If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to indulge in a bit of an old-man “back in MY DAY” moment. Y’see, the damn kids these days don’t know how good they have it. RPGs appear all over the place — featured in major network sitcoms (The Big Bang Theory, The IT Crowd, Community), major stars willing to come right out and say they are gamers (Vin Diesel, Stephen Colbert, the late Robin Williams) — hell, there’s even popular webseries which are entirely devoted to playing games, including RPGs. (Hello, Titansgrave: Ashes of Valkana). Well, this was not always the case.
Back when I was a new gamer, gaming was something weird and suspect. This was the height of the “satanic panic”, remember. What little awareness there was of RPGs was religious-loonie-stoked hysteria. Hell, my own Dad — hardly a religious nut — called me from a business trip to ask if “I was OK”, after he’d watched the TV-movie “MAZES AND MONSTERS,” and became concerned that I was engaged in a hobby where I’d go crazy.
So, for me, my favorite appearance of an RPG in the media was this: A short sequence in the early moments of the 1982 Summer blockbuster, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, where the kids play something close to resembling D&D at the kitchen table:
Nobody was in costume, nobody was believing that their character was really them, nobody was trying to summon Satan. Just a table full of kids, who looked like me and my friends, doing what we did on a weekly basis. Refreshingly NORMAL. A Spielberg family film, where I could point to that scene and say “that’s what we do. That’s all it is.”
It may not seem like much now, but at the time, it was very important.
So that’s mine. What’s yours?
Here’s Dave Chapman’s video entry for the day, where he discusses his fave: