I’m late to the party with this, but it’s too good to let pass:
It’s by Ethan Gilsdorf (author of the highly rated book Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks) and here is how the piece starts:
When Dungeons & Dragons appeared in January 1974, 40 years ago this month, it was a fun twist on traditional war gaming. No one guessed it was also revolutionary.
For sure, endless homespun cops-and-robbers-style “make-believe” games existed, as did charades and improv theater. Vast tabletop war games also enacted battles with hundreds of miniatures. But no one had married these concepts into a single game, in a box, with rules for role-playing a single character — paladin, thief, wizard, barbarian, elf, dwarf, holy man — giving a personal stake for the player who controlled him or her.
“Those war gamers who lack imagination,” the game’s co-founder, Gary Gygax, wrote in the game’s first introduction, “will not be likely to find Dungeons and Dragons to their taste. But those whose imaginations know no bounds will find that these rules are the answer to their prayers.”
After a long hiatus, I play the game again now, as a 47-year-old, mostly grown-up person. Today, with my +5 Goggles of Hindsight, I can see how D&D was subtly helping me come of age. Yes, it’s a fantasy game, and the whole enterprise is remarkably analog, powered by face-to-face banter, storytelling and copious Twizzlers and Doritos. But like any pursuit taken with seriousness (and the right dose of humor), Dungeons & Dragons is more than a mere game. Lessons can be applied to the human experience. In fact, all I really need to know about life I learned by playing D&D.
Read it all. It’s worth it.