A Breif History of Dungeons & Dragons and the Benefits of Playing RPG's
As a writer I use a lot of reference books for research before writing a book. Growing up I have played what are referred to as RPG’s or role playing games. The first RPG that became popular beyond belief was created by Gary Gygax. Dungeons & Dragons was one of many role playing games created. It captured the attention of many religious groups as well as political parties that spoke out against the game. Sadly, psychologists have used role playing as a form of counseling and pretending to be someone else as a child is often encouraged. When someone markets a game that makes him rich, it is suddenly a bad thing in the eyes of many. Many movies were produced to spite the role playing game.
Dungeons & Dragons was nothing more than a fantasy novel like the popular “Choose your own adventure” series from the 80’s that involved rolling dice, using ones imagination, and requiring pencils and paper. It encouraged creativity and imagination as well as math skills during game play. Mental conditions exist in many and for those who are already unstable games such as Dungeons & Dragons could create negative repercussions in those kinds of individuals. In the 80’s this seemed to be overlooked and the game was protested.
Dungeons & Dragons has evolved from a first edition to a second edition and in the late ninety’s it even went to a 3rd edition which changed the system of the game and modernized it to be more efficient as well as easier to understand. The first two editions had THACO or TO HIT ARMOR CLAS 0 along with several different saving throws that became rather complex at times. Hit points remain but 3rd edition introduced the D20 system.
With as popular as video games have become as well as advanced, many RPG’s have been converted into video game form, using the D20 system or similar system. Few have spoken out against these games though they have similar if not identical concepts as Dungeons & Dragons. They primary concern with religious groups was the concept of the character one creates worshipping one of the gods created or from mythological times in the game. Among them there were demons and devils that could be worshipped in the game.
The problem with this argument is that in the United States we have Freedom of Speech and therefore can speak out and protest against whatever we disagree with. We also have the freedom of Religion which to date causes a lot of disturbing controversies. Some Dungeons & Dragons fanatics have in the past used the reference books to actually perform rituals and sacrifices and this has given the game a bad name. Again this is the individuals who are responsible and not the game but a tarnishing event nonetheless.
Wizards of the Coast bought the rights to Dungeons and Dragons and are responsible for the revisions of the original system from second edition to 3rd edition. They have since evolved it to a 3.5 system which I still use to date for my reference books when writing my fantasy series “Athyxian Chronicle” and into a 4th edition which I am still unfamiliar with. Games such as RPG’s encourage reading, math, social skills, and writing as well as creativity and many other traits necessary in life. The video game concept steals a lot of this away and that is where one should begin their arguments if any.
If something encourages learning and you disagree with only some minor aspects such as worship of gods not of your religious beliefs in reality then remove this from the game and try playing it. You might find it to be fun as well as a learning experience. There are hundreds if not thousands of role playing games available for sale in the market. Dungeons & Dragons just happens to be the most common and best known.
Try finding one that suits your fancy and check it out. Use it to help your children within the recommended age limits of the game improve their learning skills and benefit from it rather than forking out hundreds or thousands of dollars to a special program that will only use similar tactics of their own in disguise to teach your children what you could do on your own just by playing a game that many detest.
This is all ironic in nature as we speak out against something because we fear it or hear things about it that scares us. Later we find psychologists and teachers use the same concepts in their fields to do their jobs. Some games are distractions in life that don’t teach our children anything except how to push a button sequence. Others have hidden benefits that may surprise you if you utilize them.
Article by Kevin C Davison
“I write to entertain, and for a cause.”