This one isn’t really an “outing” because almost everyone, by now, knows that Robin Williams is a nerd/gamer. He put Neon Genesis Evangelion in “One Hour Photo”! He plays video games! He plays Warhammer 40K! And most importantly, he also plays tabletop roleplaying games.
But what games? I have heard several anecdotes about brushes with Robin Williams and roleplaying. A game store owner in the Pacific Northwest once told me a story of something that happened in the ’90s. Robin Williams was filming a movie in town and a guy came in, claiming to be Williams’ agent. He asked to buy some new Cyberpunk 2020 stuff. The store owner didn’t have it in stock, so he called R. Talsorian Games and spoke to the president, Mike Pondsmith. Pondsmith delivered the books but also made a personal appeal to the agent through the agent’s phone number, saying (I paraphrase) “Roleplaying game sales are declining. Would Robin Williams be willing to do a publicity spot or promo talking about how he likes RPGs? It would be great for the industry!” But the agent declined, saying that Williams doesn’t do political advocacy. ;_; Who knows if the agent even passed along the message?
Another Williams and gaming story: some people were setting up a D&D 3rd edition game at Gamescape in San Francisco, where Robin Williams keeps a house. Suddenly Robin Williams walks in and buys a copy of Green Ronin’s African Adventures! @_@ The gamers are a little cowed, but Robin Williams comes over and starts talking to them about the Al-Qadim one-shot they are running, and soon Robin Williams is actually sitting down and playing a mamluk warrior and showing off his usual improv acting ability.
So, apparently Williams often drops in on games and game stores and generally cannot keep his dice in his pants when he is travelling. Game store owners, lock up your miniatures! ^^ Most of the stories I have heard, however, happened 10+ years ago and I don’t know if Williams is still actively playing tabletop RPGs (as opposed to Spore, Warcraft, etc.) Could tabletop RPGs have been responsible for Williams’ famously wild behavior in the ’80s, possibly his most controversial (and to some his best) period? Or were RPGs just part of the Hollywood scene that Williams was running in at the moment and that’s how he got into them?
It would be incredible if Williams (perhaps together with Dame Judi Dench) acted in a RPG-themed fantasy movie. I was really young when the first D&D movie came out, but I knew it would suck from the moment I saw the cast and it didn’t include Robin Williams or any other famous gamers. I can’t say how much I hate that movie. (＃ﾟДﾟ) A better way to do that movie would have been to start without a script and run a D&D campaign with the actors and then script the movie around it. (Frankly, a better movie would have had someone sitting in a chair reading aloud the Player’s Handbook for 100 minutes… but anyway…) A missed opportunity… but maybe with D&D 4th edition, the franchise is strong enough to have a movie again? Williams, are you listening? Also, what do you think of Fantasy Flight edition of Warhammer FRP?