Article: Dungeons and WHAT Now?
Over the course of 2020’s quarantine, many unexpected events occurred, including the rise of strange hobbies to pass the time. Of these surgences, the comeback of the 80’s game Dungeons and Dragons is one of the morse surprising. Dungeons and Dragons, shortened to DnD, found a new life in this generation of teenagers in an incredible rush of popularity. In short, this game combines roleplay and combat strategy in a creative format allowing for groups of friends to have fun together. See, DnD’s been around for long enough that some of these new players even have parents who used to play it themselves; because of this, there are a lot of expectations and even misconceptions about what the game is like.
I took to the local population of DnD nerds to see what they had to say. When asked, Addison Sanchez (22’) said that the game wasn’t what he expected, and that “the beginning of the game is a little complicated with the learning curve and rolling stats for all of the characters, but after that it’s pretty much smooth sailing.” Past the starting setup, he says that his favorite part of the game is the freedom it allows for creativity. Alina Jahnson (24’) agrees, saying “I had expected more restricted worlds and mechanics, but what I instead found was a completely open world where the players often make the rules.” Creative aspects are absolutely why this game was well received; you can make the setting, the characters, the plot, and pretty much anything you want to your own liking, or enjoy one of the many adventures others have made and published. The game changes every time, and makes for unexpected surprises that players fall in love with.
Pop culture and the internet have jumped swiftly on this trend as well, featuring DnD on the hit show Stranger Things, in numerous podcasts, and even on livestreaming platforms. Gracie Martin (22’) says, “I think I had a good idea of what to expect because I had already listened to a couple DnD podcasts,” and, “It’s a lot of fun to experience a fantasy world and interact with other characters through roleplay.” As with other trends, it’s certainly hard to predict if this is a fad or here to stay. One major difference between now and the 80s when DnD hit its record popularity is the usage of online tools to play. I consulted with fellow DnD enjoyer and YouthBeats editor Marina Guevara (22’) to see if she believed this had any impact. She says, “Absolutely. The internet has not only spread discussion about DnD far and wide, but at the same time allowed a brand-new generation to skip the hassle of finding a local group and easily connect with players across the world.” DnD at its simplest is a couple sheets of paper and some dice, and now you don’t even need these to play. Online interfaces and websites have been created to make playing even simpler, and they make the game completely accessible to anyone who wants to try.
Finally, I asked the person who introduced me into DnD, Alexander Abbas (22’) what he had to say about the expectations vs the reality of the game. He says, “it’s essentially just a good way for people to get along, and yeah it has a nerdy stigma to it, but it shouldn’t. It’s just a bunch of people having fun and killing dragons.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.