Glenn's Junk Chest

An assortment of Glenn's writings, photography, gaming resources, flash movies, and other creative output.


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Gaming: Bad Impressions

It has recently come to light that the Israeli Army has an actual policy that soldiers who admit to playing D&D will only be granted a low security clearance. I was curious about details, so I read this article.

Man, talk about a bummer. The list of things that those responsible believe and do makes a pretty depressing litany.
  • Players are "detached from reality and suscepitble to influence".
  • Soldiers who admit to playing are "sent to a professional for an evaluation, usually a psychologist".
  • Finally, such people may "have a weak personality".

Currently, with the success of the video game industry and movies like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, geek culture is ascendant in the States and abroad. However, I still remember that when I was in high school, the various pressure applied (mostly by religious groups) actually lead the parents of one of my friends to forbid him to play. He never told me in so many words, but I believe he wasn't even supposed associate with me. Stuff like this IDF policy, even happening in Israel, makes me worry, just because there are still plenty of people out there that hate my favorite pastime.

So, I was looking for some differing perspectives to help cheer me up after this. I found this darkly sarcastic take which I found pretty humorous. I also found this commentary, however, which I thought was more uplifting.
To put it simply, Dungeons and Dragons reinvented the use of the imagination as a kid's best toy. The cliche of parents waxing nostalgic for their wooden toys and things "they had to make themselves" has now become my own. Looking around at my toddler's room full of trucks, trains, and Transformers, I want to cry out, "I created worlds with nothing more than a twenty-sided die!"
Update: You could also check out this fine Dork Tower strip on the subject.

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