Mother to child: "Those kinds of people kill people" (talking about role-playing gamers) March 15th, 2019.

by Hawke Robinson published 2019/03/17 15:37:00 GMT-7, last modified 2022-11-12T09:45:18-07:00
Variations of this happen so often that I generally don't bother posting about it anymore. Typically anywhere from once per month to once per week, I encounter something in the ballpark of these negative attitudes about role-playing gamers/gaming from the inculcated myths. But this past Friday was exceptional, with 3 separate families forbidding their children!

Children: "Mom, why can't we play that game?" Mother: "We don't play those kinds of games. Those people who play those games kill people!".

Not a month goes by that I don't personally run into someone expressing some kind of anti-gamer/gaming attitude in some variation, if not weekly. Our other volunteer staff run into it across the USA and in other countries.

It has been so commonplace, I stopped bothering to mention each instance anymore. But 3 times in just a few hours was quite exceptional that day!

I personally ran into this recently across our 8 western states  RPG Tour, plus when briefly in Colorado and Philladelphia since September 2018.

We've been operating as RPG Research since 2004, but I've been involved with RPGs since 1977, and RPG research since 1983, running RPGs in classrooms since 1985, and in therapeutic settings since 2004.

Prior to about 1982 it wasn't an issue (see the movie E.T.), then from about '82 onward the anti-gamer/gaming attitudes began to spread. They aren't as bad as the 80s and 90s, but still very prevalent.

This is also very much prevalent in professional circles, not just laypeople. All of our presentations in professional nongeek/gamer settings require debunking the myths first, else progress will not be made.  Just a few years ago the head of the therapeutic recreation (TR) department at a state psychiatric institute, (more than a dozen TR staff) who at least was willing to have an initial conversation at a professional gathering, cut me off in mid-research-statements stating "Over my dead body will I allow RPGs in our facility", as he then turned on his heel and left. Fortunately his younger staffers said, "just wait, he'll be retiring soon, and we'd like to talk then."

I run into this in a wide range of locations, populations, and circumstances.

I have run into the negative legacy of B.A.D.D., the Pat Robertson 700 Club, local congregational leadership, and the moral/satanic panic of the 80s even in 2010-2019 anywhere from California to Chicago, Atlanta to Arizona to Washington, and in between. Also our staff has run into it in Canada, England, France, & Belgium, just to name a few.

See the list of additional examples linked at the end of this article.

What was exceptional this time was that it happened three different times, in variation, with 2 other families, for a total of 3 separate families all within a couple of hours!

Those other 2 sets of parents were also either verbally or literally dragging their kids away, not willing to let us have a conversation. 3 different families in one day was much higher than usual by far, and thus this article bringing it up more publicly, since it was especially bad that day.

All 3 families were around at different times, the two other families' kids were at the door in the hallway, watching, wanting to play, but their parents said no, and eventually made them leave with similar, though not quite as severe, admonishments as the first family.

All this was just this past Friday, March 15th, 2019, as we were setting up at the Deer Park Spokane County (Eastern Washington, USA) public county library for our weekly tabletop Drop In and RPG community outreach programs.

We were there from 3:30 pm to just after 7:00 pm, but most of the "action" took place between 3:45 pm to 6:00 pm.

Fortunately we were able to get a 4th family to overcome their fears and give it a shot. And had great turnaround in their attitude. They were greatly pleased to see 3 of the family of 7 kids, working cooperatively, not squabbling, around ages 4 to 9, playing No Thank You Evil.

Running into anti-gamer/gaming comments and attitudes once per month/week is pretty average. Usually it is as they walk past, or they are intentionally talking very "passive-agressively" with overtly loud statements to each other or the interested kids, making their beliefs clear to us, but not willing to provide a chance to speak with us or even take a brochure or card.

We usually turn it around if they are willing to speak with us, but some people won't even let us have a conversation with them. Fortunately there are usually more families that had similar concerns but are willing to have a conversation, and let their kids try the game, and watched, learned, and changed their minds. Those that do, usually will try it, and we turn it around. between our research brochures, and their seeing what the game actually is, rather than their inculcated misconceptions of what an RPG is about.

We run these RPG outrearch programs dubbed "Drop In and RPG" at different public locations each Friday (and soon adding weekends). This is why we keep doing the weekly outreach at so many locations outside of the "gamer and geekdom bubble".

These terribly inculcated beliefs are a big part of why the outreach programs are so important.

Now, obviously, I'm bringing it up very visibly with what we do, and the very obvious artwork and large vehicles advertising the games, see the and , so of course we're going to have more overt engagement from folks, but that is part of the point, so that we can take this on to raise awareness, and educate the ignorance out of folks. It is a challenge, but it is definitely working.

This is why we open most of our presentations with shooting down the myths first, and then building up from there. As per this article on "Why 'waste' so much time on the past?". This is why.


We hope more people around the world will consider doing the same.

Happy & health gaming!

FYI, helpful resource for anyone else running into Christians concerned about RPGs, The Christian Gamers Guild:


RPG Research is a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable research and human services organization with over 50 volunteer staff members, about half in our region, the rest across several continents.

Fortunately there are a lot of resources and persuasive arguments available when we have these encounters, including the the Christian Gamers Guild and others.

We have quite a few Christians in our staff. Some that had actually stopped playing in the 80s due to the panic, but are now back and advocating.

As long as people let us have a conversation, our success rate is very high.

We have overwhelming research evidence, and for those that don't care about research, we have the aforementioned resources.

Also we use a lot more than just D&D: Dr Who, The One Ring RPG, No Thank You Evil, etc.

We do have a couple of Christian members who literally promised at each of their parent's death bed not to play D&D, and have followed that literally, but now do play other RPGs as long as not D&D-based, as a work around.

As Requested, Additional Examples

Papers/Presentations on / / etc.

Self-Deception & Propaganda Against Role-Playing Gamers by B.A.D.D. and Others (Psychology of Deception Paper).

Why "waste" so much time discussing the RPG past?:

The Defamation of Role-Playing Games & Gamers, Conflict & Barriers to Interpersonal Effectiveness, Addressing Inculcated Stereotypes & Prejudice:

Personalities and Alienation of Dungeons and Dragons Game Players:

The Battle Over Role Playing Gaming - Other Minds Magazine:


Why the Popular Negative Stereotypes About Role-playing Gamers is Important To Address -

Yet Another Example of Inculcated Stigma Regarding Role-Playing Gamers:

The Defamation of Role-Playing Gaming and Gamers

Mockery of Gamers -

Gamer Floater Theory 1 -

Gamer Floater Theory variant -

Presentation on Conflict and Barriers to Interpersonal Effectiveness Addressing Inculcated Stereotyping and Prejudice Toward RPG -

PDF of the above -

Short list of the Typical Inculcated Concepts About Role-Playing Games and Gamers -

RPG Paper The Stigmas and Benefits -

Dungeons & Dragons and Other Fantasy Role-Playing Games -

Big Bang Theory Examples of Inculcated Gamer Stereotypes in Current Years -

Videos & Video Comments

Ongoing Christian Stigma against RPGs & RPGers, Youtube & ongoing Comments:

2020 Example of inculcated myths & attitudes at Starbucks in Seattle/Millcreek:

Comments from Other Sources to this Article

Facebook 20190324:

Silveira Rodrigo: Sad to hear that, I thought this kind of crap I would have less when i move overseas, but seems the problem is worldwide :/
Back in the 90's, the RPG scene in my country was growing fast, we had events with public and private sponsoring, had events on public streets, public buildings. Then around 2000 we had a murder case here than initially was tied to RPGs because they found in the bedroom of the victim some Vampire The Masquerade books and police thought it was some kind of cult.
That case damaged deeply the scene, no brand would want to sponsor events or would want to see their names tied to RPGs. This affected the whole country, but specially my state, where the crime happened. It was all bs based on lazy police work, later they would find the real guilty, nothing to do with RGPs, but by them the RPG reputation was already ruined by the media.
Recently I organized an event aimed to show teachers show to use RPGs to Empowerment and protagonism of Black people, I choose a community school that works with low income students, school ran by a religious organization, I thought would be positive and help to demystify the RPG. When I went to present the project, they bought up the subject of the crime, I explained what really happened and the positive aspects of RPGs. They loved and were even enthusiastic when I explained the uses of the hobby besides being "just a game" and approved I used the place for the event.
After that initial meeting tho, I found so many people asked "isnt that murder game where people die if loose it?" to the school administration that even tho they didnt cancel the event, they made no effort to let the students and teachers to know about it, to avoid connect the hobby with the institution, affecting the attendance, as my target audience was the people in the school.
I was very disappointed to see that case still haunting me so many years later, I can see we will carry this stigma for a long time, and I don't know how our future will be, since religious conservative mindset is growing here and we have them in mass in the government, I wouldn't be surprised if the "murder game" get in the shooting line.

Document Actions

Hawke Robinson
Hawke Robinson says:
Mar 18, 2019 11:54 AM
Addendum: We are volunteers over staff of 55 with about half in our region, the rest across several continents. Fortunately there are a lot of resources and persuasive arguments available, including the the Christian Gamers Guild and others, and we have quite a few Christians in our staff. Some that had stopped playing in the 80s due to the panic, but are now back and advocating. As long as they let us have a conversation our success rate is very good. We have overwhelming research evidence, and for those that don't care about that, we have the aforementioned resources. Also we use a lot more than D&D: Dr Who, The One Ring RPG, No Thank You Evil, etc. We do have a couple of Christian staff members who literally promised at each of their parent's death bed not to play D&D, but have followed that literally, and now do play other RPGs as long as not D&D-based as a work around to keeping their literal word.
Hawke Robinson
Hawke Robinson says:
Feb 26, 2020 02:31 PM
Update: We hit Volunteer #115 this month. See the Videos section from Intagram for a recent example at Seattle Starbucks this 2020.