Tuesday, 11 August 2015

#RPGaDay 2015: Day 8 - Picture this...

Prompt: Favourite appearance of RPGs in the media

Gamers are winners (and winners don't do drugs!)
So, I was going to talk about Community's use of D&D, but I figure that it's pretty much been done, and that James has summed up why at least as well as I could. To paraphrase, although gaming is part of the joke, it is primarily a vehicle for a different joke, rather than being the joke itself.

I will say that I enjoyed seeing gaming presented positively, instead of either as a shorthand for social ineptitude or the incarnation of evil a la Mazes and Monsters or Skullduggery. My favourite part of Community's D&D appearances is in the second episode, when it is just dropped in that the study group, having assembled to run a single game for a particular purpose, have also taken up D&D as a hobby (and potential psychological healing tool.) While I know that it bothers some people, I also quite like that Abed is depicted as a thorough, but overall quite poor DM due to his absolute insistence on a strictly simulationist approach.

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More recent appearances of RPGs reflect a shift in perception away from the Patricia Pulling, Jack Chick 'gaming is the devil's work' approach. Through shows such as Glee, Freaks & Geeks and perhaps most deliberately the (ultimately flawed) The Big Bang Theory, we are moving past the occasional resurgence of the 'geeks are cool' idea to something rather more important; the perception that nerds are normal. I'm a professional administrator and I have no problems telling my colleagues that I sometimes spend the weekend shooting Nerf guns at friends; something I would not have done when I started in this gig fifteen years ago.