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Schrodingers Gaming Table

The Escapist blog had a brief article about an interview with Shelly Mazzanoble, author of Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From Dungeons and Dragons. 

He quoted a snippet of one of her answers,

I remember taking this psychology class in college and learning that you should watch how people are with waiters and in traffic because that is a good indication of their “human shadow”—the part of ourselves we try to hide from everyone. I think D&D is probably the best telltale for that.

(you can read the entire interview here)

I know what you’re thinking, ’cause I’m thinking the same thing myself: “Holy fuck! All my friends are soulless psychopathic murderers!”

Nah, probably not  all of them. But it does make me wonder if there’s some theoretical exercise, a sort of Schrodinger’s Gaming Table, where a group of male games, exposed to an RPG, are both simultaneously nice guys and douchebags, until a  woman is present to observe them, then they are one or the other …

I definitely remember my college days. Our regular Friday night gaming group would occasionally (rarely) be graced by a member of the fairer sex. And I remember how both our character’s behavior and our own would change by her presence.

But who knows? That was back in the stone ages, when women didn’t game. Maybe today’s male gamer is a paragon of all things good all the time, and maybe all the gamers I know are psychotic douchebags.


Written by

Stu Venable is the producer of Happy Jacks RPG Podcast and writer and editor of He is founder and director of the Poxy Boggards and a member of Celtic Squall. He holds a degree in Journalism and Public Relations from California State University, Long Beach. He is a husband and a father. He hates puppies.

Filed under: Opinion

2 Responses to "Schrodingers Gaming Table"

  1. justaguyNo Gravatar says:

    Eh. I’d hesitate to take any life lessons seriously from a little pop-psychology blurb. Theres a difference between the “How you treat people that you aren’t required to treat nicely” (i.e. the waiter observation) and how you treat imaginary people with your imaginary persona.

  2. JoeGunNo Gravatar says:

    I think Justaguy nailed it on the head. I would say you might be able to see a little more into who someone “wants” to be by watching them roleplay. But then again maybe not. I’m not sure I’d want to spend my days slaughtering Orc babies, but then again, I’ve never seen an Orc baby!

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