If you ever played Dungeons & Dragons in your life then you know it was the beginning. In the late 70s and early 80s there was a large amount of us who played this game like it was a religion. Many times it was considered a nerd thing, but it was much more than that. It gave you a sense of adventure, made you fearless, and provided to tools to rationalize resources. Risk management may be a financial term, but it is definitely a D&D term. Netflix picked up a show recently called Stranger Things which follows three kids who search for their missing friend. These kids are mirrored off of almost every person who grew up to become the game designers that we know now.
Without giving too much away about the show, it really plays out like a D&D adventure. It is wrapped in some very serious tones with a mix of Stephen King and X-Files. Growing up in that time period, there was a lot more freedom. Kids rode bikes, went out to play with their friends and somehow managed themselves without many of the fears we all face today. Just watch E.T. and you will get it. It is this vibe that Stranger Things captures so perfectly. You got your gear, you went out and you explored. It is something that sadly many people do from their couches now.
This sense of adventure is what led to the making of RPGs. You didn’t have the internet so you went to your friend’s house and played D&D it was fun, creative, and kept all of us well entertained. Even today when I have visited some of the top game designer’s studios they have the core set of books on their shelves. These are the source code for gaming on every level. The concept of stats, hit points, damage, and even levels started at this time. It began to change your sense of thinking. It made you think outside the box. To use math and imagination combined in a way that really had not been done before.
It is why D&D had such a strong appeal across multiple so many different types of people. If you broke it down by school standards, math majors loved the stats, English majors loved the creativity, and science majors loved the combinations you could create. It is why now engineers, doctors, lawyers, and even leaders have all played this game. If you have not played D&D, you have played one of its many children over time. Ultima, Elder Scrolls, Fallout, even Call of Duty, and every single game to spawn from this one source has reached out to millions of people around the globe. It actually unites people from all over the world into a new way of thinking. It is why gaming is such a friendly industry. We all love to play.
Now in this new millennium millions of kids are growing up with these values already programmed into their DNA. Girls and boys play games, use the Internet to the fullest extent and learn together. If anything the only flaw lately is that people can be too connected to their phones or computers. They need to get out more and explore. Although, Pokemon Go is now doing that. It is giving a reason for millions of people to play games outside again. To explore and find new things in the world. These are the types of things that continue to lead to a connection between all of us. Gamers really will make the drive and soon everyone will be playing games... yes everyone.
So put down the controller or shut off the keyboard and take a few hours to watch Stranger Things. It captures a time that was very realistic when that sense of adventure began. It is scary, sad, funny, and solid entertainment all at the same time. If the mood catches you, call your friends and host a night of D&D, even with all these games out there, it is still a solid night of fun. Poker night with the gang, may just be more like, adventure night with the heroes! But you know, come back here and talk about it too. We like you.