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Fourteen years of The Escapist
Posted by WJWalton on Fri 04 of Dec., 2009 08:35 PST

Sometime this month, The Escapist will turn the ripe old age of fourteen. I've never been exactly sure what day I first put up "The Gaming Advocacy Website" (as it was called for the first few months of its existence), but I know it was sometime during early December of 1995.

For those who haven't heard the story a dozen times over already, I'll sum it up quickly - in 1995 I took a Technical Writing course that culminated with a paper and presentation on a specific problem and potential solution to it. I chose the stigmas attached to role-playing and collectible card games, and part of my research included conducting an online survey of RPG and CCG players. While collecting answers, I had a lot of requests to read the paper when it was finished, and decided that the easiest way to make it accessible to everyone would be to put it up on a website.

I became somewhat hooked on webmastering after that, and began to make updates to the page every now and then - the early form of what we now call "blogging." Four months later, in April of 1996, I renamed the site "The Escapist." Over the course of the next fourteen years, it gradually expanded into what you see today.

Fourteen is kind of a special number - it also happens to be how old I was when I first played Dungeons & Dragons. So the site is now as old as I was when I became a gamer.

While digging through some old relics earlier this year, I found the set of index cards that I made for my presentation, which included a hands-on look at some RPG books and Magic cards, a brief demonstration of how game combat can teach lessons in strategy and probability, and even a brief clip from Mazes and Monsters, the made-for-TV movie that misinformed a lot of people about RPGs.

I thought it would be fun to scan a few and put them up. (Yeah, it's probably fun for no one else but me, I realize that. But you could humor me a little, couldn't you?)

I particularly like the second-to-last card, where I propose creating a "Parent's and Teacher's Guide to Games." That was an idea that was somewhat forgotten once the website was up and began to receive some positive feedback, but I think I can look at it now as the seed for what grew in its place.

But I like the last card the most, and I'd like to think that for the last fourteen years, I have maintained the proper attitude, and maybe even done my part to help RPGs become "a more accepted and beneficial element of our society." And if not, then I'll certainly keep trying, maybe for another fourteen years at least!

To all of my readers and participants - thanks so much for your assistance, encouragement, and for helping to make The Escapist what it is today! It certainly would never have gotten off of the ground, or lasted as long as it has, without the great feedback and input I get from you, and I thank you for it.

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