Sunday, March 09, 2008

Gary Gygax on Gaming and Faith

My G2G buddy Ransom showed me this article today, and I found it extremely interesting.

If you're around my age, you very likely remember a time when your parents approached you and said, "Do you play Dungeons & Dragons?!? Because that game is evil! It teaches you witchcraft, tells you to worship Satan, and is driving kids to suicide!"

At the time I took their word for it. At a first glance of the books and things for the game, you could easily see where some of this was coming from. The cover of a D&D rulebook has never exactly - to my knowledge - had happy little children and unicorns on its cover.

Later on, I discovered that, much like Harry Potter, this was all really just a false alarm. The game wasn't really kids material, but it was pretty darn innocent considering what people had been saying about it. In fact, I saw it as a potentially great tool for excercising your imagination. I mentioned this briefly in my tribute to Gary Gygax in the Daily Toreador (the post below this one). A whole lot of fantasy authors actually played D&D. I don't think that's a coincidence.

Anyway, I found it extremely interesting to read/hear/see that not only was Gary Gygax (co-creator of D&D if you're just tuning in) was not only a pretty swell guy, but he was also a Christian.

"I was reticent to say the fact, you know, that I was a Christian," Gygax says in a video embedded in the article I linked to above, "mainly because I was afraid that I would give Christianity a bad name because I did D&D. So I did, I kept my mouth shut. But I just decided no, I’m not going to do that any more."

And I guess it never really got out, though I did hear some people mention, "You know, I think he was a Christian. Or a Mormon or something..." when he passed away. I think it was pretty smart/considerate of him to keep that close to his chest in an effort to help the Christian image. We have more than enough Christians (and "Christians") giving us a bad name as it is. +3 respect to Gygax! Though sorry, man, but I don't think you were really descended from Goliath. Neat story though!

Anyway, I find it extremely interesting that some of the things that, in the past, Christians have vehemently opposed - such as Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia (this was back when they first released), Dungeons & Dragons, and Harry Potter - have turned out to have come from Christians themselves. That doesn't immediately make them good, of course, but it's so ironic/sad that most of us can't actually look into something before burning it at the stake...

...while at the same time, the strong opposition to them creates controversy, and it's the controversy that, in part, made these things popular. Funny how God works. I have a feeling the Talebearer Trilogy (and other works I produce, especially early in my career) may very well be met with the same kind of controversy.

Sounds good to me.

No comments: