Maybe you’ve been passed over for a promotion or just generally aren’t feeling like life is going the way you had hoped. Every so often, just a bad string of circumstances can leave you feeling like a different life could be far better. Don’t fret; you are far from the only one. While some of us find solace in television shows or novels, there is a certain swath of us who prefer to dig a little deeper and take part in an interactive world where things can be completely different from the everyday humdrum. Role Playing Games give us that opportunity, but the genre is a deep one with a rich history. Just where did this type of adventure originate, though?
Much like the name implies, Role Playing Games give players a chance to assume a completely new persona and embark on adventures ranging from ultra-realism to downright absurd fantasy. Most intrigued people know the term from the video game industry, where anthologies such as Final Fantasy, Paper Mario and Persona contain enough material to cover weeks worth of playtime while featuring vastly different plots — sometimes even in a single release. These video games – alongside their card-playing counterparts ala Munchkin – have roots dating back to the rulesets of fantasy wargames from the 1970s.
Originating in 1974, Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax’s Dungeons and Dragons is arguably the most well-known example, its success largely in part to being a game which tweaked the formula of battalion-based wargames to focus on more singular experiences that could then be augmented with other players’ own personal creations. While video games, card games, and tabletop adventures are the more popular forms of modern role playing games, there is a certain type of RPG that has even older roots.
Historical reenactments of certain cultural events have perpetuated dating back to the Han Chinese. Civil War battles in the southeastern United States, the adventures of Joseph Smith in Utah and the midwestern U.S., there is no shortage of chances to see dramatic performances covering a wide range of historical happenings.
Live Action Role Playing events give people the opportunity to bring the imaginative characters into the real world. After going to sometimes amazing lengths to create custom weapons, outfits, and backstories, LARPers gather together to recreate their worlds and physically take advantage of the chance to interact with similar players. Aspects of this gaming playstyle have integrated into numerous conventions and social media, as cosplay has given creative folks a chance to roam the halls of places like the Penny Arcade Expo and Comic-Con as anybody – or anything – their craftsmanship allows. Fun to think that ancient Chinese history and Shakespearean performances led to things such as Adam Incognito or awesome heavy metal videos.
The next time our current world just doesn’t quite feel right, take heart in knowing there is a way to find heart in a rich world of escapism and creativity. Role Playing Games cover many forms of entertainment and hobbies, so seek wisdom from the wizards at Epikos when you’re ready to explore new worlds.