How "Dungeons & Dragons" Changed My Life

Now that Generation X is moving into middle age, they are leading a resurgence of the game Dungeons & Dragons. The game that "taught millions of geeks to socialize, empathize, level-up (in game and in real life) and emerge from the dungeons of their solitude to tell heroic stories" is being taught to second generation players and celebrated by those who grew up with it -and who credit the game with helping them to grow up.
Looking at PlaGMaDA, I remember how D&D taught me to love maps and hand-draw them myself. In that trove of old gear I found at middle age, I had discovered my beloved backdrops for heroic stories and imaginary derring-do: the Craggy Hills, the Untreaded Lands, the Lorsearch Plains. Mountains called Ramen-Nashew I'd painstakingly scribed with a blue quill pen. Here, an evil wizard's lair etched in Magic Marker. There, an underground labyrinth guarded by traps and monsters, with rooms numbered from 1 to 37, which I had drawn on aqua-lined graph paper, now smudged, almost sepia-tinged with age.

But by playing RPGs (role-playing games), I was not only teaching myself shoddy draftsmanship. I also learned to be confident and decisive, and to feel powerful. Even feel cocky. Some of the guts and nerve I role-played began to leak into the real world. By the time I graduated high school, I had transformed. I had used escapist fantasy to gather strength for later, when I was ready to come out of my shell. In this sense, the wave of nostalgia I've felt also springs from a desire to pay tribute to D&D. To thank the game for the gifts of creativity and self-actualization it bestowed upon us.

Author Ethan Gilsdorf relates his experiences and those of others in this article at Salon. Link -via TYWKIWDBI

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"Now that Generation X is moving into middle age, they are leading a resurgence of the game Dungeons & Dragons."

Perhaps but another big reason for the resurgence is that D&D retooled to appeal to MMORPG gamers. 3.5 Ed was basically the end of the old D&D paradigm. 4th ed is designed around being tabletop WoW. The game has come full circle.
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D&D (especially the older versions) is also very useful for teaching children math and problem-solving skills as well as encouraging reading and imaginative play, the latter of which is very important for social and emotional development. I can't wait until my kids are old enough to play (my oldest is 3), but for now they have giant fuzzy dice to throw around.
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