Role Playing Games- Cultural Evolution or Harmful Decline?

ximmtymTable top role playing games, one kind of uncommon interest, are often spoken of using the acronym RPG. However, other less used acronyms do exist. If one were to describe what RPG is one might liken it to Coppers and Burglars or an advanced form of play-pretend, but with rules to represent different factors such as luck, skill, and probability of the desired outcome. Others might describe RPG as players playing the main characters in a story, such as a novel or a film, and furthering the story by cooperative storytelling.

One person in the group acting as the Game Master, whose responsibilities are mainly to provide the players with a world, characters within that world to interact with and act as an arbiter, should an argument regarding the rules occur. In many schools there are social groups that are misunderstood and, in some cases, isolated or shunned due to having interests that might not follow present mainstream trends such as playing football, rugby or basketball. Though many, other than those who play RPGs or know someone who does, are ignorant as to what role-playing games are about, yet role playing games have been suffering negative publicity over the last decades in several countries (Sweden included) arguing that the hobby is harmful and, in extreme cases, that it should be banned.

One might claim that a small group sitting in a room, playing RPGs, is conducting an antisocial behavior that might hinder young people from developing important social skills, and therefore, should be considered a harmful hobby. On the contrary, as the name role playing suggests, the players assume the roles of fictional characters that, in many cases, have fully developed backgrounds, values, goals and behavior patterns that might cause clashes with other characters in the group that must be resolved by asking oneself what one’s character feels about the given situation and then, using the character’s personality as a guideline on solving the problem.