I was reading through the history of TSR and the Gygax/Arneson stuff of the early '80s when I came across this video from 1985 where 60 Minutes did a piece on D&D. Basically the video is about how if you played D&D you would probably end up killing yourself or someone else. The best thing that could have happened in that interview with Gygax was for him to pull out a +4 sword of bullshit slaying and lop the head off. Blah blah blah. In summary, that video is the retelling of the age old story of how we seek to place blame on largely benign objects and seemingly esoteric practices when in fact our own flaws and shortcomings should be examined instead. Anyway. Everyone pretty much knows and has read the nonsense over D&D from those days so I'll not beat that dead horse.
I remember this fear talk because around the same time as this video, I was about nine years old and loving me some D&D. I had friends that loved it too and that game served as a common ground upon which we could meet and talk and play. Adults and their fear-mongering be damned!
I feel like I owe a lot to D&D and I owe a lot to my parents for not having given in to the hysteria surrounding the game. D&D is what I played and knew as a nine year old and it was a catalyst for my imagination, a fountain of ideas and dreams, and a way of escaping my own geographic solitude (a large farm in Eastern Kentucky). D&D offered up a way that I could take an idea and give it weight. It allowed me to create context in my imagination at an early age. It made me want to read and write and draw. It made me want to study and explore and learn. It allowed me to interact with other awkward kids my age.
So, all this made me think about playing games and why I have loved them since Ed Bradley and BADD were shitting all over the red box. It also made me think about the way I play and design games now. And here it is. I played and designed then to escape and have fun and I play and design now to escape and have fun. I like to run adventures where the players are part of a story, where that story is part of a larger story. I like games that make me feel like I am part of something larger. I like games that inspire and give me the desire to create.
Why do you play games? What kind of games draw you in and keep you coming back?
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