Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dungeons & Dragons: fear and loathing

A friend of mine recently received an intra-office e-mail at work inviting him (and all other employees) to an office game of Dungeons & Dragons. He had never played the game, but knew that I had been into it as a teenager in the early 1980s. So he forwarded the e-mail to me and to some other friends.

One reply opined that if he went to the D&D game at the office, he's be very underwhelmed because D&D players were nerdy "tools." Underwhelmed, I am absolutely sure is correct, I answered. But maybe also just a little bit intruiged by the spectacle. I expect that D&D still retains a (niche) allure, even in this modern Playstation and MMORG world. Just like live theater on Broadway survived the advent of TV in the 1950s and the coming of blockbuster Summer movies filled with CGI special effects, there'll always be some (limited) demand, I think, for a game that involves inter-personal, human contact, even more so one that involves a bunch of teenage guys sitting in their parents basements, acting out "teenage fantasies" and making fun of each other.

That being said, whenever I played D&D with strangers, "personal hygene issues" arose 100 percent of the time, usually related to the guy who was also the biggest "rules lawyer" and/or the guy who's character made the most idiotic decisions in the game. A shocking number of these guys: (i) wore oversized shorts (or sweat pants) and t-shirts (or over-sized hawaiian shirts) sprinkled with "Dorrito dust" stains, (ii) had a peculiar preference for cherry coke (or vanilla coke), and (iii) smelled like the clothes bunched in the bottom of a teenage boy's gym locker.

Even though I haven't played in over 20 years, I belong today to a few Yahoo Groups that discuss various role-playing games like D&D. I can almost smell some of the other members on those groups, based on their posts.....

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