Guilty Pleasure or Life-Shaping Experience?

Gamespy has a series of over two dozen articles detailing the history of Dungeons & Dragons, the game that, for many a geek, dweeb, and nerd (now better-known by titles like CTO or guru), was both the source and stigma of high school ostracism. The history told in the Gamespy series is pretty fascinating — a lot of stuff I remember as rumour and speculation is put into order in this surprisingly modern tale of market domination, poor business models, and interpersonal rivalries. In the end, though, D&D was always about a kind of social interaction (ironically given it’s reputation as a refuge for social rejects), which might give us just a small insight into why so many ex- or longterm D&D’ers, now fully embedded in the tech industry, are so interested in the social possibilities presented by new technologies.

It’s a scene familiar to many across the world. A small group of people sitting around a table littered with strangely shaped dice, thick books, and pieces of paper filled with arcane statistics. It’s a Dungeons & Dragons game, and while the rules may have changed a bit since it was first published, the social interactions between the players haven’t.

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