It's the Escapist's 16th birthday, which means that it's old enough to drive itself to the local game store now!
As I usually end up repeating every December, I'm not completely sure when I uploaded the first HTML files for "The Gaming Advocacy Website" (as it was originally called for the first six months) back in December of 1995, so I've deemed the 15th as the official anniversary of the site.
I've put together a sort of year-end recap for 2011, for the benefit of those who don't follow the site very closely (Shame! SHAAAAAME!), or may have missed some of things that the site has covered in the last 12 months.
THE STATE OF THE ESCAPIST ADDRESS
The site's 15th year saw just a couple of changes: In November, I added a new resource: The Five Ws of RPGs, a page designed for gamers to share with non-gamers to help them understand the hobby a little better, located at www.theescapist.info
. I also expanded the Atlas at the Young Person's Adventure League
to include a bunch of new RPGs that are great to play with kids (though I'm still trying to catch up with some of the reviews!). Tell Me About Your Character
is back after a long hiatus, with two new interviews - Perrin Rynning
and John Enfield
and a third that will be up tomorrow. (I'd really like to see this feature keep its new momentum, so if you haven't participated, please consider doing so!)
The site joined Google+
this year - if you're on G+ too, please add it to any of your RPG circles!
The biggest news of the year was the site's nomination for ENnie
awards! It didn't win the ENnie, but landed the Golden Ogre in the Oggie Awards! In other areas of recognition - The site's 404 page was listed as one of the best on Buzzfeed
, and the Dark Dungeons page
got a brief mention on Wil Wheaton's blog
, which is something I've been trying to get him to do for years now.
There were a lot of great stories to cover in 2011. Here's a recap, in case you missed any of them:
RPGS IN POPULAR CULTURE
A food blogger held a pizza party and played D&D with Robin Laws
- NBC's Community aired an AD&D-themed episode
, one of the prizes on an episode of The Price is Right was a trip to GenCon
, a lifeguard submitted an article on roleplaying as a training technique called Rescues and Roleplaying
, I found some great YouTube videos that reaffirm that yes, girls play D&D
, the Write Anything blog examined RPGs as writing inspiration
, my Origins 2011 report
included a close encounter with the Secret Service, the Gary Gygax biopic
was announced, I conducted an interview with the author of the D&D
-themed stage play Of Dice And Men
, John Kovalic commemorated the 1000th Dork Tower strip
with a humorous look at how times have changed for roleplayers, Occupy protestors were found enjoying their favorite RPG in at least three different cities (1
), Designers & Dragons
- a detailed history of the RPG hobby - was released (and lists The Escapist in the resources section!), I discovered (a year too late) a collection of gaming-themed nerdcore music called 20 Sided Rhymes
, and a classic RPG exhibit was unveiled at Duke library
GAMES AND GAMERS IMPROVING THE WORLD
Several charity and humanitarian efforts were organized by gamers this year: there was help for victims of the New Zealand earthquake
, the Wayne Foundation
was formed to give assistance to victims of human trafficking and child prostitution, an organization in Israel called Romach
works to help troubled youth through RPGs, the Random Encounter Kindness Bundle
was organized to help a fellow gamer pay her medical costs, and an RPG called Legend
helped raise money for Child's Play
. One very touching story covered the emotional benefits of the hobby, in which a homeless gamer
found escape from his troubles by creating a GURPS steampunk campaign.
RPGS AND EDUCATION / RPGS AND KIDS
Ben Garvey released an RPG game for very young children called Kids Dungeon Adventure
, Kevin Makice simplified D&D
for kids with D&Dish
, and DriveThruRPG declared November 14th-21st to be Teach Your Kids to Game Week
and invited your humble narrator to participate in the discussion. (I even made a post about the first RPG I ever ran for my own kids
, and how I pulled it off.)
On the education front, an article from the Austin Daily Herald included a statement from a teacher who confessed to using D&D to teach gifted students in the 1980s
, an interview with Language Arts teacher Larry Graykin about his educational role-playing game Diddorol
, and Dr. Scott Nicholson announced an "improvisational storytelling activity" for large groups called Crossed Paths
Despite surviving the dark age of the 1980s, the roleplaying hobby still comes across the occasional resistance from a stubborn few - and sometimes, I find more relics of that era that I've never seen before, and share them in the hopes that they will make all of us less susceptible to irrational thinking.
A reader pointed me to a video that may be the origin of the myth that D&D minis scream when thrown in a fire
, retired Virginia 'Cult Cop' Don Rimer
hosts another seminar that reinforces some old anti-RPG myths, the Texas school board
claimed that D&D
promotes "death and violence", a pro-RPG message on the Focus on the Family message board
eventually reveals that their "Castles and Cauldrons" anti-RPG radio message is still being aired regularly, remnants of satanic panic
from an RPG.net user, and Tucson Weekly's nostalgia piece
is a call back to a much more paranoid time.
...and that was 2011. Thanks to everyone who reads, shares, emails, Tweets, and comments on the site. Here's to a fantastic, adventure-filled 2012 for all of us! (Raises coffee cup.)