Role Playing Games have been a passion of mine since junior high school. Like most other gamers I was a shy but intelligent introvert who had few friends. I spent much of my formative teenage years in a small town in Oregon with a population of 14,000 people. There was little for a teenager to do in town except see a movie, go bowling, play video games, or "dragging" Main Street. Most of the teenagers I knew were either into sports, or farming, or getting drunk and laid every Friday night.

Me and my computer geek friends (back when Apple first hit the market with the Apple ][) decided to try playing D&D. We started with the first 3 LBB's (Little Brown Books). Our parents were thankfully open minded enough to let us play. At the time Dungeons and Dragons had taken a huge hit from parental and church groups who called the game evil. Their own inability or unwillingness to provide a balanced and nurturing environment for their children demanded that they find a scapegoat. D&D turned out to bet that scapegoat. My own mother felt the same way until she agreed to play a game with us.

The only evil in the game it that which the players bring into it, and if a child loses touch with reality, it's not because of the game, it's because the parents don't pay attention to them or show them affection. Children of these people tend to lack the mental or emotional stability needed to Role-play and would be better off playing cards-or better yet they should be getting true attention and affection from their parents. In any case, I played the game and I did not turn out twisted. (or so my wife tells me)

Scott Kurtz, creator of the PVP Online Comic strip, stated it quite well in his rant "5 Reasons Your Kids Should Play Dungeons and Dragons."

He states:

1. It Encourages Teamwork.
2. It Encourages Reading.
3. It Encourages Positive Social Interaction.
4. It Stimulates Imaginations and Encourages Creative Expression.
5. It's Something You Can Do With Your Kids

Now, over the years I've met and gamed with some very strange and twisted people who use the game like some kind of manipulation or head trip. These people are, in my honest opinion, dangerous and should seek counseling. Like I said the only real evil the game it that which the players bring into it, and I refuse to play with people who want to play evil characters. The game was designed to have the players play heroes who fight to stop evil. Not vice-versa.

After gaming D&D for several years I was introduced to tons of other RPG's and strategy games. Some of them stuck with me while others did not. Some I played only once, while others I still play from time to time. Some of the ones that stick in my memory:
Star Wars RPG, Star Trek RPG, Starfleet Battles, Palladium, Snits Revenge, Paranoia, Champions, Marvel Super Heroes, Dr. Who RPG, Battle Tech, Car Wars, Gamma World, Boot Hill, Palladium Paranormal Adventures, "Classic" Traveller, Gurps Traveller, OGRE, Lord of the Rings RPG (the old one), The Awful Green Things From Outer Space, Gang Busters, British Rails, Iron Dragon, Tunnels and Trolls, Illuminati, Civilization, Invasion USA, Shadowrun, Cyber Punk, War Hammer, Rifts, Hero Quest, Heroes Unlimited, Wild Cards RPG, James Bond RPG, etc.

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