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Main > Advocacy 

The Advocacy Page

"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." 
Mark Twain (1835-1910), U.S. author. 
Quoted in: Rudyard Kipling, From Sea to Sea, Letter 37 (1899).

May, 2003:


Buffy Characters Get Their Game On

The final episode of the long-running Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, which aired on May 20th, featured four recurring characters playing a Dungeons & Dragons styled role-playing game.  In what seemed to be an attempt to hit two pop culture references with one stone, the players in the scene were fighting Trogdor the Burninator, a character from the popular Homestar Runner online cartoons.


Scourge of Worlds: an Interactive D&D Movie

An interactive DVD movie featuring iconic characters from Dungeons & Dragons will see release this June.  Produced by Rhino Home Video and DKP Effects, the movie will allow the viewer to choose the path of the story, with 20 decision points, four different endings, and over 900 possible story combinations.  The protagonists of the story include Redgar, Lidda, and Mialee, three familiar faces from the D&D rulebooks.

The DVD is scheduled for release on June 10th.  A special edition, which will include two extra endings, 15 minutes of additional footage, and a painted PVC figure of Mialee, will be released later in the fall.

For more information:

This is a pretty exciting prospect, and if it does well, we could see other interactive movies set in the worlds of our favorite RPGs.  The press release doesn't mention it, but it would be interesting to see if this was the first interactive movie of its kind.

Special thanks to my gaming buddy MajorBombay for bringing this story to my attention.


Another Swedish Crime Linked to Gaming

There has been another crime in Sweden that was briefly linked to role-playing and video games before that link was dismissed immediately with more facts.  The details are sketchy at the moment, as the only available sources are in Swedish, but so far, the story seems to go like this:

Two 14 year old boys, dressed all in black and weilding an axe, attacked a 46 year old man as he walked his dog in the small town of Katrineholm on May 2nd.  Both boys we under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time, and claimed that the axe was to protect them from a local gang of youths.  An investigating officer made a statement that she found it "highly improbable" that computer games were somehow responsible for the attack.

Those are the details I have so far.  More to come as I receive it.


SJG Donates Games to the Military

Steve Jackson Games has donated a 5,000 game care package to United States troops stationed in Iraq and Kuwait that contained 20 of their most popular titles, including Car Wars, Chez Greek, X-Bugs, the new Chez Grunt.  Here's the word from Steve himself:

We’ve always had a lot of fans in the armed forces, and we hope that when they get a little downtime from their mission, this will help them relax and feel a bit closer to home. These are all board and card games, each one complete in itself; we're thinking that will be more practical than RPGs.
The games were donated through the U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center (CFSC) in Kuwait. The CFSC provides oversight for Army Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) operations worldwide. Loren Wiseman gets our thanks for rounding up the information and making the contact.
The person we worked with is Ms. Sherry Murphy, at If you're a game publisher . . . or, for that matter, a book publisher . . . think about sending something to our folks. They'll be there for a while; they're there for us; show them some support.


Player's Handbook Featured in GE Ad

General Electric has begun running a television ad entitled "Beauty and Brains" that features a copy of a Dungeons & Dragons rulebook.  In it, an attractive woman and a geeky man collide while walking on the sidewalk and instantly fall in love.  Later, both are shown exchanging presents, and his gift from her is a brand new copy of the Third Edition Player's Handbook.

You can find out more about the ad, and even view it through streaming video, at the following link:

I'm sure some will see this as more mockery of the hobby.  I would disagree.  Sure, it may reinforce the stereotype that gamers are geeky Bill Gates lookalikes, but it's not exactly doing it in a negative manner.  And the name and sight recognition of the Player's Handbook is helping to push gaming a little further into the mainstream and make role-playing a more recognized and respected hobby.

January, 2003:


Swedish Beheading Linked to Gaming

A grisly discovery by two children in a river in Sweden has triggered a burst of anti-game rhetoric that was snuffed out almost immediately.

The frozen severed head of Marcus Noren was found in the Nissan River in Halmstad, Sweden on December 30th, by a 10 year old boy and his 13 year old sister.  When Noren was revealed through investigations to be an active participant in a local Vampire LARP, the Swedish media started into their usual frenzy.

It didn't last long, however.  On January 2nd, police made a statement to the press that they held no evidence that role-playing had a connection to the crime.  The next day they arrested two men, aged 46 and 28, and received a confession from the older man.  Both were strangers to Noren, and had no connection to role-playing whatsoever.

On the day of the arrest, Swedish tabloids were still running stories about "dangerous" role-playing games.

I asked my Swedish contact, Björn Hellqvist, if Swedish anti-game activists Didi and Björn Sjöstedt had come out with any statements on this story.  Here is what he had to say:

"Well, she did (on her site), but no-one has bothered to reply to them. She is pretty much a spent force these days. There was a program on Swedish national public radio, which usually turns a critical eye on media, where the tabloid press' treatment of the case was criticized in a very sharp way. Among the people interviewed was a priest, who acted as the bereaved family's spiritual guide/media contact, and he was very angry with the disrespect shown Marcus and his family. Other people in the program were highly critical, too. The representatives from the tabloids (journalists, editors) sounded very lame, especially when their behaviour was criticized by colleagues from the local press (which had been far more respectful). Sverok, the national gaming association, is pursuing the possibilities of legal action but apart from that, the whole case has pretty much disappeared from the public eye."
To read more, including some Swedish articles that have been graciously translated by Magnus Widqvist (thanks Magnus!) and an excellent report on the state of affairs in Sweden by Björn (thanks Björn!), follow the links below.


Ukiah Boy Arrested for Making a "Hit List"

A young man in Ukiah, California whose name will not be released because of his age, has been arrested for making terroristic threats after a friend found a "hit list" containing the names of seven young people from his area.

Ukiah police say that the boy originally stated that the list was part of a game of Dungeons & Dragons, but changed his story later on to say that the list was "not a joke."

As the AP story says, "It was unclear if the boy's response to police meant he felt the game was not a joke or that the list was really meant to indicate that harm could come to his friends."

So if this was unclear, then why is the title of the story "Ukiah boy arrested after fantasy game hit list goes too far"?  And why does the first sentence of the story reinforce this statement?

It sounds almost as if this is one of those bad situations where a young person does something meaningless that gets blown way out of proportion.  The police have most likely acted in the best way possible for the protection of all involved, but it's a pity that the media still has to use gaming as a crutch to hype a story in this way.

Reality Checks: A hit list with real names on it would not have anything to do with D&D, since D&D characters are fictional.  Spells are not cast on "players," but could be cast on those players' characters.  D&D is not a board game.


Reality Checks are a new feature at The Escapist - Nitpicky corrections to the article in question, supplied for the benefit of those who may not know enough about role-playing to realize the errors that have been made in a particular article.  If you find some Reality Checks that need writing, feel free to submit them!
Popular Game Sparks Two Riots; Several Arrests Made

Police have arrested 65 people in connection with a riot that broke out on Sunday night after the results of a popular game caused widespread anger and animosity.  Rioters threw bottles and rocks at passing cars, and injured three firemen.  Ten cars and a McDonald's restaurant were set ablaze.  Most of the arrests made were for drunkenness.

Police reported a similar riot two weeks prior, with much of the same sort of activity - setting of fires, breaking windows, and throwing rocks at passing vehicles.

The game in question is football.  The people are Raiders fans, excited by the results of the playoffs in the first riot, and angry over the results of the Super Bowl in the second.

Okay, I know I'm probably going to hear it for this.  But whether you love football, hate it, or don't care either way, it has to make you wonder - why do things such as sports riots always avoid the vigilant gaze of those who search for the causes of violence in society?  Why are professional sports (excluding wrestling, of course) exempt from blame when the fans cause this sort of damage?  Wouldn't the fact that these riots happen with a victory as easily as with a defeat be enough to warrant an investigation into the link between sports and violent behavior?

I'm not trying to make a connection - I'm merely pointing out an inconsistency.  It's just something to think about.  Flame me if you will.

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