Westpaw films has posted a trailer for its upcoming historical documentary.
Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary seeks to chronicle the rise of the most popular gaming genre on the planet, specifically following the stories of the individuals who made it happen at the beginning, like the late Gary Gygax who wrote the rules for the first edition of the famous table top game.
Dungeons & Dragons was the first table top role-playing game which essentially applied rules to a form of group storytelling with a focus on fantasy worlds. It has since, directly or indirectly, influenced a multiple-industry spanning world of board games, table top games, and video games.
The documentary takes the viewer through the development of the books, the publication and surprise success of the system, the Satanism claims of the early days, and into the politics that tore the original company apart, and left Gygax lost and depressed, and ultimately led to the absorbtion of the game into another game company.
The synopsis of the film is thus:
The history of Dungeons & Dragons stretches back to 1974 when a part time cobbler from Wisconsin and a college student from Minnesota got together to create a war game. Their goal was to sell 1000 copies, ten times the amount of the usual war game run. It was an ambitious goal. A company was started, TSR. The result of their effort was, well…nothing short of historical.
By 1985, TSR had revolutionized the gaming industry and was selling upwards of 100,000 copies a month in 22 countries. By the end of that decade, D&D had become a cultural phenomenon. TSR estimated 90,000,000 people were playing D&D worldwide.
Like Andy Warhol’s Factory for the geek set, TSR was a hotbed of creativity, attracting some of the best commercial artists from around the world. However, nothing this big is realized without hardship. The story of TSR is one of unfortunate events, hubris, betrayal, greed and heartbreak. By the end of the 1980’s, most of the people who built the company had been forced out, many living only with the legacy and none of the riches.
Through interviews with people who lived this story and exhaustive research, Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary will not so much untangle the Rashomon-like story of TSR as it will give it perspective.
But the history of Dungeons & Dragons is only half the story. In a very real sense, Dungeons & Dragons changed the world. From its early years, Dungeons & Dragons became a training ground for careers in the realms the imagination and has influenced generations of computer programmers, designers, writers, actors and many others.
Its affect on society can be seen in everything from computer games to modern teaching theories and treatment for PTSD. Through interviews with public personalities, psychologists and sociologists, D&D:AD will explore how this game has touched the lives of everyone, even if they have never played the game.
Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary is still in production, and no release date has been announced.