Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dungeons and Dragons: A Documentary

Me and a friend reading from the AD&D book that kicked a hornets' nest of
Christian fundamentalists into a witch hunt. Circa 1985.

Dungeons and Dragons began back in 1974 and, as most of us old-schoolers know, it changed our lives. I don't mean simply the lives of gamers. Whether you realize it or not, the invention of roleplaying games changed your world.

Now a documentary is being made about the creation, rise, collapse, reemergence, fundamentalist craziness, corporate intrigue, and cultural influence that the invention of roleplaying games had on the world. The quality of what they've already done speaks for itself.

From the documentarians' website:

From its early years, Dungeons and Dragons became a training ground for careers in the realms the imagination and has influenced generations of computer programmers, designers, writers, actors and many others.
Its affect on society can be seen in everything from computer games to modern teaching theories and treatment for PTSD.  Through interviews with public personalities, psychologists and sociologists, Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary will explore how this game has touched the lives of everyone, even if they have never played the game.

You can help get this documentary off the ground by participating in their Kickstarter project, as well as checking out their website. The birth of roleplaying games wasn't well documented at the time, so the creators are looking for archived footage from the 70s and 80s--photos, 8mm film, etc. If you've got old photos of your gaming group from back in the day, contact them here.

The story of my own introduction to AD&D

For more on the documentary and the support it's getting in the community:

Facebook Fansite
Forbes Magazine


  1. It must have been tough playing D&D in the South during the "witch-hunt" days. I discovered the game in Hawaii in 1979 and never encountered any of the craziness I've heard later.

    1. It bothered me more than it did some of my friends. I was a sensitive kid who always tried to do the right thing and believe the best in other people. That's why it scared me so much. At one point I was honestly terrified that I'd be jumped in a parking lot by a shotgun-wielding Christian redneck who thought I worshiped Satan. That cartoon book that had been circulating (can't remember the nutjob who wrote it)--the one that friends in OC laughed about--was taken very seriously where I grew up. It was a witchhunt, plain and simple.

  2. You mean this one?

    1. Ug. Yes. That one. Still brings up childhood terrors.