Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Escapist - 15th Anniversary

Here's a fun announcement.

I should have more of my own material to share soon!




Roleplaying advocacy website celebrates fifteen years of operation.

November 15, 2010, Felton Delaware

The Escapist, a roleplaying advocacy website based in Felton, Delaware, celebrates fifteen years of operation in December of 2010.

For fifteen years, the site has worked to improve the public image of the roleplaying hobby, and outline the social and cognitive benefits it can provide.

"Tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) and others are the modern equivalent of the ancient tradition of storytelling," said William J. Walton, author of The Escapist. "Likewise, live action roleplaying games are an entertaining form of improvisational theatre. Both forms of roleplaying encourage creativity, problem solving, spatial reasoning, teamwork, and social interaction. Not only that, but roleplaying games can help develop math and language skills and foster interest in history, science, art, world cultures, and more."

The roleplaying hobby has not always received positive coverage in the media. During the early 1980s, two isolated events led many to connect D&D with suicide. The same happened in the 1990s when a handful of events, including the Columbine school shooting, were believed to be connected to the Vampire: The Masquerade roleplaying game.

"The Escapist began as an online resource to combat the myths and misconceptions about the hobby," said Walton. "Many negative and false claims were made that didn't stand up to scrutiny - claims that the game could lead players to suicide, crime, insanity, demonic possession, and devil worship."

Over time, more people became aware of the roleplaying hobby and what really happens during a game, and the myths began to fade, Walton said. More help came from celebrities who professed their interest in roleplaying games, including Stephen Colbert, Vin Diesel, James Franco, Matthew Lillard, Wil Wheaton, and the members of Weezer and My Chemical Romance, to name a few.

As the negative press began to decline, the site expanded to cover other facets of roleplaying advocacy - bringing new players to the hobby, encouraging gamers and game companies to get involved in philanthropy, and promoting roleplaying with kids, and in library programs and schools.

In early 2010, the site announced a new project, "Read an RPG Book in Public Week," a thrice-yearly event that encourages roleplaying enthusiasts to take their rulebooks with them when they leave the house and "get caught" reading them in public. The goal of the event is to make the hobby more visible, inspire questions and conversation, and possibly even attract new players or bring back lapsed ones.

Over the years, Walton and the site have been featured in numerous news stories and interviews, two documentaries on roleplaying, and in two books - Steve Racer's "God Loves the Freaks" and Ethan Gilsdorf's "Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks."

For the fifteenth anniversary, Walton plans to feature a retrospective of the site's many changes over the years.

For more information, visit www.theescapist.com, and contact WJ Walton at rpgadvocate@gmail.com

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