Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

July 14, 2014

Not Comics: D&D At 40 As An Influence On Writers

imageThere's a New York Times article up here that briefly surveys a group of writers on the broad influence the Dungeons and Dragons table-top role-playing game -- now 40 years old -- and its horned, winged, pointy-eared, scaled cousins had on their writing and other creative endeavors.

That's an interesting subject, and one worthy of a gigantic book or two rather than a feature article. Two things that rarely come across in such articles on the creative impact of those games is how much time was/is spent playing them by a lot of those kids and teens and later, adults, and the social milieu in which they existed/exist town to town, group to group. Those subjects tend to be separated into their own categories when dealt with at all. I tend to find the narratives about those games and their continuing impact as unsatisfying as I found the games themselves back in the day. My sense is that they were a much more significant element of geek life back then than they are now, and that the ubiquity of video games has had a significant transformative influence on their range of effect.

It likely goes without saying, but those games have also certainly had a gigantic impact on comics. Their effect runs the gamut from recalibrating certain storytelling expectations, to training writers to think a certain way, to presenting world-building as its own exercise with tools to do so less daunting than reverse-engineering Tolkien, to the formal influence those games had on several creators from Fort Thunder on.
posted 8:15 am PST | Permalink

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