The myth of the deadly RPG (again)

The quasi-role-playing-game Fugitive earned some negative attention this week after a Phoenix-area teen, Andrew Arellanes, died while playing about a week ago.

While this is awful and tragic — as a parent, I don’t know how I could survive the loss of a child — I’d hate to see this turn into a blame game, with Fugitive bearing the brunt. Unfortunately, the TV news report in the link above is full of finger-pointing turns of phrase, describing Fugitive as “a dangerous game,” a “deadly game,” and a game with “a new element — a twist that caused Arellanes to fall to his death.”

Let’s be clear here: saying Fugitive caused this boy’s awful death is like saying a person who dies of a heart attack while strolling through a garden was killed by the garden.

Kids in other places are apparently playing Fugitive unsafely, but the game doesn’t require reckless behavior. There are many ways to play it wisely and safely. That’s up to the players.

We’ve been down this road before with role-playing games, but it’s clear that, for the most part, play-acting is really good for us. So go; play Fugitive. Be safe. Have fun.

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3 responses to “The myth of the deadly RPG (again)

  1. Running though the yards of neighborhood homes late at night, darting though the street while others chase you in their cars is NOT a fun safe game to play! There is no safe way to play this game you idiot! A vehicle is not a toy, it’s not used for games. Heaven forbid a gun owner thinks there is a burglar in their yard while this game is being played! The fact is, he died while playing this game, he made a poor choice to play in the first place. Many teenagers make poor choices, they think they are invincible. The kids who witnessed this accident and his best friend who held him in his arms while he lay there dying in them waiting for help to arrive, will forever have that image imprinted in their minds. The lesson for them is that they are not invincible and they need to make better choices, life is not all fun and games. Your last sentence– “So go; play Fugitive. Be safe. Have fun.” Is one of THE most stupidest things to say to young people. It’s not your typical game of tag being played on the school playground.

    • Dee, you missed my point. Those aspects you mentioned, which I agree are dangerous, are not a game requirement. Kids are capable of making dumb choices, but they’re also capable of making smart ones.

  2. You missed my point. My point being that there is no safe way to play this game. Fugitive “requires” players in a car chasing after others who are not. If there is no car chasing after other people then the game is not fugitive. There is nothing safe about this game at all. It is not dressing up and playing dungeons and dragons at a local park. It is not freeze tag in your backyard. This is not an attack on role playing games, it is an attack on this game that uses a motor vehicle as a requirement to play. I agree with you that kids are capable of making smart decisions. I’m not advocating to parents to put their kids in bubbles, and restrict them from movies, video games and music. But don’t encourage them to play a game that has clearly proved to be deadly.

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