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David Cordell Vail

A Paper Written For

English 1010





My life reeled and teetered from the moment I first began to play Star Wars: The Role Playing Game. I will not entail how I was led to play the game, more I would like to show the effects it has had on my life. It stole my ambition, my feeling for the real world, and scarred my mind with a unremovable mark.

Determined to learn the dark secrets of the world of Star Wars: The Role Playing Game, my brother and I ventured into our first game. The game lasted from midnight until three o’clock in the morning. Thrilled by this fascinating new game, we began to play more often. Friends joined in and the sessions of play magnified in length and difficulty. I assumed the role of the game master. I controlled every adventure, creating worlds and characters for them to interact with as their Star Wars characters. Images of distant worlds and heroic characters encompassed my mind and thousands of adventures emerged. We would begin Friday immediately after school and would play until twelve o’clock Saturday night. We would stop to rest and eat for only a few hours between games. We just couldn’t get enough of our newfound world.

Rapidly my creative, ambitious mind began to lose pace and my touch with the real world began to fade. The adventures became darker in nature, and the characters became more ruthless. School seemed to become unnecessary, and home work was bothersome. Work didn’t seem important anymore, and soon I was fired for an inability to do the required work. Family problems were easily eschewed in my new world as I skipped family related functions to make time to play the game. These things just weren’t as interesting to me. I could do so much more as a game master.

Finally I was forced to see myself as I had become. I knew then I had to quit. When I attempted to do so, I found myself addicted beyond what I believed possible. When I tried to study my mind would return to the distant worlds I had been living in. My brain would "lock up" at times, making it difficult for me to think clearly. I felt as if I were addicted to a drug, one that I had free access to anytime, anywhere.

At last salvation came as I escaped 4,000 miles south of the U.S. I spend two years of my life struggling to free myself from this game’s effects and learning to control my mind again. Slowly my ambition and desire to do "realistic" things has returned. I have learned to control the images that once danced through my mind. Yet I am still afraid to daydream for fear of reopening the healing wound. I have learned a new lesson in mind control. I thank God I was able to escape it and I pray that I will be able to influence others to avoid it.

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