On my drive home today (being my last day at work. I'm now fully independent.), I was listening to the show "All Things Considered" on NPR. Much to my surprise there was a reviewer named Robert Holt who was describing his experience with World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer online role playing game.
If you're not in the know (and I assume most of my readers are), an MMORPG is basically Dungeons & Dragons, but online in full color 3-D with surround sound. Holt describes an adventure in which he and four other real people are deep within the bowels of a thieves den, looking to nab the leader.
What struck me about this review is hearing it on NPR. As a kid, Dungeons & Dragons (or D&D for short) was a guilty pleasure. Guilty because I knew how stigmatizing it would be for people in some of the circles I ran with to find out I played. This was during the years where I was a bit of a closet geek.
It didn't help when you heard from church types that playing the game would cause you to worship Satan, drink goats blood, and give you a "Go Straight To Hell, Do Not Pass Go" card.
Strangely enough, I've never killed anyone as a human sacrifice as a result of dabbling in the game. In fact, I felt that I learned good planning skills, improved my vocabulary, and learned how to tell a story as a result.
So now that RPGs have gone mainstream, I guess I can dust off my old D&D books, my oddly shaped dice, my back issues of Dungeon magazine, and display such items proudly. Until my wife gets tired of the clutter it would cause and kindly asks me to place them elsewhere. :)