Portrait of an Older Geek Learning to Play D&D (1982)

d&d portrait 1982

Boston, Massachusetts, March 19, 1982. (Photo: Unknown)

Probably from a Boston Herald story, the caption reads:

Chris Magliaccio, who helped organize the Dungeons and Dragons tournament at Museum of Science, playing the game. For the first time, I might add.

D&D tournaments were fairly common at museums of science in the early ’80s. You’ll recall this ad for a tournament in Miami. The game appealed to the kids who liked science because both enterprises are systems of knowledge organized around testable explanations.

I was more creative than analytical, so I enjoyed the fantastic, narrative aspect: building characters, adventures, exotic weapons, inescapably deadly dungeons, etc. That’s the genius of D&D, really. It captures both sides of the brain.

Good luck learning to play in such a short time, Chris. Can you see the beads of sweat on his forehead?

9 Responses to “Portrait of an Older Geek Learning to Play D&D (1982)”


  1. 1 Jason January 8, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Probably just a split second which the camera happened to capture, but that facial expression looks *seriously* defeated…

  2. 4 Don Gates January 9, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    I never got to play D&D thanks to the “you’ll go crazy like Tom Hanks!” moral furor. I do own a few of the books and other RPGs, though, and always feel like if I actually DID get around to playing, I’d be sweating a hell of a lot too…

  3. 7 newwavepop January 26, 2014 at 8:53 am

    that picture reminds me of my dad. same beard and glasses. in 82 I was 10 and my dad would have been 49 and we had been playing dungeons and dragons for about a year. my dad worked at a truck stop and he was friends with one of the managers there, and that managers son was in college and was in dungeons and dragons. and we rented a house together, my father was a big Tolkien fan and tabletop gaming fan so our room mate taught us how to play. I miss those days.


  1. 1 Kaiju Cross-Section Trading Cards, 1979 | 2 Warps to Neptune Trackback on April 17, 2014 at 2:44 pm
  2. 2 `Dungeons & Dragons Day’ at the Public Library, 1981 – 1985 | 2 Warps to Neptune Trackback on April 22, 2014 at 6:39 pm

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