Monday, 14 January 2013

Roll for Crazy

It's a plague on our children! It encourages violence! Suicide! Satanism! Won't somebody please think of the children and save them from these terrible games!

Believe it or not, for once the hysteria I'm quoting isn't actually about Videogames. No, in an effort to lighten the tone a bit, and point out why public outrage on new media is almost always wrong, I thought I'd share with you the controversy surrounding that most evil of games...Dungeons and Dragons.

Look at them, plotting their portly evil!Source

 Yes, believe it or not there was a time when the same people who think Starcraft makes you insane, thought that a group of teenagers sitting together doing math and using their imaginations was a surefire route to Hell.

Much like how people now see Call of Duty and think Guns+Cartoonish Fighting=Violence, people at the time (the early 80s and 90s to be excact) saw the combinations of Dungeons, Elves, Wizards and whimsy and immediately equated it with Satan.

If it's this easy to cast spells, then I know some seriously pissed off Harry Potter fans...          Source
Some of this reaction was too tragic for me to mock, such as Patricia Pulling founder of BADD (Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons. Yes, really.) whose life-long obsession with stopping RPGs was motivated by the suicide of her son.

Luckily for you guys the crazy pool runs deep enough that it becomes funny again.

Quick, name a genuinely bad Tom Hanks movie. Struggling? I know, the guys amazing right? Except, of course for this:

Yeah, that happened. The clip is from Mazes and Monsters a made-for-TV movie released in 1982 and starring a very young Tom Hanks. The plot, such as it is, concerns a young college student called 'Robbie' who suffers a psychotic break while playing Mazes & Monsters that makes him think the whole world is that of a Fantasy kingdom. Then he goes and tries to jump off the World Trade Centre.  There's alot more hillarity from the film on youtube, just search the title and buckle up.

Of course, this D&D paranoia was just the latest (at the time) wave of one generation panicking about the nexts hobbies or interest. See also Rock and Roll, The Roaring 20s and pretty much anything young Victorians ever tried to do.

As we move forward, people are doing it to gaming but on the brightside I am personally looking forward to tutting at my children about the evils of Holographic Super-Killer 8.

Until next time friends, let us say Skål! and drink together.

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