The game was developed by Robinson Technologies, released in 1997 with a shareware version online. In 1999, Seth released the game as freeware, and can be downloaded here. Even later, Dink became open source (using a variant of the license of zlib) in hopes of making it available on more systems. (If your operating system isn't supported by official freeware version, there may be a version of GNU FreeDink, which replaces all components not covered by the zlib-like license, available.)
The game also includes tools for creating new adventures for Dink called "D-Mods". One D-Mod by the developer, Mystery Island, is included with the official release of the game (GNU FreeDink users will need to install it separately using the included DFArc utility). Other D-Mods, along with the bulk of the Dink community, can be found at The Dink Network.
Examples of tropes from Dink Smallwood:
- Always Chaotic Evil: Goblins. With the exception of one living on the nearby beach, the goblins that reside in the Goblin Sanctuary are not friendly, and will always deal damage to you through Collision Damage even if you don't provoke them.
- Asshole Victim: You uncle, Jack, is consistently rude to you and abuses his wife Maria. If you decide to beat him to death, he stays dead for the rest of the game without any effect to the plot. In fact, your aunt gets over it in a minute.
- Author Avatar: Seth Robinson, the game's designer, appears as the Final Boss.
- Awesome, but Impractical: For the point in the game where it's obtained (right before The Very Definitely Final Dungeon), Hellfire is outclassed by your physical attacks in terms of damage output over time, in addition to many late-game monsters (including Stone Giants and Dragons) being very resistant or outright immune to magic and its agonizingly slow charging time making it impractical to use even if you collected all of the purple magic-boosting potions from the overworld.
- Betting Mini-Game: The giant ducks of Koka Isle have fights between each other. The host duck invites Dink to place bets on which side he thinks will win.
- Big "NO!": When Dink sees his burning house and his mother in it.
- Bottomless Magazines: You never run out of arrows in the game.
- Broken Bridge: Your first time into Cerris, the bridge leading into the nearby town of Windemere is out, and will not be repaired until you complete the quest in Kernsin.
- Chivalrous Pervert: The degree of chivalry is partly for the player to decide, but Dink is always a pervert.
- Cruelty Is the Only Option: The citizens of Windemere worship and offer their meals to the local duck population in their sanctuary to the point of starving themselves. You must enter the sanctuary and kill every duck inside to trigger an event that unlocks a hidden tunnel to Joppa Isle.
- Death of a Child: The Dead Dragon Carcass Cult is made of what appear to be young girls, though they turn out to be demonic shapeshifters, transforming into Boncas after you reveal yourself. A more straightforward example is that Mary, the young girl being held hostage, can be caught in the crossfire, costing you the quest (and your life) if she dies. You can off your gossipy neighbor with no consequence, though.
- Die, Chair, Die!: A running gag, both on the main game and some D-MODS. A quarter of the fun is in finding what inanimate things answer to your violence.
- Domestic Abuse: Dink sees his aunt Maria being beaten by her husband, which he apparently does a lot.
- Easing into the Adventure: The game starts with your mom asking you to feed the pigs.
- Game Mod: Fan-made adventures ("D-MODS") are still produced to this day.
- Golem: Stone Giants are gorilla golems that inhabit the Edge of the World and, fittingly, are some of the tankiest monsters in the game.
- Heart Container: Golden hearts boost Dink's maximum health.
- Hellfire: The spell that bears its name. Functionally, it is an upgraded version of the Fire spell.
- Incest Subtext: After killing her abusive husband, you suggest to your aunt Maria sharing a bed with her because yours is too small. She refuses for obvious reasons, with Dink only responding with "And?"
- Jerk Jock: Milder Flatstomp. While Dink is questing, Milder wins a jousting tournament and becomes a knight.
- Killer Rabbit: Within the Darklands is a flock of hostile ducks that you must kill to advance.
- Law of Cartographical Elegance: Inverted. The countryside is a blobby landmass surrounded by question-marked land.
- Limited Animation: The design and animation of the in-game models are very basic. Characters have a tendency to walk around sideways even when they're moving in a cardinal direction. It suits the game's lo-fi charm and absurdist atmosphere.
- Ludicrous Gibs: Blood splatter happens a lot in this game. Decapitating or exploding livestock deserves special mention.
- The Lost Woods: Murkwood Forest, home of the Dead Dragon Carcass cult.
- Major Injury Underreaction: The duck fights that occur between the giant ducks of Koka Isle cause the loser to utter "You win this time." or "You've beaten me." while decapitated.
- Monster Town: The Goblin Sanctuary.
- Mordor: The Darklands, which serves as the final area of the game before the Final Boss and is home to many dragons and other high-powered monsters.
- Parental Abandonment: Dink's father is notably absent.
- Playing with Fire: The first spell Dink learns is a fireball spell, and some trees are flammable, hiding underground treasure troves.
- Port Town: A city called PortTown is mentioned several times, but is otherwise never seen in-game.
- Religion of Evil: The Dead Dragon Carcass Cult.
- Science Is Bad: In Mystery Island.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: During the boss fight with the demonized Bishop Nelson's Dead Dragon Carcass Cult, your fight for your life is accented by... Blue Danube.
- Stone Wall: Taken to a ridiculous extreme with a lone pig in the Darklands. It isn't hostile and has no attacks, but it has large amount of health and will give 5000 experience points if slain.
- Surreal Humor: The game presents itself as a boilerplate fantasy game but then it's full of bizarre non-sequiturs and unexpected stabs of black comedy. This is first seen when Dink chastises his neighbor's pet duck to return home after running off, whereupon the duck says "Bite me." Dink can also do and say some decidedly unheroic things that are played for absurd comedy.
- Swiss-Cheese Security: Lampshaded in a house in KernSin.Man: What the hell are you doing?
Dink: What do you mean?
Man: I mean you just barging in here, no knocking, nothing! What's with that?
Dink: (pause) And there's like... something WRONG with that?
- Unique Enemy: There are two variations of the Pillbug enemy in the overworld that appear exactly once and don't respawn. These include a Pillbug in the starting area that uses Boss Banter to taunt the player and speeds up when hit, and a giant Pillbug that is naturally fast and has slightly more health than the normal and strong varieties encountered elsewhere.
- Useless Useful Spell: The scroll chant spell is only used once to enter Murkwood Forest.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can attack not only enemies, but almost any NPC in the game. Some get annoyed at you, some beg you to stop, and some can actually be killed. And some dialogue options can be even more cruel than that: your aunt is a victim of Domestic Abuse, and you get the option to encourage her husband to further beat her.
- Wife-Basher Basher: Jack, your aunt Maria's husband, regularly beats her. If this pisses you off, you're given the option to kill him, though he's a very challenging enemy at the point in the game where you first meet him.