These are from the 1980 Libertyville (a northern suburb of Chicago) High School Yearbook, courtesy of edenpictures/Flickr. John Olson’s explanation of the game on the first page may be the best one I’ve ever heard.
Interesting how they’re referred to as the Dungeons and Dragons people. Why not players? Or fans? Maybe because no one really understood them. They were those people. They were Goonies.
And what about the crux of the blurb: “The game provides its participants with the action, battle, and adventure they may never find in real life”? Isn’t the act of pretending a real life event? If I imagine that I’m swinging a sword at a red dragon while rolling a d20, am I not finding adventure in real life? It’s a less physical experience than running between the tackles on a football field, but it’s no less real.
Look closely at these kids. They were themselves, and they probably took a lot of shit for it. They were geeks before geeks were cool.