The Wikipedia Problem

WikipediaOne of my favorite Hollywood stories involves Gene Wilder’s one condition for playing Willie Wonka in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory:

“When I make my first entrance, I’d like to come out of the door carrying a cane and then walk toward the crowd with a limp. After the crowd sees Willy Wonka is a cripple, they all whisper to themselves and then become deathly quiet. As I walk toward them, my cane sinks into one of the cobblestones I’m walking on and stands straight up, by itself; but I keep on walking, until I realize that I no longer have my cane. I start to fall forward, and just before I hit the ground, I do a beautiful forward somersault and bounce back up, to great applause.”

Asked why, Wilder said, “Because from that time on, no one will know if I’m lying or telling the truth.”

It’s a great story that really showcases Wilder’s brilliance. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it actually happened.

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What is the Most Important RPG Rule?

Player's Handbook

Role-playing games are filled with rules, sometimes spanning dozens of different books and supplements. However, most games lead off with some note in the preface that highlights the most important rule. This is Rule 0, and it’s usually there so everybody remembers to have fun. What Rule 0 is, though, varies from game to game and person to person.

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Remember when RPGs Equaled Satanism?

Satanic Panic

As a tabletop gamer from the early 1990s, it’s a little weird to me that the hobby is so mainstream these days. Most people know of Dungeons & Dragons or a similar game, and shows like Community celebrate the hobby. It wasn’t too long ago that playing D&D meant you were in league with Satan.

I’m serious – if you played a role-playing game in the 1980s or 1990s, your parents probably worried at some point or another that you were getting involved with Satanism. Just as heavy metal supposedly had satanic lyrics if you played the album backwards, D&D was believed by many to be a tool of the occult.

How did this get started? As with most cases of moral panic, it began with adults scrambling to explain senseless tragedies.

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