain magical abilities by visiting the Witch or through acquired items. Ultimately this leads players to complete quests and earn amulets, by traveling to other worlds, trade in those earned amulets for the Yggdrasil amulet and thus be allowed to kill Grendel. Killing Grendel is the ultimate objective of the game. After killing Grendel there is a secondary objective, killing Grendel's Mother, and then a tertiary objective, killing The Dragon.
At any one time there are many kingdoms running, with a Grendel in each kingdom to be killed, of several different kingdom types. The different kingdom types range from beginner to advanced, with increasing difficulty and requirements for killing Grendel, occasionally tournament style or championship kingdoms and personal kingdoms that can be custom configured by individual players. The less advanced kingdoms are generally non-PVP, while the more advanced kingdoms allow PVP and player killing.
Killing Grendel in any of the more advanced kingdoms earns the player's Thane a place on the hall of fame. To date 129 Thanes have earned a spot on the hall of fame.
Plot and Setting 
Grendel's Cave is based on the Anglo-Saxon poem, Beowulf. It is set in King Hrothgar's, king of the Danes, kingdom in the early 6th century. The kingdom is in the middle of its war with Grendel. Grendel is an AI monster, who performs many tasks, most of them nasty, involving killing or harassing Thanes in the game. It contains many Norse mythology elements but also contains anachronistic elements as well as many references to historical events and items and popular culture. It encompasses Norse cosmology, with each of the nine worlds represented in the game. Player's Thanes can travel to these worlds and complete quests. Thanes can take on other than human characteristics, including Valkyrie, Berserkers, Tricksters, and Shape-Shifters, among others.
|Version||Start Date||End Date||Slayer Count||Notes|
||First Web version, Free|
||Live, pay to play version
Enhanced security features
Clone of original 1.0 version
|2.0 Beta||2007-02-23||2007-11-11||None, Grendel declared winner||Free
Norse elements/Quests added
||Free, pay for advanced features|
||Free, pay for advanced features
Easier Startup Conditions
||Free, pay for advanced features
Easing of the game
- Wray, David (2004), Literacy: Major Themes in Education, IV: Literacy: New literacies, the impact of technology, RoutledgeFalmer, p. 208, ISBN 0-415-27712-4
- Sutton, John William, "BEOWULFIANA: MODERN ADAPTATIONS OF BEOWULF", University of Rochester: Rossell Hope Robbins Library, retrieved 16 June 2010
- Study Guide for Beowulf: A translation by Burton Raffel, Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, p. 4, ISBN 0-07-823546-4
- Balser, Walter F., SchoolAtlas Academic Database, retrieved 17 June 2010
- Vanderwater, Kurt (7 June 2010). "Oklahoma Programmers Give Life to Literary Online Game". The Worx Company. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
- Cook, John (26 January 2009). "Grendel’s Cave Interview: Looking at a Classic Browser Based Game". Zygor Guides. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
- Webster, Blake (21 April 2010). "A Review of Grendel's Cave". GoofyMobile. Retrieved 25 June 2010.