The Critical Role of Media Representations, Reduced Stigma and Increased Access in D&D’s Resurgence

Sidhu Premeet Carter Marcus
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

Over the last five years Dungeons and Dragons [D&D] (Arneson & Gygax, 1974) has risen in prominence and popularity with a broadening of its player demographic. Though the game’s resurgence has been widely discussed in non-academic outlets, it has been neglected in academic literature. While there are many factors motivating renewed and engaged play of D&D, in this paper we draw on our 2019 study of contemporary D&D players to present key contextual factors of the game’s resurgence. Through discussion of our results, we argue that the influence of representations and trends in popular media, reduction of associated stigma, and impact of convergence culture (Jenkins, 2006) on increased game access, have led to the resurgence of D&D according to our participants and shed light on some key reasons for its success in recent years.