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Bradley Professor's Pen-And-Paper RPG Finds Its Audience During COVID-19

Bradley University

More people are looking for a distraction from life's troubles right now. Bradley University assistant professor of interactive media Tim Hutchings knows that firsthand — and he's created his own solution.

His new solo role-playing game book "Thousand Year Old Vampire" recently sold out upon release.

Hutchings said his game requires players to think cleverly, and always keeps them on their toes.

"It's a role-playing game that you play with a book, paper, and pencils. There's no computer, they're no digital anything," Hutchings said. "It's just a game, all analog, where you have to write stuff out by hand."

Hutchings said a game that you can play by yourself is especially important during a time where COVID-19 has imposed isolation on many.

"It's a game you play by yourself. And right now, it's a very convenient time want to play games by yourself," he said. "I socially isolate, and I try to think about ways to occupy myself and my family in those times. And turning inward and doing some things that are just for me is important."

Hutchings said while there are several different types of games, it's important to play a game that keeps you thinking and ties in emotional context.

"There's games that require dexterity," he said. "And some games let us play in a way that is challenging to ourselves. The 'Thousand Year Old Vampire' game leads toward introspection. I'm a big fan of the idea that games are art. That games need to do hard things."

"Thousand Year Old Vampire" has won three industry awards called the ENNIEs. Hutchings said he is "beyond thrilled" that his game won in the categories of Best Game Rules, Best Production Values, and a Silver Award for Game of the Year.


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Olivia Streeter is the WCBU Summer Intern.