"Mazes and Monsters" is a 1982 movie focusing on a group of college students and their obsession with a role-playing game that resembles Dungeons & Dragons. The movie is an adaptation of a novel written by Rona Joffe, which is in turn based on inaccurate accounts of the disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III, a student at Michigan State University. In 1979, 16-year-old Egbert entered the university's steam tunnels, intending to commit suicide due to depression, academic pressure, and drug abuse. However, a private investigator hired by Egbert's parents came to the incorrect conclusion that he became lost in the tunnels while re-creating a live-action version of Dungeons & Dragons, and the media publicized these theories as fact.
In "Mazes and Monsters," four college students gather together frequently for a role-playing game of the same name, eventually leading then to a cave reminiscent of the steam tunnels. While playing in the cave, one of the students becomes convinced that he really is his cleric character from the game. He comes close to jumping off the World Trade Center, which he believes will lead him to a sacred location in the game. The book and film were produced during a general outcry against role-playing games and the fear that they caused hallucinations, led to suicide, and encouraged Satanism. Although no physiological link between role-playing games and abnormal behavior has been proven, movies like this one continue to promote the idea that such games can be dangerous.