I have seen it compared to computer games many times and have to respectfully disagree. While RPG computer games are great fun, they are programs and therefore have a linear storyline. This is much more creative and free flowing.
This game has been a part of my life for over thirty years. I told everyone how I started playing it in 1977 with my uncle in the last blog. Since that first exciting quest,, I was hooked. Over the years I have had to defend it numerous times. When I was 12, my mother had me sit and listen to Talk Back with Bob Larson, a religious radio talk show host, attack the game as “satanic”. The worst part was he was promoting his Christianized version of D&D the whole show. While he lied and had his “expert” on the show was spouting ridiculous statements about the game. I asked my mother if I could call and dispute her on her arguments and she said yes. I argued and debunked one of her statements and flustered her and Mr. Larson. Then I explained the game to my mother and she never questioned it again.
Over the years Dungeons & Dragons has enhanced my life in the following ways.
- It has helped me and many others with literacy. It encouraged me to read, learn new terms and research history and mythology. It also led me to teach others to read. Many years ago when I was employed by our local game store a young high school boy came in and confessed to me he never truly learned to read. The school system pushed him through on what I would guess was a 2nd grade reading level. His friends were all playing Dungeons & Dragons as well as the Legend of the Five Rings RPG and the various offerings from White Wolf. He would play as well but was lost in the game many times. By the time he graduated high school he was not only as literate as his classmates, he had become an avid reader.
- Mathematical skills have improved as well. Mind you, I started in the 70’s so I grew up with THACO (To Hit Armor Class Zero) so I have a bit of a different view on the much simpler math you young whippersnappers have to do today. There is still plenty of percentages, fractions and probabilities being learned by kids every time they sit and role those dice.
- It has expanded my imagination and ability to tell stories that has only made being a father easier. Telling fairy tales has become very entertaining with my boys. I create stories for them and also add numerous voices to the stories I read them.
- Working for the game store has taken me across the country and even overseas to a variety of conventions. From Las Vegas to Essen Germany, I have seen a small chunk of the world and met many people in the industry!
- I have made so many friendships because of Dungeons & Dragons. Literally hundreds of people that I would never have interacted with, if not for this game.
So, if you want to see what this game is all about just go find your local store and ask if you can join a game!
If you like using your imagination, you won’t be disappointed.