Newly appointed Norwegian minister of international development Heikki Holmas feels that role playing games can be beneficial to society, and could even help foster peace in the world by creating realistic conflict in a fictional setting.
Here's what he has to say about roleplaying:
“RPGs can be extremely relevant in putting people in situations they’re unfamiliar with, Save the Children have their refugee games. I have friends in Bergen who’ve run human-rights RPGs. But you have to be professional. You create real emotions when you play role-playing games, real emotions that stick.”
“That’s kind of the slightly scary aspect of role-playing games, which has to be considered. At the same time, it’s what makes it possible for RPGs to change the world. LARP can change the world, because it lets people understand that humans under pressure may act differently than in the normal life, when you’re safe.”
Heikki's opinion was formed by his experience as an avid tabletop and live action gamer, and the founder of Norway's roleplaying game convention RegnCon.
I like where Heikki is going with his strategy to use RPGs as a form of conflict resolution, but when you have all that Mountain Dew and Hot Pocket grease coursing through your veins things can get ugly, even if the conflict is only on paper.