Pamphleteer Jack Chick has provided a platform on his website for a new attack on roleplaying games, publishing a 10,000 word screed on the topic by William Schnoebelen. Chick is well-known in the games business for providing a forum for an earlier attack by Schnoebelen over a decade ago, and in the comics business for his series of anti-Catholic comics. The new criticisms of roleplaying seek to update the previous attack and incorporate changes in the pop culture landscape since that was written.
Schnoebelen's attack focuses on the player's immersion in a fantasy world and the alleged deleterious effects of such fantasy. He includes suicide, murder and other mayhem among such effects. He responds specifically to defenses of the RPG industry mounted by industry spokesperson Michael Stackpole and cites such supporters as the notorious (and de-licensed) 'Dr.' Thomas Radecki, also famous for his attacks on comics and RPGs.
Although the extreme views expressed on Chick's site and in his publications, particularly with regard to other Christian denominations, are well out of the mainstream, there is an audience that listens and this may presage a new series of attacks on RPGs, not only by those who dislike them on religious grounds but by those who claim some deleterious effect from play. With the exception of news coverage linking a Monterey assault suspect with RPG play (see 'Monterey News Story Ties RPGs to Assaut'), things have been pretty quiet on the PR front this year. Retailers should be aware of this new attack, however, and use the resources provided by GAMA -- the game trade association -- if confronted with this issue locally.