Monday, 23 May 2011

Bad Press

Sorry I haven't been Blogging for a while, but I've not been well - and tons of family crap got in the way too.

In between reading the new Castle Keepers guide for C&C and going over my AD&D 1st Ed Books Again (I love doing that) I've been watching Movies, and Mazes and Monsters crept into my schedule.

A lot of people STILL think Mazes and Monsters is an accurate account of the ACTUAL events that led Rona Jaffe to write her Book Mazes and Monsters.
No doubt the TV Movie Myths and Monsters had its damaging effects, but the original Novel by Rona Jaffe - was more damaging in my opinion. 
Mainly (again in my opinion) because it came out at a time when Dungeons & Dragons was being attacked by various religious groups who alleged that it promoted Satanism and other forms of occult practices. 
The irony is that the novel is based in large part on the largely apocryphal (as in of "questionable authenticity") "steam tunnel incidents" of the late 1970's. 
The RIDICULOUS urban myth that developed during the infancy of Dungeons & Dragons, generally purporting that university students playing a live action version of Dungeons & Dragons disappeared into the utility tunnels of the school and became lost, and in some cases died of hypothermia or other causes - has actually little basis in reality. 
These legends had arrisen because to newspaper reports concerning the disappearance of a Michigan State student named James Dallas Egbert. Egbert had played Dungeons & Dragons and did in fact go into the steam tunnels of his school, but with the intent of committing suicide. 
When his attempt to end his life failed, he hid at various friends' houses for several weeks. During that time a private investigator hired by Egbert's parents- speculated in the press that perhaps Egbert had gone into the tunnels to play a live version of D&D and somehow gotten lost. 
The media did their usual thing and reported the theory as fact - thereby controversy over the effects of playing Dungeons & Dragons
IN ACTUALITY THE WHOLE THING WAS BUNK! But that didn't stop the religious freaks, zealots, and morons jumping on it whole scale!

The Dungeon Master: The Disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III is the 1984 book written by private investigator William Dear, in an attempt to "cash in" for his own gain - giving his own personal account of the 1979 "steam tunnel incident", which he claims was only written because the actual events were misrepresented by the news media.

The book recounts his experience investigating the 1979 disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III, a student at Michigan State University - and is just as flakey as Mazes and Monsters in its own way.

Egbert was a 16 year old child prodigy who was battling intense academic pressure, drug addiction, and personal issues - IN ACTUALITY, if you are interested Egberts personality and character was evenly distributed  between the four main characters Robbie Wheeling (Tom Hanks), Kate Finch (Wendy Crewson), Daniel (David Wallace), and Jay Jay Brockway (Chris Makepeace) - yet ANOTHER innacuracy compared to the reality.

He had entered the school's utility tunnels with the intent of committing suicide and went into hiding after that attempt was unsuccessful. After learning that Egbert had played Dungeons and Dragons, Dear, who was unfamiliar with the game, suggested that Egbert may have entered the tunnels to play a live action version of the game. This theory was taken as fact by the media and caused intense controversy over the psychological effects of role playing games. After several weeks, Egbert gave himself up to private investigator Dear.

In 1980, less than a year after the incident, Egbert successfully committed suicide by self-inflicted gunshot wound. Dear kept the true circumstances of the disappearance a secret until four years after Egbert's death, due to a promise he made to the boy not to reveal them.

Although Egbert was indeed a player of D&D - it was later found that his entry of the steam tunnels was TOTALLY unrelated to Dungeons and Dragons.

At the time, the 16-year-old as struggling with depression, was under INTENSE academic pressure from his family, AND was battling drug addiction. In addition, his young age, advanced intelligence, and other issues had made it difficult for Egbert to make friends.

Egbert entered the steam tunnels on August 15, 1979 with a bottle of methaqualone intending to end his life - the suicide attempt was unsuccessful and when he awoke the next day he went into hiding at a friend's house - leading to the search for the "missing boy".

When you know the real story, and understand the poor lads confusion and desperation - you realize all the scandal over D&D was LITERALLY drummed up by the press. All the bible bashing about the game that ensued and became more and more exaggerated led to increased sales and awareness of Dungeons and Dragons - so in reality, all these news hounds and god botherers did was do TSR a favour.

I don't know about you, but I find that kinda funny!