|Michael Alyn Pondsmith|
April 14, 1954 |
|Occupation||Game designer, graphic designer, writer, teacher|
|Notable work||Mekton, Teenagers from Outer Space, Cyberpunk 2020, Castle Falkenstein|
|Awards||2006 Origins Awards Hall of Fame
1994 Origins Awards Best Roleplaying Rules for Castle Falkenstein
Michael Alyn Pondsmith (born April 14, 1954), typically credited as Mike Pondsmith, is an American roleplaying, board, and video game designer. He is best known for his work for the publisher R. Talsorian Games, where he developed a majority of the company's role-playing game lines since the company's founding in 1982. Pondsmith is credited as an author of several RPG lines, including Mekton (1984), Cyberpunk (1988) and Castle Falkenstein (1994). He also contributed to the Forgotten Realms and Oriental Adventures lines of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, worked in various capacities on video games, and authored or co-created several board games. Pondsmith also worked as an instructor at the DigiPen Institute of Technology.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Early career
- 3 R. Talsorian's hiatus and video game design
- 4 Cyberpunk v3.0
- 5 R. Talsorian Games
- 6 Cyberpunk 2077 video game
- 7 Personal life
- 8 Awards and recognitions
- 9 Board games designed
- 10 Bibliography
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Early life and education
Born into a military family, Mike Pondsmith was the son of a psychologist and an Air Force officer, who traveled around the world with the U.S. Air Force for the first 18 years of his life. He graduated from the University of California, Davis with a B.A. in graphic design and a B.S. in behavioral psychology.:207 Pondsmith recalls that he had been designing games even as a child, but it was not until college that he was introduced to the idea of pen and paper roleplaying games when a friend got a copy of the original Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). Having a lot of naval wargaming experience, he became interested in the gameplay mechanics utilized by D&D but not in the fantasy setting it presented. His interest spiked, however, when he acquired a copy of Traveller, a science fiction role-playing game published in 1977 by Game Designers' Workshop. Dissatisfied with its mechanics, Pondsmith rewrote the game for his personal use under the name Imperial Star. Pondsmith later called Traveller the best roleplaying game he had encountered in the Green Ronin's award winning Hobby Games: The 100 Best.
Before he became a pen and paper game designer, Pondsmith worked in the video game industry as a graphic designer. His first job after college involved designing packaging and advertising materials for the now defunct California Pacific Computer Company (CPCC). Repackaging Japanese games for the Western world market was the main focus of CPCC in its early days. He later moved on to create designs for the original titles produced by Bill Budge and for the early Ultima games designed by Richard Garriott, all of which were published by CPCC. Pondsmith's job at CPCC ended because of problems the owner was having.:207 Pondsmith began working at the University of California, Santa Cruz running a typesetting house.:207 Pondsmith felt he could improve on the combat system of Traveller, and as a result he designed the game Imperial Star in the early 1980s purely for his own amusement.:207
According to Pondsmith, there was not much to do in the area of video game design in the early 1980s due largely to the constraints of available technology. Most of the games released by CPCC were for Apple II machines. However, he was familiar with pen and paper games, which he played at the time, and became interested in paper game design. Thanks to his side-job in typesetting, he had access to very modern (for the time) computers with advanced software used in book and magazine layout. Taking advantage of this access, he wrote a game called Mekton, a mecha game based on Japanese manga books he had stumbled upon in the past. Due to the interest his work on paper games generated, game design consumed his graphic design career (although he continued designing and laying out most of the R. Talsorian Games' books).
Early role-playing games
The first game Pondsmith designed from the ground up was Mekton, a mecha game with heavy manga and anime influences, released in 1984. Pondsmith admitted that he was mostly basing his work on the Mobile Suit Gundam manga written in Japanese, which he had acquired. Not understanding the text, he inaccurately recreated the world dynamics purely from the imagery of the comic books. The game's first public testing occurred at a local convention. The initial public release of Mekton focused on its battle mechanics with no roleplaying elements at all; this made it a pure tactical war-game. The success of Mekton convinced Pondsmith that he could make a business out of game design, and he founded R. Talsorian Games (RTG) in 1985.:207–208 In 1986, Mekton was re-released as a proper roleplaying game with Pondsmith and Mike Jones credited as authors. In 1987, RTG released another of Pondsmith's games inspired by the Japanese manga, Teenagers from Outer Space, (RPGA Gamer's Choice Award).:208 In 1987, Pondsmith released Mekton II, a new edition of the system, featuring mechanics based on the Interlock System, later used with slight modifications in the Cyberpunk line. Teenagers from Outer Space was re-released with significant changes to the mechanics in 1989. Games such as Cyberpunk (later Cyberpunk 2020) and Cyberpunk V3 were translated into 9 languages. Castle Falkenstein (Best Game of 1994), Cybergeneration, and Dream Park soon followed. He also collaborated with the Hero Games designers on the Fuzion system.
Cyberpunk roleplaying game
In 1988 R. Talsorian Games released Mike Pondsmith's Cyberpunk The Roleplaying Game of the Dark Future. Set in the year 2013 (and often referred to as Cyberpunk 2013), the game was a boxed product consisting of three separate books penned by Pondsmith, with Mike Blum, Colin Fisk, Dave Friedland, Will Moss and Scott Ruggels as co-authors. Several expansions by Pondsmith and other authors followed and Pondsmith released Cyberpunk 2020, a handbook with an updated story arc and mechanics, (although existing expansions remained compatible with the new game) in 1990.
Pondsmith designed Cyberpunk 2013 as the second game to use the Interlock system.:208 Pondsmith attributes creation of Cyberpunk to his interest in the genre sparked primarily by Ridley Scott's Blade Runner released in 1982. The motivation behind the Cyberpunk roleplaying game was his desire to recreate the technology and dark, film noir style of the movie. Cyberpunk is the most expansive line of products in the RTG library with forty-four sourcebooks containing over 4,700 pages. The game has had an estimated 5 million players to date.
In 1993, again under the RTG banner, Pondsmith released an alternate timeline for the Cyberpunk line. The sourcebook titled CyberGeneration was further enhanced by additional expansions and a second edition was released in 1995, that built further upon existing, explored themes. A license for the line was later acquired by Jonathan Lavallee, owner of Firestorm Ink, founded specifically to continue RTG's CyberGeneration product line in 2003.
In 1996, Wizards of the Coast licensed Cyberpunk for their collectible card game Netrunner. Designed by Richard Garfield, Netrunner featured locations, entities, and characters familiar to Cyberpunk 2020 players. The game was named one of The Millennium's Most Underrated Games in 1999 in Pyramid magazine published by the Steve Jackson Games. Mike Pondsmith is featured in the game's credits in the 'special thanks' section and makes a cameo appearance as "Omni Kismet, Ph.D." (character's name is an anagram of his). On May 10, 2012, Fantasy Flight Games announced that they would be releasing Android: Netrunner, a new card game based on Netrunner, under license from Wizards of the Coast. Another short-lived card game based on Pondsmith's IP was Cyberpunk CCG,designed by Peter Wacks, and published by Social Games in 2003.
In 1989 West End Games released a Cyberpunk and Paranoia crossover. The game, called Alice Through the Mirrorshades, was designed by Edward Bolme and is compatible with both Cyberpunk and Paranoia games. At least two fan magazines were created around the time of Cyberpunk's peak popularity with Pondsmith's approval: Interface Magazine, which evolved from the unofficial Cyberpunk Update run by Chris Hockabout, and UK-published 'Punk '21.
In 1994, R. Talsorian Games released Pondsmith's steampunk-themed fantasy role-playing game titled Castle Falkenstein. The game's mechanics were based on playing cards, instead of dice, and geared towards live action role-playing. Castle Falkenstein remains Pondsmith's most critically acclaimed game to date with the 1994 Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Rules, and the 1995 Nigel D. Findley Memorial Award for Best Role-Playing Product recognitions. In 2000, Castle Fankenstein was adapted to the GURPS system by James Cambias and Phil Masters, and released by Steve Jackson Games.
Design contributions outside of R. Talsorian Games
Pondsmith was briefly associated with TSR, Inc., where he worked on Buck Rogers XXVc, a science-fiction RPG, and two sourcebooks for the Dungeons & Dragons: Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms for Oriental Adventures in 1988 and Hall of Heroes for Forgotten Realms in 1989. He also made minor, uncredited contributions to the original Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game released in 1987 by West End Games.
Pondsmith has also been president of GAMA (Game Manufacturers Association). In this role, in 1993, he arbitrated an out-of-court settlement between Palladium Books and Wizards of the Coast over Wizards' use of Palladium system integration notes in The Primal Order.:277
R. Talsorian's hiatus and video game design
The late 1990s had been difficult ones for the role-playing game industry and on February 15, 1998, Pondsmith announced that he was turning R. Talsorian into a part-time operation putting his major lines on hiatus.:212 He ceased publication and distribution of Hero Games products and, in September 1998, they separated from RTG.:151 In late 2000, Pondsmith accepted a job offer at Microsoft to produce Xbox games. As a design manager at Microsoft, he contributed to various games (mostly to the lineup of the original Xbox console's exclusive titles) released by the company's Microsoft Game Studios. In MechCommander 2, released in 2001, he played the role of Steel, a character featured in cut-scenes (he also voiced the character for the in-game chatter between characters). He was also credited in Stormfront Studios' Blood Wake released in the same year. The last Microsoft title he was credited with was Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge (2003). In 2004 he left Microsoft to join Monolith Productions where he worked on The Matrix Online (2005). During his time at Microsoft, his wife Lisa Pondsmith kept RTG alive by keeping some books in print and helping to publish a few new books.:212
The idea of a Matrix game was initially pitched internally at Microsoft by Pondsmith and one of his coworkers. Despite advanced talks with the Wachowskis, the film's producers, the project never came to fruition. Pitches to Shiny Entertainment did not succeed either and he later learned that a Matrix game was being worked on at Monolith. Given the opportunity to join the live team (responsible for maintaining the game and producing content post-launch) he decided to join Monolith. Pondsmith ended up doing mission design for the game under the auspices of Online Creative Director and Lead Game Designer Toby Ragaini.
In 2000 Pondsmith announced that he was working on the third edition of Cyberpunk. The work itself started even earlier, right after the release of the Dragon Ball Z Adventure Game in 1999; and the third edition of Cyberpunk was expected to ship soon afterwards. Initially called Cyberpunk 203X, the game was scheduled for a release in the spring of 2001. The first two-page preview of the game was released on August 20, 2001, marking the first pushback of the game's release date. During the prolonged development of the game, Pondsmith released another preview of the third edition of Cyberpunk on December 31, 2004. The game's early manuscript was previewed, and the first public playtesting took place during I-Con in Ronkonkoma, New York between April 8 and 10, 2005. The game was written by Pondsmith, Mike Blum, Colin Fisk, Dave Friedland, Will Moss, and Scott Ruggels and was finally released on December 13, 2005 to mixed reviews.
Illustrations in the game were criticized for being photographs of slightly modified action figures of which Pondsmith was a collector at the time. The game was successful enough, however, to justify several accessories and supplements which were announced immediately after the core book's release. This included DataPack (initially called Dossier Pak), FlashPak, Gangbook and AltCult Insider. Cyberpunk v3.0, much like its predecessors, was influenced by the classic cyberpunk books written by Neal Stephenson and William Gibson, but also incorporated ideas from new literary sources, Japanese animation, and movies. According to Pondsmith, it was designed to become a commentary on the 21st century, corporate influences on everyday life, ideologies of groups, the place of government, warfare and advancements in biotechnology.
Interlock and Fuzion system
In addition to working at RTG, Pondsmith contributed to the Hero Games' Champions line. Working mostly as an editorial assistant on books such as Alliances for the Champions: New Millennium, he was introduced to the Hero Games' mechanics (Hero System) which he later decided to merge with the Interlock System used by most of the RTG's games up to that point. The end result of this process was the Fuzion system used by the later RTG titles, most notably the third edition of the Cyberpunk game. In the foreword to the third edition of Cyberpunk, Pondsmith justified these changes as necessary for streamlining the game, and attracting new players. But like the game itself these were met with mixed reviews. The rights to Fuzion are jointly held by Pondsmith, along with Steve Peterson and Ray Greer of Hero Games.:150
R. Talsorian Games
R. Talsorian Games is a Washington-based roleplaying game publisher. Founded in 1985 in California by Mike Pondsmith, it was one of the first RPG publishers to embrace desktop publishing. Currently Lisa Pondsmith, Mike Pondsmith's wife, serves as a General Manager of the company, with Mike Pondsmith remaining the owner, CEO and lead designer. Regarding the source of the name of the company, Pondsmith has stated that "R. Talsorian is a real person who never plays RPGs". In a 2016 interview he clarified that the name "R. Talsorian" derived from one of the company's investors, a "raisin farmer in Fresno." A fellow game designer, Warren Spector, advised him to avoid naming his company after himself; Pondsmith and his associates heeded that advice by naming their company after "the one person who would never show up at a convention ever," Talsorian.
Mike Pondsmith uses his alter-ego "Maximum Mike" across many of the Cyberpunk books. Unlike reoccurring characters like Morgan Blackhand, Johnny Silverhand or Nomad Santiago, Maximum Mike breaks the fourth wall and talks to the reader directly. Pondsmith's likeness and name, however, were used directly in the Cyberpunk world under different name; he is featured as "Omni Kismet, Ph.D.", one of the characters in the Netrunner CCG (character's name is an anagram of "Mike Pondsmith").
Cyberpunk 2077 video game
On May 30, 2012, it was confirmed that Pondsmith was working with CD Projekt RED on a video game set in the Cyberpunk universe. On October 18, 2012, the game's name and settings were revealed to be Cyberpunk 2077. Immediately afterwards, Brian Crecente was able to confirm with the game's creators that Pondsmith was also working on a new edition of Cyberpunk pen and paper RPG game that would evolve the genre. In the interview for GameSpot, CD Projekt's Marcin Iwinski divulged that Pondsmith's involvement in the video game development mostly focuses on the game world aspect and mechanics and his input, though constant, does not happen on a daily basis due to the distance between the parties. Video game creators as well as Mike Pondsmith and other RTG designers will contribute on the newly formed cyberpunk.net blog.
Pondsmith has a wife, Lisa, and a son, Cody who both work at RTG. Although Mike and Lisa had met earlier, their relationship began around 1977 while both were still in college. They were married in February 1982. Lisa serves as a general manager of RTG and has been credited in various titles, most notably as author alongside Jeff Grubb of The Memoirs of Auberon of Faerie sourcebook for the Castle Falkenstein system; and Cody is credited as a member of the production staff in the Cyberpunk V3.0 supplement Flashpak. He was also involved in the promotion and community communications relating to RTG's steampunk title Castle Falkenstein. Before designing games, Mike Pondsmith worked as an amateur paleontologist. In his spare time he collects plastic GI Joe action figures, prominently featured in Cyberpunk v3.0 core rulebook, and enjoys outdoor activities, reading, as well as playing around with radio-controlled cars and planes.
Pondsmith has been very active in gaming communities and has appeared at many gaming conventions over the years. He was present at many of the Gen Cons which led to his memories of his experiences to be featured in Robin D. Laws' 40 Years of Gen Con published in August 2007 by Atlas Games. He attended I-CON, A-Kon, Norwescon, Origins, DEXCON, DunDraCon and others. Pondsmith was a guest of honor at Ropecon 1999, Astronomicon 2001 and I-CON 25 (March 24–26, 2006). Both Mike and his son Cody run various games during different gaming conventions. Pondsmith also appeared on stage to talk about the Cyberpunk 2077 video game during two of the CD Projekt RED's conferences.
Between years 2010 and 2011 Pondsmith was working in the Department of Game Software Design and Production at the DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, where he taught game design classes. The two courses he taught were Game History (GAT 110) and Game Mechanics I (GAT 210).
Awards and recognitions
Various games designed or co-created by Mike Pondsmith received awards over the years.
- Teenagers from Outer Space received the RPGA Gamer's Choice Award[when?].
- Castle Falkenstein received the Best Roleplaying Rules of 1994 Origins Award.
- Castle Falkenstein received the 1995 Nigel D. Findley Memorial Award for the Best Role-Playing Product.
- Six Guns and Sorcery for Castle Falkenstein written by Edward Bolme, James Cambias, Eric Floch, Angela Hyatt, Jim Parks, Derek Quintanar, Barrie Rosen, Mark Schumann, and Chris Williams received the Best Roleplaying Supplement of 1996 Origins Award.
- Teenagers from Outer Space received the Best Other Category Role-Playing Game of 1987 Origins Gamer's Choice Award.
- Cyberpunk received the Best Science-Fiction Role-Playing Game of 1989 Origins Gamer's Choice Award.
- Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms written by Jay Batista, Deborah Christian, John Nephew, Mike Pondsmith, and Rick Swan received the Best Role-Playing Accessory of 1989 Origins Gamer's Choice Award.
On July 1, 2006, he was inducted into the Origins Awards Hall of fame, along with Jolly R. Blackburn, Rodger MacGowan, Dennis Mize (posthumously), Aaron Allston, and the game Star Fleet Battles.
Board games designed
In 1990, during his time with TSR, Pondsmith co-designed three, two-player board games for the publisher.
- Attack in the Asteroids with Paul Lidberg and Kim Mohan
- Battle for the Sprawls with Paul Lidberg
- Craters of Tharsis with Paul Lidberg
For R. Talsorian Games:
- Mekton (1984) – boxed set, purely a board game
- Mekton: the Game of Japanese Robot Combat (1985) with Mike Jones
- Roadstriker (Mekton) (1986) with Clive Hendrik, Derek Quintanar (ISBN 0-937279-00-5)
- Advanced Combat System (1986) (ISBN 0-937279-02-1)
- Mekton II (1987) (ISBN 0-937279-04-8)
- Teenagers from Outer Space (1987) (ISBN 0-937279-08-0)
- Cyberpunk: The Roleplaying Game of the Dark Future (also known as Cyberpunk 2013) (1988) – boxed set contains: View from the Edge, Friday Night Firefight and Welcome to Night City
- Solo of Fortune (Cyberpunk 2013) (1989) with Colin Fisk, David Friedland, Will Moss, Derek Quintanar, and Scott Ruggels (ISBN 0-937279-06-4)
- Rockerboy (Cyberpunk 2013) (1989) with David Ackerman, Colin Fisk, Will Moss, Scott Ruggels, Sam Shirley, and Glenn Wildermuth (ISBN 0-937279-10-2)
- Near Orbit (Cyberpunk 2013) (1989) with Dave Ackerman, Glenn Wildermuth (ISBN 0-937279-08-0)
- Teenagers from Outer Space: 2nd Edition (1989) (ISBN 0-937279-08-0)
- Roadstriker II (Mekton II) (1990) with Clive Hendrik, Derek Quintanar (ISBN 0-937279-14-5)
- Cyberpunk 2020 (1990) with Mike Blum, Colin Fisk, Dave Friedland, Will Moss, Scott Ruggels (ISBN 0-937279-13-7)
- Night City (Cyberpunk) (1991) with Edward Bolme, Colin Fisk, Mike MacDonald, Will Moss, Lisa Pondsmith, Sam Shirley, John Smith, and Anders Swensen (ISBN 0-937279-11-0)
- Chromebook (Cyberpunk) (1991) with Colin Fisk, Dave Harmer, Mike Masarati, Derek Quintanar, Mike Rotor, John Smith, Kevin Stein, William Tracy, Karl Wu, Andrew Strassmann, Ben Wright, Jeff Hexter, Glenn Goddard, and Marcus Pregent (ISBN 0-937279-17-X)
- Home of the Brave (Cyberpunk) (1992) (credited as contributor with main authors being Edward Bolme, Michael MacDonald, Craig Sheeley, and Ross "Spyke" Winn) (ISBN 0-937279-36-6)
- Chromebook 2 (Cyberpunk) (1992) with Ben Wright, Mike Roler, Jeff Hexter, Marcus Pregent, Craig Sheeley, Mike MacDonald, Ross Winn, Colin Tipton, and Michael Todd (ISBN 0-937279-29-3)
- Dream Park Role Playing Game (1992) (ISBN 0-937279-27-7)
- Operation: Rimfire (Mekton II) (1993) (additional material with main author being Michael MacDonald) (ISBN 0-937279-37-4)
- CyberGeneration (1993) with David Ackerman, Edward Bolme, Karl Wu (ISBN 0-937294-04-7)
- Bastille Day (CyberGeneration) (1993) with David Ackerman, Edward Bolme (ISBN 0-937279-41-2)
- Star Riders (TFOS2) (1993) with Hans Guévin (ISBN 2-921573-10-5)
- MediaFront (Cyberpunk) (1994) (credited for design with authors being David Ackerman, Edward Bolme, Eric Heisserer, Will Moss, and Justin Schmid) (ISBN 0-937279-52-8)
- Listen Up, You Primitive Screwheads!!!! (Cyberpunk) (1994) with Eric Heisserer, Craig Neeley, Mike Roter, Ross Winn, Charlie Wong, and Benjamin Wright (ISBN 0-937279-45-5)
- Eco Front (CyberGeneration) (1994) (credited for design with authors being David Ackerman and Edward Bolme) (ISBN 0-937279-50-1)
- Castle Falkenstein (1994) (ISBN 0-937279-44-7)
- Neo Tribes (Cyberpunk) (1995) (credited for guidance with authors being Eric Oppen and Ross Winn) (ISBN 0-937279-72-2)
- CyberGeneration Evolve or Die Revolution 2 (1995) with David Ackerman, Edward Bolme, and Karl Wu (ISBN 0-937279-74-9)
- Mekton Z (1995) with Mike MacDonald (ISBN 0-937279-54-4)
- Mekton Z Plus (1995) (contributor with main authors being Michael MacDonald and Benjamin Wright) (ISBN 0-937279-60-9)
- The Lost Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (Castle Falkenstein) (1995) with Edward Bolme and Mark Schumann (ISBN 0-937279-68-4)
- Comme Il Faut (Castle Falkenstein) (1995) with Hilary Ayers, Gilbert Milner, Barrie Rosen and Ross "Spyke" Winn (ISBN 0-937279-55-2)
- The Book of Sigils (Castle Falkenstein) (1995) with Edward Bolme, Michael MacDonald, and Mark Schumann (ISBN 0-937279-61-7)
- Steam Age (Castle Falkenstein) (1995) with David Ackerman, Paul A. Lidberg, Derek Quintanar, Barrie Rosen, Mark Schumann, and Chris Williams (ISBN 0-937279-56-0)
- Starblade Battalion (Mekton) (1996) with Michael MacDonald, Mark Schumann, and Benjamin Wright (ISBN 0-937279-78-1)
- Mekton Empire (1996) (credited as source material author and interior artist with author being Guy W. McLimore Jr.) (ISBN 0-9737271-5-2)
- Mecha Manual 2: Invastion Terra Files (Mekton) (1996) credited as editor with authors being Craig Sheely and Benjamin Wright (ISBN 0-937279-69-2)
- Rache Bartmoss' Brainware Blowout (1996) with David Ackerman-Gray, Edward Bolme, Craig Sheeley, Chris Williams and Benjamin Wright (ISBN 0-937279-84-6)
- Teenagers from Outer Space 3rd edition (1997) (ISBN 0-932799-94-9)
- The Memoirs of Auberon of Faerie (Castle Falkenstein) (1997) (credited for layout and design with authors being Lisa Pondsmith and Jeff Grubb) (ISBN 0-937279-64-1)
- Champions, New Millennium: Alliances (1997) (ISBN 0-937279-88-9)
- Bubblegum Crisis: Before and After (1997) (credited for other writing contributions) (ISBN 0-937279-92-7)
- The DragonBall Z Adventure Game (1999) with Paul Sudlow (ISBN 1-891933-00-0)
- Mekton Zeta (2000) with Mike MacDonald (ISBN 0-937279-95-1)
- Reprint from 1995 under ANimechaniX brand with new cover and no color interior
- Dragonball Z Book 2: The Frieza Saga (2001) (ISBN 1-891933-04-3)
- Cyberpunk v3.0 (2005) with Lisa Pondsmith and Will Moss (ISBN 1-891933-03-5)
- Cyberpunk Flashpak (2006) (ISBN 1-891933-19-9)
- Beyond the Edge: Inside the Edgerunner Altcult (2008) with Ken MacKriell (ISBN 978-1-891933-22-6)
- Mekton Zero (2015)
- The Witcher: Role-Playing Game (2016) with CD Projekt RED
- Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Oriental Adventures) (1988) with Jay Batista, Deborah Christian, John Nephew, Rick Swan (ISBN 0-88038-608-8)
- Hall of Heroes (Forgotten Realms) (1989) with Jeff Grubb, James Lowder, David Edward Martin, Bruce Nesmith, Kate Novak, Steve Perrin, R. A. Salvatore (ISBN 0-88038-711-4)
- Buck Rogers XXVc: The 25th Century Science Fiction Role Playing Game (1990)
- Boxed set contains: Characters & Combat, The World Book, The Technology Book, maps, cards, counters
- "About RTG". R. Talsorian Games. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
- "Catalog for the Academic Year 2010-2011" (PDF). DigiPen Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
- Pondsmith, Mike (2007). "Traveller". In Lowder, James. Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. 331–334. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0.
- "I-CON 27 :: April 4-6, 2008 at Stony Brook University". I-CON. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
- Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
- "DigiPen PodClass Issue 5, September 2006". DigiPen Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
- "DigiPen PodClass Issue 6, October 2006". DigiPen Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
- Jerry LeNeave (2010-03-02). "Interview with a Game Designer: Mike Pondsmith". Words In The Dark. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
- Alan De Smet. "Hobby Games: The 100 Best Contents". Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. 2007. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0.
- "Interview Mike Pondsmith (Cyberpunk 2020, Castle Falkenstein)". Mouais. November 19, 2010. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- "Mekton (1984 R. Talsorian Games edition)". RPGnet. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- Gamestorm. "GameStorm Guests 2011".
- "Interlock Product Listing". RPGnet. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- "CD Projekt RED Group Summer Conference 2012". Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- "About Us". Firestorm-Ink. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Interview: Jonathan Lavallee, Publisher of Cybergeneration". LivingDice. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Netrunner Base Set". Netrunner Online Hub. August 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Omni Kismet Phd.". NETRUNNER-L Archives. 7 October 1999. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Android: Netrunner The Card Game". Fantasy Flight Games. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Cyberpunk: The Collectible Card Game". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- Blechpirat der Mörderische. "'punk '21?". cyberpunk2020.de. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- Wisdom000. "Reference Data". Datafortress 2020. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Castle Falkenstein". R. Talsorian Games. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- "GURPS Castle Falkenstein". Steve Jackson Games. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- "Michael Alyn Pondsmith". Guide du Rôliste Galactique. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- "Mike Pondsmith". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "Mike Pondsmith". MobyGames. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "Mike Pondsmith". IMDb. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "Our Games Are Built On Paper". Escapist Magazine. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "What's New?". R. Talsorian Games. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "The News". R. Talsorian Games. Archived from the original on 2005-07-06. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Cyberpunk V3 preview" (PDF). R. Talsorian Games. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Cyberpunk v3.0 Sneak Preview". Chimera Mag. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Ratings for Cyberpunk". RPGnet. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "R. Talsorian Games". R. Talsorian Games. Archived from the original on 2002-11-20. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- "I-CON 25 :: March 24–26 at Stony Brook University". I-CON. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- aeon (January 1, 2005). "Cyberpunk 203X: A Chat With Mike Pondsmith". gamegrene.com. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- Isaac Wheeler (September 5, 2016). "A Conversation with Mike Pondsmith, Creator of Cyberpunk 2020". neondystopia.com. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
- Cyberpunk 2020. R. Talsorian Games. 1990. p. 186. ISBN 0-937-279-13-7.
"Life in 2020 isn't just all guns and drugs, if it was, we woulda named the game Dungeons & Drug Dealers. The best Cyberpunk games are a combination of doomed romance, fast action, glittering parties, mean streets and quixotic quests to do the right thing against all odds. It's a little like Casablanca with cyberware..." - Maximum Mike
- Nathan Grayson (19 June 2012). "Interview: CD Projekt On Cyberpunk, Future Of DRM". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "CD Projekt Red's New RPG: Cyberpunk". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "CD Projekt RED's Cyberpunk now Cyberpunk 2077". Joystiq. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "CD Projekt RED reveals Cyberpunk 2077". CD Projekt RED. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- Brian Crecente (12 June 2012). "Cyberpunk 2020 getting not just a video game, but a new tabletop game as well". Polygon. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "THE REVENGE OF CYBERPUNK (and why I want to punch K. W. Jeter in the face)". LivingDice. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Twin Suns Entertainment and the Fourth Generation of RPGs". Advanced Dungeons and Parenting. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Cyberpunk, Game Piracy, and Next-gen Hardware". GameSpot. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Part 1 of Mike Pondsmith's Introduction". CD Projekt RED (cyberpunk.net). Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Part 2 of Mike Pondsmith's Introduction". CD Projekt RED (cyberpunk.net). Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Part 3 of Mike Pondsmith's Introduction". CD Projekt RED (cyberpunk.net). Retrieved 2012-12-12.
- "Geek Love Rules - Lisa Pondsmith". DriveThruRPG. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- "Cody Pondsmith". Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- "Monday Bronyday: Mike Pondsmith plays Unknown Ponies". Lurking Rhythmically. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- Derek Pearcy. "GenCon '95 – An Unofficial Perspective". Steve Jackson Games. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- Robin D. Laws (16 August 2007). 40 Years of Gen Con. Atlas Games. ISBN 1-58978-097-3.
- "2009 Guests". GameStorm. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- "Links". A Universe of fannish links. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- "Games at Steamcon". Steamcon. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- "Catalog for the Academic Year 2009-2010" (PDF). DigiPen Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- "Catalog for the Academic Year 2011-2012" (PDF). DigiPen Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- "Game Design and Development (GAT)". DigiPen Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
- "The 1994 Origins Awards - Presented at Origins 1995". Origins Awards. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "The 1995 Origins Awards - Presented at Origins 1996". Origins Awards. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "Origins Gamer's Choice Awards". RPGnet. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "AAGAD Hall of Fame - Hall of Fame Inductees". Origins Awards. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- Panzeri Jr., Peter F. (2006-07-01). "32nd Hall of Fame Inductees Announced" (PDF). Talsorian. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- "Mike Pondsmith". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "R. Talsorian Games Product Listing". RPGnet. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "Mike Pondsmith". RPGGeek. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- "Mike Pondsmith". Pen & Paper RPG Database. Archived from the original on 2004-12-17. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- "Books by Mike Pondsmith (Author of Castle Falkenstein)". Goodreads. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- "Michael Pondsmith". LibraryThing. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- Jackson, Steve; Pondsmith, Mike; Wujcik, Erick (July–August 1993), "The Future of Gaming", Pyramid Classic, Steve Jackson Games
- "Mekton Zeta (2000 R. Talsorian Games / ANimechaniX edition)". RPGnet. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
- "CD PROJEKT RED and R.TALSORIAN GAMES Announce The Witcher Role-Playing Game". July 29, 2015. Retrieved July 31, 2015.