Patricia then filed what was to become an infamous lawsuit against TSR and Gary Gygax, which was finally thrown out by the courts in 1984, after a prolonged battle. However, it was also demonstrated during the proceedings by none other than Michael A Stackpole, that contrary to the grief driven claims of Pulling, there were lower instances of suicide amongst gamers than non-gamers.
Pulling succumbed to cancer in 1997, and despite her continuous campaigning right up until her death, BADD pretty much faded away.
An excellent in-depth article named 'The Pulling Report' was compiled by Stackpole in 1990 and can be found here:
At over 40 pages, it's worth a read, if you are interested in the history of our hobby.
There were many such claims made against gamers in the 80s, and more often than not, BADD, which punched way above it's weight in the minds of the conservative small towns of the Southern United States, was in the eye of the hurricane...
The Miami Herald ran this article in October of 1985:
'PARENTS SEE A REAL CONFLICT IN FANTASY WAR GAMES GROUP LINKS DUNGEONS & DRAGONS TO 51 TEEN-AGE SUICIDES
That evening, outside his parents' home in Montpelier, Bink, 16, shot himself in the chest with his father's pistol.
Patricia Pulling, Bink's mother, is convinced that his suicide resulted from a "curse" put on him in school earlier that day while he was playing the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons. He was so distraught over the curse, she said, that he killed himself.
Pulling and her husband, Lee, have spent the last three years fighting to have Dungeons & Dragons removed from schools, which sometimes permit it as an extracurricular activity, and to force the manufacturer, TSR Inc. of Lake Geneva, Wis., to put warning labels on Dungeons & Dragons materials.
"We've never asked for the game to be banned from the market," Lee Pulling said. "We want warning labels."
A TSR official said that the game is harmless fun and that warning labels are unneeded.
"What's the warning going to say?" said Deiter Sturm, TSR public relations director. "Are you going to put a warning label on automobiles, saying, 'This automobile is for transportation use only, not meant to be a weapon or means of suicide?' Anything we have in life can be misused, be it games, TV, sports, anything that we have."
Bothered about D&D
After her son's death, Patricia Pulling organized BADD -- Bothered About D&D -- whose newsletter now goes out to 2,000 concerned parents and others who oppose Dungeons & Dragons. BADD says it has linked Dungeons & Dragons to 51 suicides and killings involving young people since 1979.
The research, however, is unscientific, consisting mainly of Patricia Pulling's interviews with police and parents in cases brought to her attention by newspapers and television. She and her husband want the federal government to investigate the deaths to determine if Dungeons & Dragons was a cause.
Dungeons & Dragons is a game of the imagination. Dice are used, but there is no board, as there is in Monopoly or backgammon. It is set in medieval times, based loosely on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the trilogy Lord of the Rings and other fantasy works.
Pulling's group and other opponents of Dungeons & Dragons object to its emphasis on violence.
"Dungeons & Dragons is essentially a worship of violence," said Dr. Thomas Radecki of Champaign, Ill., a psychiatrist and chairman of the National Coalition on Television Violence in Washington, D.C.
"It's a very intense war game. Talk to people that have played it. It's very fascinating. It's a game of fun. But when you have fun with murder, that's dangerous. When you make a game out of war, that's harmful. The game is full of human sacrifice, eating babies, drinking blood, rape, murder of every variety, curses of insanity. It's just a very violent game."
Radecki's organization is trying to convince CBS to take its Saturday morning cartoon show Dungeons & Dragons off the air.
Dungeons & Dragons has been controversial almost from its inception, but controversy has only spurred its popularity and growth. TSR's Sturm said in a telephone interview that three to four million people play the game and that many other role- playing fantasy games have appeared since TSR founder Gary Gygax created Dungeons & Dragons in 1973.
Initially, Dungeons & Dragons was played mostly by college students. But the trend in recent years has been toward high school and junior high players. TSR has simplified the instructions to reach the younger market.
Because the game is complicated and requires a vivid imagination, Dungeons & Dragons always has attracted bright young people. Bink Pulling was in a program for the talented and gifted at his high school.
In a number of cases, Patricia Pulling said, the connection between the game and the death is clear.
Deiter Sturm said TSR investigates when BADD attributes a death to Dungeons & Dragons.
"We always find there were many, many different factors involved in that person's life," Sturm said. "We haven't yet, out of all the names, seen one shred of evidence to indicate the game was the cause" of a death.
The mother of one suicide victim said Dungeons & Dragons "is a dangerous game for some young people. It was a dangerous game for my son."
But the woman, who did not want to be quoted by name, said her son had other problems. Some of the criticism of the game "is a little misguided," she said.
That is the view of some others as well.
"Dungeons & Dragons has been one of those things that people grab onto to explain suicidal death among young people," said Julie Perlman, executive officer of the American Association of Suicidology. "And I feel it is unwarranted."
She said that in 1982, the last year for which statistics are available, there were 5,025 suicides reported among people aged 15 to 24. Perlman said she believes many more suicides went unreported.
"Everybody wants an answer that explains it easily," she said. ". . . I just see that Dungeons & Dragons is an easy answer. It's not that simple."
Beth Grant-DeRoos of Dublin, Calif., is director of the Association for Gifted-Creative Children. She said her organization, with a membership of 7,200 families in California, views Dungeons & Dragons as a positive force that encourages children to exercise their imaginations and use their minds.
"Eighty-six percent of our families have children who play Dungeons & Dragons," she said.
Out of schools
Several school systems have removed Dungeons & Dragons as an extracurricular activity since the controversy arose. The Arlington, Va., school board banned the game shortly after the Pullings filed their first lawsuit against the principal of their son's school.
TSR's Sturm said many parents oppose Dungeons & Dragons "because they have to find something to place the blame on to relieve their personal guilt.'
'WOMEN PUT CHRISTIAN MESSAGE IN TOYS
"We feel that this is a ministry," Dana McNeal said, displaying toys she believes answer the biblical call in Proverbs 22:6 to "Train up a child in the way he should go."
McNeal and Linda Campbell market dolls, games and other items in North Carolina for Praise Unlimited Inc., a Sarasota, Fla., company specializing in "Christian toys." Campbell and McNeal describe themselves not as distributors, but as "toy missionaries."
"We feel we were called into this ministry, led by the Lord," McNeal said. "The reason there's a need for Christian toys is because of the toys that are on the current world secular market."
McNeal dismissed with a wave of her hand dolls such as Darth Vader from the film Star Wars and the shadowy men and monsters from Dungeons and Dragons.
"We call them the devil's toys," she said.
McNeal said she hopes parents will give their children alternatives -- perhaps a 116-piece Noah's Ark or an action toy named Judah the Christian Soldier.
Another Praise Unlimited toy is a child-sized suit of "the armor of God" described in Ephesians 6:11 as the proper gear to "stand against the wiles of the devil," she said. Accessories include the Helmet of Salvation, the Belt of Truth, the Shield of Faith and the Breastplate of Righteousness.
There also are the Praise Dolls -- Joy, Faith, Hope and Love. They tell their religious messages in song, activated by a child's hug.
"God is so good. God is so good. God is good and good to me," sings Joy, a 21-inch doll with blond hair and a dress decorated with descending doves representing the Holy Spirit.
Campbell and McNeal, who have worked together since March, said the dolls' messages are the antithesis of what's going under many Christmas trees.
"A lot of toys on the secular world market illustrate violence, competition and sensuality,' McNeal said.
She said a recent U.S News and World Report said sales of military board games, guns and violent video games have increased 200 percent in the past two years. But her strongest criticism was for Dungeons and Dragons, a board game that prompted reports of youngsters identifying too closely with the subterranean knights and sorcerers they control on cardboard.
"We're trying to make people aware of what children are playing with and the effect on them," McNeal said.'
I have that book, and I have watched the film, but fear that to do so again may cause brain damage.
The story was based very, VERY loosely on the life and death of one James Dallas Egbert III, who was something of a child genius, who by 16 was studying computer sciences at Michigan State University.
He could not take the pressure and was a drug addict who tried three times to indulge in self harm. The first time he took to the steam tunnels of the university, took a handful quaaludes (hypnotic-sedatives) and failed to kill himself .
He tried twice more to end his life and finally managed to fail his saving throw vs. shotgun in his apartment on August 16th 1980.
At the time it was thought that the fact that Egbert played D&D, was a contributing factor, hence that bloody awful book and film.
(You will note that this pre-dates BADD)