Ian Livingstone: ‘Gaming is almost socially acceptable’ | Books | Entertainment

Lucca Comics and Games 2023 is celebrating a lot this year.

Not only is it the 30th anniversary of the “Lucca Games” portion of the convention, but also – generally – the explosion of popularity in the gaming community over the past few decades.

This creative spearheading began wholeheartedly in the mid-1970s in London with Sir Ian Livingstone, who (along with Steve Jackson and John Peake) started Games Workshop and brought the biggest role-playing game to this side of the pond: Dungeons & Dragons.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk in the hustle and bustle of Lucca Comics and Games 2023’s halls, Sir Ian spoke about being hailed as one of the forefathers of roleplaying games both in the UK and in greater Europe.

“I’ve been hearing it quite a lot recently,” he confessed with a chuckle while staring down a seemingly endless queue of people eager to receive his signature. “I’m just, kind of, bowled over by that accolade. But we would have never have dreamt that when we were starting off we were just crazy about games.”

Sir Ian was promoting his memoir, Dice Men, which was just released for the first time in Italian (just for Lucca Comics and Games 2023).

Regardless of the country lines, the language, or anything else, though, it all comes down to one thing for Sir Ian: “I love the way games bring people together in a really wonderful social environment.” Speaking specifically about the medieval Italian city, he went on: “It’s just a beautiful place and venue and city – and the people are nice and enthusiastic and excited by what’s happening here.”

Lucca Comics and Games takes over the city of Lucca for an entire week – indoors, outdoors, and at some of the city’s cultural landmarks. And it is here that Sir Ian received his own Lucca Walk of Fame slab, joining the likes of Sir Patrick Stewart along the way. 

Looking at the almost 300,000 attendees at Lucca this week, Sir Ian jokes: “We’re almost in danger of becoming socially acceptable! [Gaming] is finally being recognised as the amazing medium which it is. The whole culture of art and games and comics is being really celebrated here, and more people should know about it.”

Going forward, Sir Ian believes the UK could follow in Lucca’s footsteps. “I think we should do something similar in the UK,” he said. “We have a video game convention, an art convention, comic cons. Roll it all into one, into this cultural mash-up; it’s something we should see in the UK.”

Until then, Lucca is the gaming hub he’ll be settling into for the week.

Lucca Comics & Games 2023 is taking place between November 1 – 5.

Buy Dice Men: The Origin Story of Games Workshop here.

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