When I was in Kindergarten I had a teacher read the Hobbit to us out loud at school (the joy of attending a cooperative hippy school with drama teachers helping form the ‘curriculum’.) And this being the 70’s the Lord of the Rings was a big thing, at least as far as art. I remember sitting in my brother’s room staring at the classic Hildebrandt posters. And of course I saw the original Hobbit movie when it first was introduced. So fantasy was a big thing for me. But all that changed when Star Wars came out.
I didn’t go see the movie over and over like some people, that just wasn’t something that my family did. But I fell in love with the story and the setting. I remember reading all the magazine articles about the movie that I could. Collecting figurines for the show when they first came out. Playing with the big Death Star set and other action sets with my friend next door. And reading other stories from the series.
Oddly enough this was also about the same time that I began to get into D&D. And of course devouring what I could that related to those worlds as well. Which led me in different directions. I fell for the fantasy worlds as hard as I fell for Star Wars.
It is only lately that I have come to realize that those 2 worlds actually have more in common than it seemed. You do not have to make a choice between fantasy and Star Wars, not really, not at it’s core. The Force and Jedi are wizards wielding magic. Wookies, Droids, other aliens are really no different from Elves, Dwarves, Halflings and Orcs. And the story of Luke Skywalker is an epic quest, not really different from that of the Fellowship of the Ring or Bilbo.
I did not get as deeply into the ‘hard’ science fiction. Nor did I dig as deep into the world of Star Trek. Oh I loved the first series when I got to watch it, and spent plenty of time with that same friend playing with Star Trek action figures. But I was always more intrigued with taking them into exotic worlds with exotic companions than in science related activities.
What it came down to then, and holds true for me to this day, is that I wanted my adventures to hold some magic, something exotic, not hard science. And when I play or run in games I want that same element of the odd. I don’t want to just play a boring scientist, or spy, I want to be something different. I want to use magic or the Force.
And I have passed that along to my kids, they want adventure in their games or movies. And today there is the addition of Super Heroes, and their movies. They just are not excited by simple adventure, the classic ‘shoot ’em up’ movies. They want something different, Show them a super hero, or a Jedi, or a wizard, and they are hooked.
And in my view that is the way it should be. I want my kids to think outside the world, to imagine something different. A world where the Force does exist. And for that sense of adventure and imagination to be with them too, always.