Along with the huge following of Dungeons & Dragons, Tunnels & Trolls, Chivalry & Sorcery, and other fantasy role-playing games, came a huge anti-roleplaying movement.
Roleplaying is satanic, it will lead you to the occult, and it will drive you so insane that you won't know what reality is anymore. It sounds crazy, but people can be lead to believe in almost anything. My parents were concerned about what they were hearing in the media, and they bought a book for me because I was showing interest in D&D.
The book was called Playing With Fire: Dungeons and Dragons, Tunnels and Trolls, Chivalry and Sorcery, and other Fantasy Games by John Weldon and James Bjornstad. I read through it, and even to my 12 year old mind, I thought it was crap! It covered every cliche' in the book, and was nothing but a polemic against fantasy role playing games. And for some reason it increased my interest in FRPGs. I even started playing them in secret, with my friends.
For some reason I held on to this book, and I found it in the basement a few weeks ago. For some reason I have affection for this book, it's got kitsch appeal for a bygone era. You don't really hear all the anti-rpg things anymore, mainly it's anti-video games or whatever is super popular with young people today.
Mazes & Monsters starring Tom Hanks is also another media attack on FRPGs. But for some reason, I love this movie! I even bought a copy and I watch it fairly often.
Then there's the infamous 60 Minutes expose' on D&D, where they actually interview Gary Gygax. What's even more funny is that the Psychiatrist , Dr. Thomas Radecki, who said that D&D was dangerous got himself into some trouble with female patients of his! Hillarious!
I just get a kick out of this today, but in the 80s it was serious business. Whatever the real reasons the nay sayers had for their attacks against these games, nobody really remembers them for their crusade. But the legacy of Gary Gygax left us lives on!