Tuesday, June 11, 2013

1985 Sends Its Regards

Yes, it's true. Pat Robertson is still talking about the evils of Dungeons & Dragons. I had mistakenly assumed that, like everyone else out there, he had forgotten about it. Gary Gygax died in 2008. TSR Games was bought up by Wizards of the Coast who cashed in big with Magic: The Gathering, and is no longer an independent company. In the overall culture the game long ago lost the faddish popularity that it enjoyed in the 1980's. But Pat is still at it, as if the last two decades never happened.

In a segment of “The 700 Club” related to the suicide of the daughter of a Southern Baptist leader, Pat Robertson linked teen suicide to “demonic” games like Dungeons and Dragons, as well as to anorexia and bulimia. “The pressure on [teens] is just incredible,” he said.

Robertson has previously called the role-playing game “evil” and part of the “occult.”

I've mentioned this anecdote on this blog before, but it bears repeating here. Back around 1985 in response to the original allegation of a link between role-playing games and suicides, a reader of TSR's Dragon Magazine took the estimated number of players at the time based on real sales figures, divided it by the number of suicides that conservative Christians claimed were linked to Dungeons & Dragons, and concluded that even if those numbers were accurate they demonstrated that the gamers had half the suicide risk of people in the general population.

The lesson there? Never expect a wargamer to be confused by statistics. If you do, you'll wind up looking like an idiot.

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