Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for "Just a Game"

***********Just for the sake of clarity - the theme for my A to Z postings is gaming in the 1980's with my friends.*************

"Just a Game"
I uttered those words numerous times in the 1980's - every time some close minded person would start rambling on about the "evils of D&D".  So did some of my gaming buddies.  Looking back at it all, I understand why the concern took place at this point in time.  I am not caving in and saying that "they" are right but I am saying that the 80's was ripe for this sort of thing.  You see, the 80's was the time of the bogey man around every corner.

The Cold War happened during this time period.  Remember all of the hype about mutually assured destruction between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R.?  I remember doing bomb drills in school!  We would actually get out of our seats and crouch under our desks during these drills.  Adding to the hype was the film Red Dawn.  I believe there was also a TV movie made during this time - Amerika, I believe - that told the story of a Soviet occupied America.
This decade also saw the spotlight hit the music scene.  Critics of hard rock and heavy metal bands such as Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Jame Dio, Pink Floyd, and others were worried that these bands would lead to drugs, wild sex, satanic worship, or even suicide.  In fact, Judas Priest was even brought to trial over their music.  It was crazy times.

The slasher films and video games also came into popularity at this time.  This was another area of concern for critics.  They were convinced that the violence in these films and games would make people desensitized to the blood and gore so they would be more likely to commit violent acts.

Dungeons & Dragons came into extreme popularity in the 80's.  I am not talking about a somewhat large part of the population playing the game BUT it seemed like within a short while EVERYBODY had either played or at least knew a few details about the game.  Just to show how popular D&D was at this time, here are a few things I remember:

  1. Mattel released an electronic D&D board game.
  2. There was a red, electronic handheld pocket D&D game.
  3. Basic D&D was in the SEARS catalog.
  4. Basic D&D was available for a reward in GRIT Newspaper sellers program.
  5. D&D action figures.
  6. D&D animated series.
That's just real quick off the top of my head.  Not only was D&D very popular but people tended to play the hell out of it for long periods of time.  The point is that the popularity put D&D in the spotlight.  If someone committed suicide or murdered someone and they were a D&D player then it would draw more attention to it.   

The bogeyman was everywhere during the 80's.  It makes perfect sense that the role-playing game Paranoia would come out of this decade. 


  1. Watch some of this Zappa interview... note the sophistry and fallacious arguments-- and then ponder how these exact same tactics are being used today by different groups over different issues. Yes the D&D hysteria was stupid... but we haven't evolved culturally.

    1. Will do when I get home tonight. Looking forward to hearing what good old Zappa has to say.

  2. Dropping in from the Challenge. Enjoyed your post. Yes, the boogeyman was everywhere in the 80s but sometimes think his cousin decided to hang around for today's scares.

    1. Cool. I believe you are right about his correct about his I'll check out your site now...

  3. Replies
    1. Cool! I agree. I'm going to check out your blog...

  4. Never been a great gamer, but I like the nostalgia here. ;-)
    Visiting as an A to Z blogger.

    All on and all in the A to Z Challenge:

    Heart of a Ready Writer – Bible & Devotional
    Meme Express – Daily Blog Prompts (A to Z)
    Nickers and Ink – Featuring favorite classic poems from A to Z
    Practically at Home – See what fellow writers are cited – with article links!
    The Mane Point –Profiling special horses from A to Z
    Working in Words – Writing How-to’s

    Click my name/icon for links to all these blogs! Happy A-to-Z!

    1. Nothing wrong with that :-). I dig nostalgia too. I see I have my work cut out checking on all your blogs but I will.

  5. We've recently introduced our kids to the D&D animated series and they both love it! But then again we're geeks raising geeks...

    1. I hear ya! My 5 year old boy loves that D&D show.

  6. I'm glad I was too young to realize how much the 80s sucked... :D

    I don't think I played D&D until 91 or 92...

    The Brew Newb

    1. worries - the 80s rocked because it was D&D paradise! The satanic scare groupies on the other hand....