Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Rolling in his grave

It's weird when people that you've always known of but never known die. Today Gary Gygax passed away at his home in Wisconsin at the age of 69.

I only ever met him once, back in 1984 at Gamesfair where he kindly signed my Monster Manual 2, but he has had a significant impact on the most recent thirty years of my life.

I remember the early days of Dungeons and Dragons played at Portsmouth Grammar School, at the city library and on the bus home; the never-missed Saturdays at the Buckland community centre ("Did you see Live Aid?" "Don't be silly, it was on a Saturday!"); Dragonmeets and GamesDays; sessions with student friends in my tiny room at Uni; games at the Ukrainian Club where I would be unable to remember what happened the previous week but never too drunk to play ("Newcy Brown, please." "From the fridge?"); and now the circle returns with new student friends who weren't born when I started playing.

Gary Gygax helped create a game that gave people a new way to use their imagination. All the work I put into my gaming time today has been nurtured and inspired by what he - and the many thousands after him - have written and drawn and published over the years.

Does it matter that he had to leave TSR in 1985 or was responsible for the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon series? No, not really, because he had by then achieved a mythic quality beyond what he actually did day to day.

Maybe if he had not created D&D back in the 70s, some other game would have grown from the fertile wargaming roots. That may well be true but doesn't matter as he did help make it happen and I grieve that he has gone.

[[Thanks to Penny Arcade for the title]]

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