When I was young, I remember watching a news report about kids who played Dungeons & Dragons harming themselves and others. I remember my church youth group even telling us that playing DND was like playing with Satan and that we'd go to hell for it.
For many years, I avoided anything that was DND because of that fear which was instilled in me. Ironically, that never stopped me from playing Gauntlet, which is a DND-like game, at the arcade when I was young.
While having a beer with my dad at the new Whole Foods in north Austin, my dad mentioned his concerns regarding my son and his involvement with Minecraft. He felt my son was spending too much time playing Minecraft and it was affecting his school work. It didn't help that my son mentioned to him that he had gotten an 86 in science class, because he had forgotten to do an assignment.
I explained to my dad that Minecraft is similar to what Legos were for me. The difference is that instead of building with limited blocks, kids can be creative building with unlimited amount of items on the computer. Instead of incorporating He-Man and GI-Joe with Lego men, kids can fight zombies and skeletons on the computer. Additionally, kids do learn a little about geology and crafting.
On our drive back from having a beer, I mentioned to my dad being invited by my friend to join his friends for geek night. I was excited to share my experience, "Dad, I was invited to play board games with some friends the other night. It was pretty cool. We played a game that is similar to Dungeons & Dragons and another that is like Risk"
I didn't expect his response, ""That's what concerns me... exposing your son to Satanic games. It's like playing the Ouija board. I just don't like that."
I downplayed the experience as an innocent board game between friends, and I swiftly changed the subject.
Like many other things, I started to think about this. I went online to do a little research as to when all this hoopla began about DND and Satanism.
It started when parents and police in the 1980s sought reasons as to why kids were killing. Rather than considering lack of cognitive reasoning and mental health of these kids--parents don't like to consider the thought of their kids being mentally ill--they sought answers in things that looked like the primary problem: board games that had demons, dragons, ghosts, and skeletons.
It all goes back to the Gauntlet game I use to play at the arcade, almost 30 years ago. I was a kid who went to church and feared God; yet, I still played the game that had wizards, ghosts, and goblins.