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The 1980s’ Media Frenzy and Panic Over Dungeons & Dragons

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The Societal Scare That Scarred the Game’s Reputation for Life

When you think of Dungeons & Dragons, do you fondly think back to the hours you spent as a kid dedicating your life and free time to the game? Or perhaps you associate it with being a game for nerds. Then again, maybe you still play with friends or a devout role-playing group.

Regardless of what you associate it with, D&D has been a cultural icon for decades, especially in the realms of fantasy, gameplay, and nerdom, but did you know that there was a time when the game was actually considered evil?

d&d intro

Source: Twitter @Cowboy_Centaur

This is one walk down memory lane you don’t want to miss…

The late 1970s into the ’80s saw Dungeons & Dragons rise to prominence as well as notoriety for its many references to devils, demons, and other magical beasts.

d&d 1

Source: Twitter @DM_Ocampo

Aside from the stigma innately associated with the game for being for “indoor” kids, the real drama started when Michigan State University student James Dallas Egbert III disappeared in 1979.

d&d book

Source: Twitter @SecretDraftcom

An exceptionally gifted computer programmer, accepted to college at the age of sixteen, Egbert often played Dungeons & Dragons with a group that held their sessions in the steam tunnels below the university.

After a game one night, Egbert went missing and was believed to have committed suicide. Following this lead, the private detective hired by his family decided to pin the entire tragedy on Dungeons & Dragons.