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The Panic Over Dungeons & Dragons (in 1985)

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In the mid 1980s, the U.S. media latched on to a story: teens were committing suicide, and the roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons was somehow to blame. As a kid who was playing D&D during this media firestorm, I remember the outcry pretty vividly. All the kids I knew who played the game were nerds, just like me. I was vaguely aware that sometimes teens did commit suicide...perhaps even nerds. Was there any connection between nerds playing D&D and nerds committing suicide? Not from what I saw. But I saw a lot of adults up in arms, concerned for my health and my soul, while for me, D&D was just a fun way to socialize and nerd out with my friends. (A similar discussion centered on teen suicide and heavy metal, and it always seemed equally bizarre to me.)

In 1985, 60 Minutes broadcast a segment on the controversy over Dungeons & Dragons, interviewing the families of kids who had killed themselves, and who had also been D&D players. 60 Minutes also interviewed D&D creator Gary Gygax, who stated that the whole thing was just "a witch hunt." If you played D&D in the 80s, or remember the controversy over it, this video is worth a look:

[This video may not work on your mobile device. But here are more examples of print media outrage over D&D from that era.]

Now that most of the people in the 60 Minutes story are either dead or discredited, the whole thing seems like a distant bad memory, one of many moral panics that swept the U.S. in the 1980s.

This post originally appeared in 2009.

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technology
Take a Look Inside the 1987 Consumer Electronics Show
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iStock

Since June 1967, the Consumer Electronics Show has provided a venue for tech companies to show off their hottest products for the upcoming year. It’s also become a way to measure the progression of technology over recent decades, as the video below shows.

According to Sploid, the footage was filmed by Art Vuolo at the Consumer Electronics Show held in Chicago in the summer of 1987. The 30-year-old tape chronicles a time when camcorders, VCRs, and “portable” TVs were considered cutting-edge gadgetry. As we know, it would only be a few decades until those items served more of a purpose as kitschy craft supplies than actual hardware.

After watching part one of Vuolo’s series, check out the other three videos from the event which include a Casio synth guitar and an early video phone.

[h/t Sploid]

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Carol Munro // Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0
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The End Is Near for Microsoft Paint
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Carol Munro // Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

Microsoft Paint is one of the few programs that has come standard in every Windows operating system since the tech company was founded. Now, after a 32-year run, The Telegraph reports that MS Paint is set to be discontinued.

When the program was introduced as part of Windows 1.0 in 1985, MS Paint allowed users to sketch doodles with their cursor on a blank canvas. The low-tech concept hasn’t evolved much since then, but MS Paint still maintains a loyal fan base, attracting 100 million users a month in 2016. Now, those artists will have to go elsewhere to create their digital masterpieces: In its recent announcement of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft listed Paint as a “deprecated” app, which means the company will no longer support it and it will probably disappear from future Windows versions.

In place of Paint, Microsoft is launching a more advanced art-making app called Paint 3D. Like the original program, Paint 3D allows users to create quick drawings using digital pens and paintbrushes. But the new feature is geared more toward creating 3D art, something that was never offered in MS Paint.

When the Fall Creators update comes out in September, it may mark the end of an era for Windows users. But don’t count on MS Paint being out of the game for good—Microsoft has been known to revive classic features, as was the case with Clip Art in 2016.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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