SOME SEE A DARK SIDE TO RPGS; [METRO Edition]
Lauren Cooper, The First Academy Orlando Sentinel Orlando, Fla.:  Jul 21, 2000.  pg. X.2
Author(s): Lauren Cooper, The First Academy
Column Name: Role-playing Games
Section: RAVE
Publication title: Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Fla.: Jul 21, 2000.  pg. X.2
Source type: Newspaper
Text Word Count 512
Abstract (Document Summary)

Games such as Dungeons and Dragon, Tunnels and Trolls, RuneQuest and Dragon Quest have been attacked by some conservative Christians. These people believe the games contain occult content. Others believe that they lead teens or young adults to suicide or crimes because the players lose touch with reality.

Full Text (512   words)
(Copyright 2000 by The Orlando Sentinel)

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"I was 7 or 8 years old, and this group of teens were playing the game Dungeons and Dragons. Being the curious little girl I was, I found that they were really into the game. They had stories of people getting killed in the game and killing themselves and even having others kill them. This one girl in the group had scars that she called `battle` or `war' scars. She had cut her arms and legs because she had a `battle' where she got hurt. That's why I think role- playing games are wrong. They get people [in a hypnotic state) and get them to hurt themselves or even die."

Stories such as this one from Katy Jans, an upcoming sophomore at Dr. Phillips High, make people wonder if there is an evil element to RPGs.

Judy Reeves, a former teacher at The First Academy, said, "I don't know why being a character in D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) is different than being, say, Miss Scarlet in Clue or the race car in Monopoly. In reality, if you think about it, playing a character in Clue and in a RPG are just the same: playing a part."

Role-playing games are an opportunity for some people to open up and escape their everyday lives by slipping into that of a fictional character. Rick Byrum, an upcoming sophomore at Edgewater High, said, "Participating in role-playing games has helped me learn social skills, communications, respect for authority and responsibility. I hear that some people don't believe it's good, but it helped me more than anything. It helped me overall to become who I am today."

Games such as Dungeons and Dragon, Tunnels and Trolls, RuneQuest and Dragon Quest have been attacked by some conservative Christians. These people believe the games contain occult content. Others believe that they lead teens or young adults to suicide or crimes because the players lose touch with reality.

In 1982, a group was formed by the mother of a teenager who committed suicide called BADD (Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons). She has said she believes her son's death was a direct result of role- playing games. According to Religious Tolerance, the organization has been inactive for about three years.

But the people who believe these games are a bad influence still are talking. Johanna Micaelsen, a Christian author, says the games promote occultism and violence.

Over the years there have been stories in the news about suicides by teens involved in such role-playing games. Many studies, including ones by The American Association of Suicidology, the Center for Disease Control and Health & Welfare (Canada), all have found that these games are not directly linked to the suicides of teens and to any crime. People playing the games have committed suicide and crimes, but the studies found there was no evidence to blame the deaths on the games. Just as the computer is only as smart as the human makes it, these games are only as harmful as the intent of the person playing them.