Nerds of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your bags of holding.


That’s a clip from Mazes and Monsters, the made-for-TV movie starring Tom Hanks, created to exploit the widespread (okay, pretty narrowly spread) fear that Dungeons & Dragons would make kids commit suicide and/or worship Satan. It was the eighties; everything was going to make kids commit suicide and worship Satan. Remember “Suicide Submission,” and the culture that briefly took Judas Priest seriously? The 700 Club was full of reports of kids all across America who became level 20 magic-users and killed themselves thinking they would achieve immortality, or sacrificed their little brothers to get the ingredients necessary for Power Word: Kill. It turned out that was like, two kids, but the message was disseminated nonetheless: Dungeons & Dragons will make your kid insane.

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