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Mazes & Monsters

May 29, 2008 - Matt Phillips
How often have you been told “video games will rot your brain”? Or, have you been scolded for spending countless hours playing World of Warcraft? The campaign against gaming didn’t begin with, nor will it end with the current crop of games. From the very birth of video games there have been those convinced that no good will ever come from them.

When I was younger the big scare was Dungeons & Dragons. Yes, the pen and paper role playing game that is the grandfather of the entire RPG genre of video games. I was never into the game. It requires a great deal of free time and imagination, not to mention enough people to play the game together. In the early eighties the game was characterized as satanic, with unwitting children casting dangerous spells and dealing in the occult.

The best example of the anti-role playing propaganda is the 1982 movie Mazes & Monsters. This movie stars none other than, Tom Hanks. It centers around an emotionally unbalanced youth that gets involved in a “Mazes & Monsters” game. He eventually ends up completely enveloped in the game, unable to distinguish reality from the imagined world created in his own mind. There are a number of thinly veiled attacks on Dungeons & Dragons throughout the movie, and it feels kind of like an after school movie (those of you over 30 will remember those).

I remember watching this movie as a child and thinking it was a great movie. It wasn’t until I was older that I actually understood the underlying message of the movie. It is now available on DVD. It is definitely worth watching just for laughs, if you can get it cheap.


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Mazes & Monsters New DVD