D&D grows up too much

Between the old school AD&D Monster Manual with amateurish cartoon drawings and the latest one with glistening 3-D-looking fangs in living color, Moomin chose the older book. I thought about why and realized that the design in D&D looks too grown up.

Compare the covers. Here’s the 1977 version:

It’s cartoony, childish, stylized, and shows a range of nifty magical creatures, some scarier and some, like the unicorn, benign or friendly.

Here’s the new one:

It’s… a door with an eyeball in it?

Inside the images are sort of glitzy and porntastic and make you think more of something in a horror movie than a game. They’re scary!

It seems worth pointing out. The audience for the original game grew up, the game’s being marketed to them or to 20 year olds, and the elementary school kids are left out of consideration of the books’ art and systems.

This while the miniatures and the idea of the game itself remain excellent for kids!

day 1 d&d game

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6 Responses to D&D grows up too much

  1. Mekhismom says:

    I remember D&D. I never played it personally but I had another game Dark Tower. As an only child I didn't get to play it that often so in many ways computer games are great- especially for only children.

  2. Elliot Wilen says:

    The audience for the original game grew up. I think it's more complicated than that. Remember that the very first D&D players were mostly past college age. While I think we can safely say the game then spread more among the college-and-younger set, the pre-AD&D audience was made up of people who either played White Box or the first Basic D&D set (by J. Eric Holmes). Now the latter is pretty accessible and kid-friendly. White Box, not so much.What I'm driving at is that the audience for the original game didn't seem very concerned about being "serious". Who is concerned about being serious? Adolescents.Personally I think a 20-something should be at least as self-conscious about carrying around a book that looks like the 3e manuals, as the 1e versions. But those 3e covers look to me like a 13-14 year old's vision of sophistication.By contrast, the 4e covers although still quite slick and "badass" are at least a step back in the direction of unabashed fun.

  3. ばらっち says:

    Hello.This is first time for me to visit your site.I have three children (6year-old boy,4year-old boy,2year-old girl)My first son likes monsters like this.I'm happy if you link to my site.It is written in Japanese,but show pictures.baratch family

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  6. things to do says:

    when having 3-D cartoon, my younger brother don't like watching 2-D at theater. :(((
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