Monday, 20 December 2010

D&D is 3rd Greatest Toy!!

Jonathan Ross
Last night's marathon 3 hour rundown of classic toys on Channel 4, presented by Jonathan Ross, saw Dungeons and Dragons see off the electronic revolution and come in at number 3.

A reasonably sympathetic review of the game featured the usual stock footage of contemporary geeks and live roleplayers in plastic ears.  The highlight being a short piece from Ian Livingstone OBE (Co-founder of Games Workshop and CEO of Eidos) and the outing of comedian Marcus Brigstocke as a D&D player.

It was a shame that it's high position in the chart was marred by a comment that the poll was rigged by thousands of geeks, and the show's complete disregard of D&D's influence in other fields like computer games.


  1. It was a fantastic and very subversive moment to see D&D beat the Wii into 4th place on national TV.

    However I cannot agree that what was presented was "A reasonably sympathetic review of the game". Maybe I am being over-sensitive but what I saw was rather snide, sneery commentary and stereotyping from most of the presenters from start to finish (including Marcus Brigstocke), with only a slight concessionary note at the end by Jonathan Ross admiting that the game was still popular and still spawning new editions.

    The commentary was interspersed with footage of low-end LARPing in very poor quality kit (the opening shot was of a group of LARPers), Spinal Tap in the background and grainy footage from the 70's of the dorkiest looking people they could find playing D&D. The whole thing was set up to invite the viewer's ridicule.

    I was particularly disappointed that Ross didn't come across as a stronger advocate for the game because he interviewed Vin Diesel very favourably a while back, in which D&D was discussed in a positive light.

    I've been reading a few reactions in various forums and discussion boards today, and many people reacting with surprise at D&D in the #3 slot. Typical responses are:

    "I thought D&D was a lot more niche than that"
    "That was a bit random"
    "People voted D&D for the lols"
    "It was an online campaign to throw a spanner in the works"
    "People who play D&D spend all their time online so they're more likely to vote in an online poll"

    While there was a campaign - sort of - there was no facebook page or noisy campaign to persuade people to vote for D&D that reached the media radar, just a bunch of people quietly getting the word out. And as for other toys - particularly gaming consoles - do people imagine that these don't also have large online fan communities? I know of several other campaigns for toys (e.g. Action Man) that were being run.

    The reality that these people don't want to accept, is that pen-and-paper RPGs are the dark matter of the gaming world - quietly huge.

    Welcome to D&D Club.
    The first rule of D&D Club is: you do not talk about D&D Club.
    The second rule of D&D Club is: you DO NOT talk about D&D Club!
    Unless you are voting in an online poll..... ;-)

  2. LOL, I was being nice to C4. The grainy period footage was pretty much de rigeur throughout the show. I guess that D&D is just fortunate that the advertising budget (back in the day) didn't stretch to something truly cringeworthy.

  3. An article taking the other point of view: