The Role-Playing Society

The Role-Playing Society Since The Release Of Dungeons Dragons In , Role Playing Games RPGs Have Spawned A Vibrant Industry And Subculture Whose Characteristics And Player Experiences Have Been Well Explored Yet Little Attention Has Been Devoted To The Ways RPGs Have Shaped Society At Large Over The Last Four Decades Role Playing Games Influenced Video Game Design, Have Been Widely Represented In Film, Television And Other Media, And Have Made Their Mark On Education, Social Media, Corporate Training And The Military This Collection Of New Essays Illustrates The Broad Appeal And Impact Of RPGs Topics Range From A Critical Reexamination Of The Satanic Panic Of The S, To The Growing Significance Of RPGs In Education, To The Potential For Serious RPGs To Provoke Awareness And Social Change The Contributors Discuss The Myriad Subtle And Not So Subtle Ways In Which The Values, Concepts And Mechanics Of RPGs Have Infiltrated Popular Culture

Andy Byers is Free Church Tutor and Teaching Fellow at Cranmer Hall, Durham University, and Chaplain to St Mary s College, Durham University.Andy holds degrees from Duke University Th.M , Beeson Divinity School M.Div , and recently completed his PhD in the Department of Theology at Durham His thesis, Johannine Theosis The Fourth Gospel s Narrative Ecclesiology of Participation and Deificati

❮Reading❯ ➷ The Role-Playing Society  Author Andrew Byers –
  • Paperback
  • 320 pages
  • The Role-Playing Society
  • Andrew Byers
  • 06 June 2019
  • 9780786498833

10 thoughts on “The Role-Playing Society

  1. says:

    As one might expect, The Role Playing Society Essays on the Cultural Influence of RPGs is an anthology of academic papers concerning the rumors, exaggerations, and possibilities of role playing games RPGs advanced by both those afraid of interactivity and those biased toward it In one essay, one reads that it is, no accident that adaptive choice arose in a recreational form at this time Cold War to satisfy a strong national need to recast contingency, not as a fatal determinant, but as liberating advantage Location 1618 Indeed, the fact that RPGs grew out of the confluence of wargame culture and fantasy literature would confirm this The evolution of wargaming culture into RPG culture is both historically and logically linked to the evolution of conventional warfare into nuclear contingency planning Location 1621 Wargaming culture is cited later in the book when the essayist admits The success of Prussia in the Austro Prussian War led to widespread adoption of wargaming as a training tool by the French, British, Italian, Austrian, Russian, Japanese and eventually American militaries Loc 2180 The book also justifies the learning capacity of Tabletop Role playing Games by citing Paul Cardwell s Role Playing Games and the Gifted Student Cardwell lists the following skill categories stretched by role playing Following Directions, Vocabulary Research, Independent Self Directed Study, Planning, Choice Decision Making Mental Exercise, Evaluation, Cooperation Interaction, Creativity Imagination, Leadership, Problem Solving, Critical Thinking Predicting Consequences and even Loc 2198 Eventually, the authors assert that games become laboratories in which the efficacy of the skills that the instructor is attempting to teach are questioned and tested, and their value or lack thereof made apparent Loc 2233 Obviously, these positive assertions are different than the first assessments of the TRPG experience.The first essay is about the Satanic panic with regard to Dungeons Dragons in what I call the bad old days of the late 70s to early 90s At Location 580, readers are remined that during that period, Many occult experts and police consultants argued that playing DD was a kind of gateway activity that would, almost inevitably, lead to greater involvement in occult or Satanic activities Of course, there is an entire generation of counterfactual evidence since Satanism and occult activities are not even a significant minority religion in the modern world Another panic was the suicide theory that DD drove teenagers to suicide The actual statistics put the lie to that because, during the panic twenty eight teenagers who played DD regularly had committed suicide But the average suicide rate for teenagers nationwide in the United States is about one in 10,000 Since some three million teenagers played the game, the number of suicides expected among the players was 300 Location 1179 On the opposite side, a number of clinical studies showed, Quite inversely, a handful of studies found role playing related to increased self efficacy that denotes a person s private feeling of ability to act efficaciously in the world, and thus affect his her own life Low self efficacy is tied to anxiety, depression, and similar states The clinical literature suggests that increases in self esteem and self efficacy engendered though role playing stem from camaraderie, a sense of accomplishment, and the empowering characteristics of manipulating a symbolic framework of meaning, such as efficacious heroics in a morally meaningful world Location 1192 In short, the research is ambiguous Thus far, no study is sufficiently broad and well designed to allow for confident assertions It s almost enough to revise the Mark Twain scale of falsehoods to Lies, damn lies, and research But if I was unconvinced with regard to the research surveyed in the chapter on psychological impact, I was fascinated by the conclusions in the next essay At first, I wanted to deny this author s assertion that the Cold War presented a particularly fecund seed bed for games and, particularly role playing and video games I started playing complex games during the Cold War and, except for understanding why certain military based games were perceived during the Cold War and noticing the number of post apocalyptic themed games there were in the marketplace of that era, I hadn t really considered the Cold War as a causal factor Now, I think I must concur with the assertion It is no accident that adaptive choice arose in a recreational form at this time to satisfy a strong national need to recast contingency, not as a fatalistic determinant, but as liberating advantage Specifically, these games align with the preparations offered by governmental documents e.g., participation in civic defense initiatives and construction of fallout shelters as a way of investing citizens with the power to influence their own fates and join their fates to that of the nation Locations 1618 1621 The author pointed out that the existence of traps in RPGs demands constant vigilance and is an oddly pleasurable form of paranoia evocative of Cold War patriotism, gone underground like American families in their fallout shelters Locations 1827 1828 This essay even sees the leveling up process to apotheosis to be indicative assurance of survival through preparation and wise choices in a threatening and dynamic environment Loc 1896 1897 There is a fascinating statistic in the book It rings true, but I don t think I ve seen it specified so precisely It states that online MMORPGs generate over 2 billion annually Despite major advancements in game delivery graphics, and other technical features, 85 percent of these games still adhere to the tropes of tabletop fantasy RPGs set in motion by DD Loc 1988 One of the most valuable sections for me was the specific application of games to the learning environment Not only did I purchase Kyle Simmons Magicians A Language Learning RPG, a game to help one learn Korean Loc 2398 by using that language as the language of magic and requiring one to use Korean to cast spells, but I learned of a simple game development system named Alice Loc 3127 , and also purchased FreeMarket, a government and economic game using the idea of a Transhuman future Loc 3920 A key idea in this section was, Collaboration, interactivity, and the potential to elicit emotional responses in players students for example, considering what it means to be human are key elements of game based learning GBL , which uses challenges related to games that often have a fantasy element in order to engage players in learning through the development and creation of a story Loc 3109 One teacher expressed her his frustration with getting students to take positions against each other She He pointed out that transference to a game experience allows one to attack positions without attacking the person Perhaps the best advice in selecting designing such games is to search out games with disjunctive potential and to play them with the open minded intent to learn about oneself and the socially constituted world in which one lives Loc 4281 This summary of this book barely touches on all of the useful material herein At first, I thought this was going to be a lightweight volume The further I read, the interesting and useful material I found I had originally thought about this book as a textbook, but it is primarily a reference work for educators And in that final consideration, it is solid value.

  2. says:

    The book is very pedagogy heavy in its focus and most of the essays tend to focus on how the mechanisms and methods of role playing games could be incorporated in teaching Only few essays seem to pertain specifically on the games themselves, be it history or development of games from DnD onwards I didn t personally enjoy this focus and thus felt the book quite dull and very little about role playing itself To be fair, the book does not claim to be a foray into the development of games, but I still felt focus on the games, rather than how they can be used outside their own context Educational and commercial use are all fine albeit possibly a bit cynical on the latter case , but still the focus of the book felt quite slanted Naming the book appropriately would feel fair towards the reader.Moreover, possibly because the book didn t discuss the games themselves pretty much, the scope of RPG s stayed very narrow Nearly every essay based itself on some generalized conception of DnD, even though there are plenty other games besides DnD and even DnD has numerous incarnations besides the original simplistic sword and sorcery variant Broadening the concept of role playing outside DnD could ve given the book a better viewpoint.

  3. says:

    I was too much of a nerd in high school in a jock school to have the opportunity to play RPGs, and then life got in the way of having fun that required any regular investment of time But my husband came complete with a couple crates of DD manuals and old OLD Dragon magazines, and now all three of my sons play DD My oldest writes his own games with a friend So this book looked intriguing.The book s generally academic, with a very wide range of areas represented among the articles It starts with a little history of the Satanic Panic and the push against RPGs, then moves eventually to a fascinating article on Adaptive Choice in Ludic Literature including RPGs and the Choose Your Own Adventure books The author discusses these in light of the uncertainties associated with the Cold War era and the US government s distribution of pamphlets telling citizens what they can do to protect themselves from nuclear war The idea there being that having a plan would keep up morale even if it wouldn t necessarily help to save your butt He suggests that RPGs create a proxy world in which you have choice and power and the ability to survive, which provides a sense of mastery and counteracts a sense of hopelessness about the larger world situation which you are indeed powerless to change A book I read a while ago, Dancing at Armageddon suggests something similar about the survivalist culture that having a plan and taking steps to prepare for your favorite apocalypse provides a sense of mastery that offsets the alienation and powerlessness people feel in their daily lives Since I m a physics teacher, The Teacher as Dungeon Master also caught my eye Gamifying learning is a thing, of course, and sounds wonderful in a world where you have a small enough number of students to manage what DM would consent to a campaign containing 26 PCs and aren t chasing meaningless content standards The author acknowledges the risk that the epic quest can either uplift the students or kill their intellectual interests All in all, an interesting book Not every article will interest every reader, but I think every reader will find an article that interests them.

  4. says:

    While some people might find this book to be interesting, the majority are going to see it as nothing than an academic indulgence The writing is geared towards academia, instead of gamers who would actually be interested in the subject matter, and as such, was a bit off putting Several of the writers seemed to be interested in pushing an agenda and puffing their chests With chapter titles such as Psychological Effects of Fantasy Games on Their Players A Discourse Based Look at the Evidence and Building the Culture of Contingency Adaptive Choice in Ludic Literature from Role Playing Games to Choose Your Own Adventure Books , it became clear that bloviating was to be the norm throughout most of the chapters There is some interesting information contained within, but you will have to sift through much of the book to find it One high note is the inclusion of excellent Notes and Bibliographies at the end of each chapter Clearly not a book for the casual gamer or casual reader.

  5. says:

    I cannot recommend this one, it was a slog to read The book is scholarly in its various authors approaches and I don t mind scholarly works but this book was boring The text seems directed at educators with an interest in turning tabletop RPG techniques towards their lesson plans Other than that I see no other reason to put yourself through this book The last section of the book had two chapters essays focused on a Google app Ingress and another the descent of Munchkin from tabletop RPGs These are really a waste of time unless you have an interest in either of those two things I really did not like this book not to mention the physical book itself it was so poorly bound that several page folds fell out when I first opened it.

  6. says:

    Full disclosure I received this book in exchange for an honest review

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