Erik Sofge Preaches Morality By Attacking Dead Man’s Character

by Jhet Bhlak on March 12, 2008

I don’t know why stupidity like this still surprises me but it does. Erik Sofge wrote an article about the recently deceased Gary Gygax and his game, Dungeons & Dragons. Erik describes the game as, “one of the worst on the market.” Now Erik has a right to his opinion but to describe one of the most successful role playing games ever made as one of the worst on the market is extremely ignorant. D&D has been around for 30ish years and if it was a poor game the market would not have allowed the game to stay around that long, if at all. Here, Erik, are some examples of the truly worst RPG’s. Here is another, Daikatana. A little too recent for you? Well what about E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600? That’s a little closer to D&D’s inception. All would be much better examples of “worst games” than a game that has enthralled teens and adults for three decades.

What Sofge describes as flaws in D&D seem to be flaws in himself rather than the game. For example, he describes the experience system as flawed because you have to kill MoBs to get xp, to get levels, to improve your character. Really? So you mean when a so called dungeon master awards experience for completing a quest, task or puzzle it really isn’t experience? If your dungeon master decides to create a campaign that rewards non-kill events with xp then it still applies to your character. Erik obviously has only played the game as a mindless hack-n-slash which is his flaw and not a flaw in the game design. The game is designed to be role played as you want to role play it, not how the rule set wants you to role play it.

So now that we know Erik has an opinion, just like everyone else who made it out of the womb, let’s look at the reasons why he believes D&D to be immoral. Here are a few quotes from his article: “violence without pretense“, “endless hobgoblin holocaust“, “mercy doesn’t have ? value in D&D“, “little more than a collective fantasy of massacre and greed“. I believe that this really delves into Sofge’s mind more than it does into the ‘morals’ of D&D. Let’s remember D&D is a rule set and not a manuscript of what to do when you play the game. The overriding theme from Erik is that violence is morally wrong, therefore, since you can emulate violence in D&D, it is morally corrupt. He puts his blinders on and ignores anything else other than his misguided attempt at the moral condemnation of a game that is entirely based on what the users decide to do. By the same token I could proclaim D&D as the ultimate example of morality and justice because players can destroy evil forces and save thousands of virtual lives. What?s next Erik? Condemning every little girl who owned My Little Pony for animal cruelty?

The one comment that is very disturbing is Erik’s comparison to killing hobgoblins en mass to the holocaust. It really makes light of the death of 11 million people whenever someone makes a trivial comparison such as this. At the very least Sofge should have some respect for the dead…Oh wait, why should Erik start now? First off, if you are going to make this comparison, which you should not, at least get the players in the right roles (maybe this is why Erik doesn’t ‘get’ D&D, he doesn’t comprehend role playing). In Sofge’s case, he is putting hobgoblins in the position of the millions of Jews, Catholics, homosexuals, etc. that died due to the Nazi?s. It would be much more accurate to put the hobgoblins in the role of the Nazi?s who killed everyone based on their own twisted desires because, as anyone who has played D&D knows, hobgoblins are defined in the texts written by Gary Gygax as EVIL. Evil as in they maim, kill, plunder… you know, the things that Erik accuses the D&D players of doing in game. Secondly, D&D is a game. As in not real. Comparing imagined role playing events to real life atrocities is crude to say the least.

The real point behind Erik’s article is sensationalism. What he wants is to create an uproar and have his thirty seconds of fame. It is vanity at its worst…saying or doing something incredibly stupid just for the attention. This is also not the first time Erik has done this. And let’s not forget the internet traffic he is directing to the website that his article appears on. That is the real point of creating an opinion piece such as his article. He knows there are thousands of loyal D&D fans who are going to rip him a new one for his stupidity and draw attention to the sites his articles appear on. That, in turn, will draw a vast amount of traffic to the sites which will earn those sites a lot of money. Which is really quite ironic since Erik describes D&D as, ?little more than a collective fantasy of massacre and greed?

If you’d like your daily dose of ignorance and sensationalism read Erik’s article here: http://www.slate.com/id/2186203/?GT1=38001

And for those of you who are angry with Erik over his views you should enjoy this Don’t tase me bro! moment.

?Update: Here is a much better written post about Erik Sofge and his D& D article.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ron Herrin March 12, 2008 at 8:29 pm

Awesome post bro, very well written. I agree whole heartedly with everything you said and then some.

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