Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary is a definitive look at the game Dungeons & Dragons, its history and its influence. A feature length film, shot on HD, in the style of Food Inc. and Inside Job.
The history of Dungeons & Dragons stretches back to its humble beginning 1974 when a part time cobbler from Wisconsin and a college student from Minnesota got together to create a war game. Their goal was to sell 1000 copies, ten times the amount of the usual war game run. It was an ambitious goal. A company was started, TSR. The result of their effort was, well…nothing short of historical.
By 1985, TSR had revolutionized the gaming industry and was selling upwards of 100,000 copies a month in 22 countries. By the end of that decade, D&D had become a cultural phenomenon. TSR estimated 90 million people were playing D&D worldwide. Like Andy Warhol’s Factory for the geek set, TSR was a hotbed of creativity, attracting some of the best commercial artists from around the world.
However, nothing this big is realized without hardship. The story of D&D and TSR spans four decades and is a complicated, heart-breaking story. Imagine “The Social Network”, the creation of Facebook, but no one ends up rich. This is a cautionary tale of an empire built by friends and lost through betrayal, enmity, poor management, hubris and litigation. By the end of the 1980’s, most of the people who built the company had been forced out, many living only with the legacy and none of the riches.
Through interviews with people who lived this story and exhaustive research, Dungeons and Dragons: A Documentary will not so much untangle the Rashomon-like story of TSR as it will give it perspective.
But the history of Dungeons and Dragons is only half the story. In a very real sense, Dungeons & Dragons changed the world. From its early years, Dungeons and Dragons became a training ground for careers in the realms the imagination and has influenced generations of computer programmers, designers, writers, actors and yes, even a few documentary film-makers.
Its effect on society can be seen in everything from computer games to modern teaching theories and treatment for PTSD. Through interviews with public personalities, psychologists and sociologists, D&D:AD will explore how this game has touched the lives of everyone, even if they have never played the game.
Dungeons & Dragons is, in the end, just a game. But it’s arguably the most influential game in history.*