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Dangerous Games: What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says about Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds Paperback – February 12, 2015

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Dangerous Games presents a detailed and multi-layered history of the social realities surrounding Role Playing Games (RPGs), analyzing a complex legacy of cultural and religious epistemologies, in order to argue that the corresponding moral panic over such games is itself a form of dangerous corrupted play. . . . Overall, Dangerous Games is an important read for students and scholars of contemporary history, religion, popular culture, and mythology."
, Nova Religio

"Dangerous Games is a necessary interjection into the conversation between fantasy role-playing and the hysteria over violent-themed play . . . [and] charges players to keep rolling on, and for those who question such games to reflect on what exactly they find so repugnant from an exploration of imagination and play."
, Reading Religion

"Worth reading for the detailed and nuanced history of fantasy role-playing games in and of itself, the book’s supplementary focus on tragic events that were widely linked to role-playing games is engrossing. . . . But Laycock’s greatest achievement is shooting a silver bullet straight into the heart of moral, media and satanic panics by positing that society’s discomfort with role-playing games is rooted in a discomfort with imagination." 
, Times Higher Education

"This book deserves a place in the library of any scholar of games as cultural texts—and especially those interested in religion and games."
, American Journal of Play

From the Inside Flap

Joseph P. Laycock's book delves into the minds of both avid gamers and evangelical Christians and returns with surprising and unsettling conclusions. Gaming, Laycock shows, teaches social and psychological strategies to resist cultural authority and to view reality from radically new perspectives. This book affirms the transformational power that motivates this increasingly popular activity, and thus it is essential reading for scholars of both contemporary popular culture and American religions.--Bill Ellis, Professor Emeritus, English and American Studies, Pennsylvania State University

"Laycock's book brings a robust, theoretically informed eye to a topic that has been understudied by sociologists. His case is presented in such a way that other scholars could apply his method and understanding of moral panic to other aspects of popular culture. This is a crucial aspect of scholarship. Laycock writes engagingly, tells a deft story, and advances our understanding."--Doug Cowan, Professor of Religious Studies and Social Development Studies, Renison University College

"Laycock provides an in-depth, theoretically informed analysis of fantasy role-playing games that will both help scholars interpretively and further allow instructors to provide students with a more sophisticated view of their culture. This book more broadly examines the social construction of reality, particularly religion. Laycock's approach makes a much-needed contribution to the understanding of the human need and capacity for creating and inhabiting multiple realities. A truly novel interpretation."--David G. Bromley, Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the World Religions and Spirituality Project, Virginia Commonwealth University


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