Who doesn’t enjoy a good game from time to time? It is a fulfilling social experience, a way to exercise wit and critical thinking, and can be both challenging and competitive. There is an opportunity for discussion, even discourse, a time set aside for relaxing in a comfortable environment, and the stakes are at best minimal. It can be a way to learn, a way to improve ourselves, a way to entertain guests, a way to match wits, and even a medium by which stories can be crafted and told.
For many of us we would include RPGs in this category without hesitation. However, as it were, there is a stigma, particularly in Western culture, against Fantasy and Science-Fiction type RPGs. We hear this most frequently in the form of attacks on Dungeons & Dragons by groups of well meaning but misguided individuals. The concerned groups usual cast damning remarks at RPG Players for dabbling in the occult, black arts, witchcraft, or even lambast accusations of courting demon kind. On a lesser gravity, we also see individuals who have become wary of joining RPGs to a point they simply falter or hesitate. They hear the mention of Magics and otherworldly Realms and choose to remain cautious. Some have heard the advocacy groups attack RPGs so forcefully, it makes them wonder, maybe there really could be something to be wary of, couldn’t there?
In this article, we hope to first go over the history of RPGs and their development. In so doing we can come to a better understanding of where these games originate, where these controversies first arise, the forms they take, and how best to address them. Then, following this we will look at the common objections against RPGs more closely, and how we may give reasonable answers to those who have questions about the genre. Lastly, our hope is to increase an understanding in the gaming community of what RPGs are, and to further our collective understanding as a society of what elements, if any, we need be wary of when playing RPGs.
Continue reading “It’s All Fun & Games: The History of, and Moral Quandary Presented by, Playing RPGs”