Yesterday saw the loss of a huge influence in my life. Yes, an influence from afar, but a strong influence nonetheless. Without Gary Gygax, I would not be half the geek I am today.
(Photo from Wired article)
At age 69, Gygax was the co-founder of Dungeons and Dragons in the early 1970s with Dave Arneson. He died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. He had been fighting health issues for the last several years, but was involved in a regular game as recently as January 2008.
Gygax and Arneson created Dungeons and Dragons in 1974. It merged storytelling, dice, and medieval and mythical worlds. The odd-shaped dice made it stand out from other games, particularly along teen boys. And its influence was felt in video games, books, and movies even to the current day and beyond. Wizards of the Coast will be releasing Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition a year from now and has been actively working on several versions (3.0, 3.5, and 4.0) for the last decade.
From my own life, I was exposed to Dungeons and Dragons in Junior High — back in the 1980s. It was me and a few friends who learned the rules, read voraciously, and invented characters that went on to live in infamy as the killers of Tiamat. Yes, we were young geeks.
Dungeons and Dragons made me a better reader, a better critical thinker, and much more creative than I already was. Since then, those elements have continued in my life. I love gaming. It’s immersive entertainment that has no equal.
Though Gygax will be missed, his legacy will continue on forever in my mind. He and Arneson created a whole new way to play that will never end.
Gary, you will be missed.