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DiscussionApr 7, 2023 8:00 am CT

What hooked you on fantasy as a genre in games, books, or other entertainment?

If you play World of Warcraft, you’re delving into a world of fantasy and magic. But what drew you to the game? I’m presupposing that you enjoyed fantasy as a genre of literature or movies or television prior to ever playing WoW.

These days, in some ways, are a Golden Age for fantasy as a genre. There are decades, centuries even, of fantastic literature at our fingertips. There are movies and TV programs galore, and fantasy gaming has gone mainstream. This is a world where you have hundreds of hours of Critical Role episodes to follow, fresh new novels to discover, and you can hone in on the intersection of the fantasy genre and your specific obsessions in uncounted anime shows. Want your animated fantasy served with a side of delicious food? How about fantasy but with giant mechas? No problem, you’re covered.

But for those who grew up in the 1980s, 1970s, or before, fantasy was not as well established as today. But, there were other paths to find your way into the kingdoms of the genre. For me, it was mythology initially. I devoured myths and folklore years before anything else. I remember being in Sunday school in a charismatic church, and the teacher asked “Who is Diana?” and my response of “Goddess of the Moon!” was rather more enthusiastic than might be considered politic in that context.

Then, in fairly quick succession, when I was young, I discovered The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in the time-lost library of my elementary school, vaguely remembering the Rankin/Bass animated versions of the late 1970s, a chorus of “Down Down to Goblin Town!” faintly echoing in my mind. And swords and magic and dragons became ever-further entrenched in my imagination, capped off with my introduction to Dungeons & Dragons

So, how about you? What lit the fuse in your imagination when it comes to enjoying fantasy as a genre of games and storytelling? What was your on-ramp to Middle Earth or Azeroth or Krynn or the myriad worlds of the imagination? Let us know in the comments.

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